Structured OverviewsA structured overview is an arrangement of key words and concepts on a topic. The words are organised in a hierarchical structure, beginning with the topic heading. Lines connect the words or subtopics showing their relationship to the central idea and to each other. The conceptual map is like a tree diagram with the most general terms at the top moving down to the details or examples at the bottom.
This diagrammatic overview of the topic helps tie new information to existing knowledge. It can be used to introduce a topic, finding out what students already know and providing a framework for studying the topic. It can be added to as the learning progresses or it can be used for review at the end of a unit. It may be teacher organised, teacher and student organised or student organised. It can be used individually, in pairs or small groups.
Students using structured overviews:
- link new information to existing knowledge;
- think about relationships between ideas;
- learn to categorise ideas;
- clarify their thoughts;
- learn key vocabulary.
Teacher organised structured overviews
- The Living World Structured Overview
- On the Democracy Road Structured Overview
- The Big C Structured Overview (and answers)
- Choose the key words and organise them into a structured overview.
- Give the blank version and a list of the words to the students. The heading and one or two or words can be written in as clues.
- Students work individually, writing the words into the boxes. They talk about their choices in pairs, and then in the whole class.
Teacher and student organised structured overview
- The students are given the words. Working with a neighbour or in small groups the students organise these words into groups under general headings. They may create their own heading for each of the groups of words or the headings may be supplied. They may need help to create a hierarchical structure.
- In the whole class students explain their groupings.
Student organised structured overview
- The students brainstorm the words and the teacher writes the words on to the whiteboard.
- The students work in pairs to categorise these words.