Why I love the LIST-GROUP-LABEL strategy:
- Activates critical thinking skills
- Connects prior knowledge to new learning
- Encourages divergent thinking (especially when using the open sort method)
How I use this strategy for CONTENT-AREA READING:
- Select a concept from the students' reading that you would like them to explore.
- Brainstorm a list of words that relate to the given topic. Create a visual display with all the words your students think of without criticizing. (They will figure out later if the words don't really make sense.)
- Group the words based on shared relationships. This can be done as an open word sort (you let them determine the relationship) or a closed word sort (you tell them the groups you want them to sort the words into). The goal is to get them using critical thinking skills to find the relationships between words, to talk about the words with others, and to explain how they are related.
- Label the groups of words. Have students generate a title for each group of words.
This activity works really well with the Alpha-Sort graphic organizer strategy. In this lesson, the students generated their own lists of important and interesting words on their Alpha-Sort form. Afterwards, they met with partners to compare and contrast their lists, determining 20 words they both agreed were the most important to understanding the main idea of the text.
They folded a piece of white paper to make smaller squares, wrote their chosen words in each square, and cut them out. Each group chose different words, but they did have many in common.
Afterwards, the partners categorized their words into groups of related words. They discussed what the words shared in common, then agreed upon a label for the set of words. They had to verbally explain their thought processes to me, including why these words went together. Here is a short video of some students from my classroom verbalizing the word relationships they have formed. As you will see, this makes a great formative assessment to check for students' understanding of certain words and concepts. (I did not intervene or correct them at this time, but addressed common misconceptions as a whole.) I love how this strategy really stretches their thinking and gets them using content-area vocabulary appropriately.
I would love to hear how you have used this strategy in your classroom! You can comment below OR take a photo of your class using this strategy in action and tag @adventuresofaschoolmarm on Instagram.