Using Graphic Organizers in Reciprocal Teaching

Instructor: Jill Burns

Jill has over 10 years experience teaching Earth Systems Science, introductory chemistry, and environmental science. She has earned a Master of Arts in Secondary Education.

Want to help your students be active participants and clear communicators when teaching one another? Read on to discover the purpose of graphic organizers when implementing the reciprocal teaching strategy. This lesson will also provide different examples of graphic organizer layouts to choose from.

Reciprocal Teaching

When we ask students to teach one another about new material, ideally they will be as prepared as we (the actual teachers) are. They will have their notes to refer to, they will have reviewed confusing words or ideas in an effort to better understand and communicate, and they will practice putting this new material into their own words in an effort to process this new information individually. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen as we would hope like. However, with a little guidance, a bit of modeling, and some tools, our students can begin to successfully share new knowledge with one another. Because we know the more you teach concepts/skills to someone else, the more confident you become in your own understanding of them.

The point of reciprocal teaching is just that, for students to practice together their ability to understand and share new information confidently with someone else. This particular teaching strategy is typically used when small groups of students work together in decoding information presented in a new reading passage. This is why the strategy is generally used as a literacy skill builder. What is great about this activity is that it can be used in any content area, as we want our students to be able to read and comprehend various types of text.

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