Student Area Teacher Area
What is prior knowledge, anyway? Well, here's our fancy educators' definition:
Readers activate what they currently understand or misunderstand about the topic and use this knowledge before, during, and after reading to clarify misconceptions and understand the text.

But for your students, try this:

Use what I already know to help understand something new.

So what are we trying to do here? Here's how you'll know when your students get it!

Learning Objectives for Prior Knowledge:
The student will be able to use prior knowledge to help comprehend text and solve problems across the curriculum.


Can the student communicate that using prior knowledge means combining current understandings and past experiences to help anticipate and comprehend the deeper meaning of text? (what)
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Can the student communicate that prior knowledge is used before, during and after reading? (when)
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Can the student communicate that using prior knowledge increases readers' ability to assimilate new information from text into what they already know? (why)
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Can the student communicate that using prior knowledge clarifies misconceptions and develops deeper understanding of the text? (how)
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Can the student demonstrate use of prior knowledge in responding to the text in a variety of ways?
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So, how do you make it happen?

  1. Watch the videos and discuss them with your class.
  2. Do the student activity. (Coming this spring)
  3. Talk about Prior Knowledge all year long.
  4. Try these lesson ideas in your classroom.

A production of Wisconsin Media Labs: