Writing better paragraphs

Some students experience difficulties in constructing well-structured paragraphs. This form assumes that paragraphs should start with a statement of their theme, develop the theme, then provide evidence and examples before linking to the next paragraph. This form ignores any evaluative element which teachers may need to add if that skill is required by the title. Teachers may want to adapt the form to suit their own subject and ideas about paragraphing

Venn diagram

Venn diagrams are useful for activities that involve comparisons of similarities and differences. Similarities are placed in the overlapping sections and differences in the nonoverlapping parts. More than two shapes can be used if more complex comparisons are to be made.

Topic review

Reviewing learning should be a continuing and regular process. At the end of teaching a topic, teachers need to ensure that students have an understanding of the structure of what they have learned. If they do, then material is likely to go into permanent memory (Petty, 2006). This form assists that process by asking students to summarise the key points of a topic.

Timeline

In its simplest form a timeline is a straight line representing a period of time. Dates may or may not be provided and students write the details of a particular event alongside (or linked to) the relevant date. The result is a sequence of events presented in a visual form.

The big picture

According to Smith (1996), helping students to see the ‘big picture’ is an essential part of what he calls the Accelerated Learning Cycle. It allows students to connect with the overall learning experience before starting to engage with the detail. Knowing ‘the big picture’ enables students to access and understand the links between separate learning experiences (Smith, Lovatt and Wise, 2003).