The First Word
Purpose: To activate students' prior knowledge of a concept, idea, or skill
Description: The First Word is a variation on traditional acronyms. By going through the process of analyzing words and creating related sentences, students will gain a deeper understanding of the meaning.
1. Assign students the name of an object, a topic, or key concept to write vertically down the side of a page.
2. Working in small groups or on their own, students should generate a short phrase or sentence that begins with each letter of the vertical work and offers important information or key characteristics about the topic.
3. Students can illustrate their "First Words" for posting around the classroom. Sharing "First Words" will allow students to identify important concepts that may have been left out of their own work.
Sample First Word:
Sun is the star at the center of the solar system
Orbits are the paths that planets take around the Sun
Lunar eclipses occur when the Moon gets blocked by the Earth
Asteroids are big rocks that orbit the Sun
Rings-- the planet Saturn has them
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun
You can see some planets with your naked eye
Some other planets are: Earth, Venue, Mars, Jupiter, Pluto, and Neptune
The Earth is the only planet with life on it
Every year, the Earth orbits the Sun once
Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun
Lipton, L., & Wellman, B. (1999). Patterns and practices in the learning-focused classroom. Guilford, Vermont: Pathways Publishing.
Sample First Word Activity Sheet
from Instructional Strategies for
Guilford County Schools TF, 2002
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