Using the ‘sort and predict’ strategy to activate background knowledge and thinking

This strategy was mentioned in a book I’m currently reading called Creating Thinking Classrooms. Extract some important terms from a piece of text that students will read, type them up using a large font then print them in the form of small cards. Provide a set to each student or to small groups and have students organize them according to any connections that they see. Students then try to predict the content of the text that they are about to read.


  1. Extract a larger number of terms and create two different sets to see how student predictions differ.
  2. Project the words onto a screen to save paper.

This strategy could be a good way to get students thinking and talking before they engage with the text.

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