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Back(ground) to Front

Session 3
Dave Thomer — Parkway Center City

Participants will begin in small groups reading articles about subjects that they are likely to be unfamiliar with. (Examples: articles from the Guardian about a Test cricket match or a British parliamentary procedure.) They will identify phrases or references that they are unfamiliar with and share how this unfamiliarity made them feel about finishing the article. This will lead to a brief session-wide discussion of the importance of background knowledge for inquiry.

In the small groups again, participants will brainstorm a list of the types of sources that they might expect their students to consult during an inquiry process, and the background knowledge that these sources might expect from their audience. The groups will then share out their results.

The presenter will describe a couple of techniques for providing students with background knowledge, including prepared vocabulary lists and the use of “explainer” sources. Them the small groups will brainstorm additional techniques and resources and share those results with the group.

Conversational Practice

Throughout each round of brainstorming and sharing, the presenter and participants will work on creating a shared Google doc that will serve as a reference guide and record of the proceedings.

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