Within many state assessments, students are asked to organize information from the reading into a chart, formally referred to as a semantic map. If they are never given experience in the regular classroom to work with this type of question, it’s not a mystery why so many struggle to accurately and confidently answer these questions on a standardized test.
So here’s the big question–When’s the last time you asked students to put information into a chart or table?
Consider utilizing tables and charts when students are learning new terms and concepts in your content areas. Provide a simple table, and ask students to complete it.
Consider including tables and charts as part of class assessments. As part of a chapter test, consider replacing the typical short-answer response written in sentences and paragraphs with a semantic map. Rather than asking students to write a paragraph and explain the different body systems, just give them a table to complete.
For the reluctant writer, completing a chart is a welcome alternative to always writing sentences and paragraphs. And for the overwhelmed teacher, semantic mapping is fast to grade!
To increase the challenge and differentiate the tables and charts for your higher-level students, provide them a partially filled out chart to complete.