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Two-Column Notes

er 8,

Erin Bramley

EDTL 2760: Introduction to Teaching Social

MR Title(s): Preview Assignments

MR Source(s): Bower, B., Lobdell, J., and Owens, S. (2010). Preview assignment. Bring
learning alive! Methods to transform middle and high school social studies. Palo Alto, CA:
Teachers Curriculum Institute, pp. 22-26.
Page #

p. 22

The Text Says

I Say

Notes (key concepts, direct quotes, etc.)

My notes, commentary

preview assignment, a short, engaging

task that foreshadows upcoming content
Ex: predict what a lesson will be able;
draw parallel between key social studies
concepts and students lives

I appreciate the concept of bell-work as a tool to

focus students on engaging with a specific topic
or as a tool to review past lessons, but this
preview assignment, especially when completed
in conjunction with an interactive journal, will
combine the best practices of bell-work with the
availability of a daily entry format. If completed
in a certain way, the preview activities could be
logged so that students can see what they have
learned and when. It could also helps students
The other key concept presented is the idea
that these activities are used to focus student
attention to the lesson/topic. In some of my
classes, we used types of pre-activities to start
recalling our previous knowledge about the
subject. However, in another class, we used a

type of pre-activity that involved deep breathing

and yoga combined with written reflection
before starting a new lesson/topic.

p. 24

Comparing Personal Experience with Key

Concepts: Students answer questions
relevant to their life or relate a personal
experience that foreshadows key themes of
the upcoming lesson.

What a great way to incorporate writing into a

typical non-writing course! Because Language
Arts is my secondary concentration, I am always
looking for ways to include social studies into
language arts and vice versa. I think connecting
social studies to a students personal life
experiences helps make the content more
meaningful for the student. It also helps to
answer the famous WHY question (why are we
learning this?).

Responding to Visual Images : Students

respond to an image that will be used later
in the lesson. They might quickly sketch the
image, record impressions of it, or predict
what they believe is happening.

I love using visual prompts in the classroom. Not

only are they a fun way to showcase multiple
perspectives, but they also assist in
differentiation and reaching multiple styles of
learning. As they say, a picture is worth a
thousand words. And, in the content of social
studies, images have played an important role
throughout history from propaganda to political
cartoons. Students should have a lot of fun
deciphering meaning and connecting their
interpretations back to the lesson/topic.

Connections to previous MR:

This reading has taken us further into the topic of social studies instruction in classroom settings. I am
excited to explore the various examples and ideas presented throughout the remaining weeks of class.
In regards to Preview Assignments, I think this type of activity relates closely with Hook portions of
lesson planning and our discussion of aligning social studies standards to essential questions,
supporting questions, and student objectives. If all of these items can be in alignment and related to
preview assignments, then students will be able to see a timeline of their social studies instruction and
learning from the beginning of the year to the very end. Preview Assignments are also a great way to
make social studies content meaningful, facilitate deep discussion, and produce higher order thinking
throughout the rest of the lesson just like the standards of authentic instruction.