Building meaning: The Frayer Model

We recently used the Frayer Model in the classroom to support the introduction of ‘systems’ – a pre-unit in the Humanities course.  The Frayer Model has proven to be an excellent tool in supporting new vocabulary acquisition and the development of higher level thinking skills.   The tool can be sequenced with an initial activity to activate prior knowledge and engage learners in new concepts.

Much has been written on the Frayer Model, but I found the concise summaries and examples at Adolescent Literacy.org and the Reading Educator were particularly helpful.

In our Humanities class, we began with a photo analysis of various systems (sewer, skeletal, respiratory, automobile brakes, football offense, trains, etc) and followed it with a small group activity to complete a Frayer graphical organizer, like this one.   After the small groups had created their own,  the teacher elicited responses and built consensus on the white board to solidify the concept.  A Wallwisher page could be used to do the same.   Here is an example:  systems.

Students will continue their inquiry by identifying a particular system to study and engaging in further investigation to understand it thoroughly.

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