Incorporating Content-Enhancement Strategies


Goal

Teachers will learn about and incorporate Content Enhancement Strategies into their classrooms

Objectives


  • Teachers will be able to identify Content Enhancement strategies
  • Teachers will actively discuss the advantages of using Content Enhancement strategies
  • Teachers will learn how to effectively implement Content Enhancement strategies in their classroom

Rationale


Content Enhancement strategies have been proven to help students with learning disabilities along with students who are considered academically at risk. The importance of teachers exploring Content Enhancement Strategies is based in the need to help students with disabilities and at risk students succeed in the classroom. More specifically, these strategies effectively help students learn concepts that may appear to be abstract or difficult to grasp. These strategies can be used to reach learners who otherwise may not be able to access the material presented. Content Enhancement strategies can be considered tools in an educators tool bag.
The strategies are effective because they help bridge the gap between abstract concepts and concrete examples. For example, the Framing Routine provides concrete examples of abstract ideas, allowing students with disabilities to grasp difficult concepts in a tangible way. This can be very beneficial for students with disabilities. Also, the strategies are rooted in traditional educational practices such as activating prior knowledge and comparison and contrast. The routines can contribute to the success of students with disabilities in the classroom and on formal assessments.
Social Studies can be a difficult subject considering there are many terms, dates, and events to remember. The Content Enhance Routines help students with disabilities identify, clarify, and organize big ideas, important events and important concepts. More specifically, the Clarifying Routine and the Recall Enhancement routine would be beneficial for recalling important events and also defining various terms and concepts such as specific laws and acts.

Agenda/Activities


Whole Group Discussion: What difficulties does Social Studies pose for students with disabilities? What are some of the instructional patterns and common material associated with Social Studies that may pose problems for students with disabilities? I will write these two questions on the chart paper and write answers on the board. Teachers will be given time to discuss these questions at their table in small groups. I will then call on each group to give answers to the questions. I expect teachers to mention things such as the overwhelming amount of dates, terms, and events to remember. Also, the difficulty in deciding what facts are important enough to focus on and which are just considered details. Teachers should also mention that a lot of social studies instruction is based solely out of a textbook. Social studies traditionally does not involve diversity in the way it is taught and the materials used to teach it.
Let's take a look at a lesson that helps combat some of these issues. I consider this to be a good lesson but in my opinion it still may be difficult for some students with disabilities to access the material in the lesson. While we are watching this lesson I want you to consider the things we have on our chart paper. What elements are and aren't present in the lesson? 5th Grade Social Studies lesson (8min)

What were some of the positive aspects of the lesson that would be beneficial for students? I expect teachers to mention the pictures, associated with the lesson. More specifically, the pictures used to define terms. What were some of the aspects of the lesson that may be difficult for learners to access? I expect teachers to mention the various vocabulary terms. Specifically, that students weren't able to see them in text and that there was so many it may be difficult to keep track of them. What we have is a lesson that I consider to be a good lesson but is till difficult for some of our learners with disabilities to reach. The question now is how do we reach those learners? That's where content Enhancement comes in. Let's watch a brief PowerPoint to learn about Content Enhancement.

Small Group Discussion:To truly understand how Content Enhancement works, you must understand the routines. It would be difficult and time consuming to study all of the routines in one segment. For this lesson, we are going to only focus on three of the routines the framing, concept mastery, and Vocabulary LINCing routines. The group will be split into thirds and each third will study a different routine using and the books "The Vocabulary LINCing routine: The Content Enhancement Series" and "The Framing Routine: The Content Enhancement Series" by Edwin S. Ellis, and "The Concept Mastery Routine: The Content Enhancement Series" by Janis A. Bulgren. The teachers will then be split into groups of three composed of one person from each routine group. In their small groups, teachers will present the strategy they have studied to the rest of the members in their group. While this is going on, I will be visiting each group discussing their misconceptions, discoveries, and examples of their routine.

Now that We have learned more about Content Enhancement and the three specific routines, lets take another look at the lesson we viewed earlier. What elements of Content Enhancement do we see in the lesson? What elements of Content Enhancement can we add to help reach learners? While watching the video, feel free to write down ideas you have about how to add Content Enhancement to the lesson. Also, keep in mind some of the difficulties we discussed earlier about this material being accessible to students with disabilities. I expect teachers to suggest we record the vocabulary mentioned in the video and correctly identify examples of it. Also, I expect teachers to suggest connecting the vocabulary to previously learned terms. Providing concrete examples of the material may also be a suggestion teachers give.

Assignment


Apply one of the three routines discussed today to a lesson you have already taught or may teach in the near future. Consider some of the things learners, especially students with disabilities, may struggle with and how this routine will help them overcome that difficulty.