Advance organizers are useful tools and a strategy teachers can use in their classrooms to prepare students for instruction. The method allows teachers to figure out what students know about a particular topic and provide a preview of what the lesson will be. “ . . . the purpose of graphic organizers is to make clear to students what they will be learning with regard to a particular topic.” (Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, & Stone, 2012, p. 62) Students get a sense of the information which will prepare their minds to better learn the material. Organizers are also equally important as a screening tool to gage what they already know.
There are a variety of approaches when it comes to advance organizers and certain formats are better than others depending on the type of lesson. Dean, Hubbell, Pitler & Stone (2012) describe four formats: expository, narrative, skimming, and graphic. Expository advance organizers explain in written or verbal form the content students are about to learn and specifically the critical pieces the teacher wants the students to remember. Exp Organizer In this example, the teacher, Ms. Hollman uses an expository organizer to activate prior knowledge of students and get them ready for new information in the upcoming video. Students can then see their responses before and after the film to witness their own learning. This format works well for this activity but might not in another. Understanding the correct use of all the formats would be beneficial to teachers to get quality data and information from their students. The more a teacher practices the use of these organizers, the better they will become at successfully implementing them into their practice.
Dean, C., Hubbell, E.R., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012) Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement 2nd Ed. United States of America: McREL International.