Our Learning Guide For Teachers

Do your students need support in activating or filling gaps in their prior knowledge in order to be a successful learner?

WHAT IS BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE?

A person’s background knowledge, often called prior knowledge, is a collection of “abstracted residue” that has been formed from all of life’s experiences. We all bring diverse bits of background knowledge—consciously or subconsciously—to every subsequent experience, and we use them to connect or glue new information to old. Background knowledge is an essential component in learning because it helps us make sense of new ideas and experiences (Lent, 2012).

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Without background knowledge, students may be able to read a text without fully comprehending all of the messages conveyed by the author. Some learners lack the background knowledge to assimilate or use new information from the text. Other learners may have necessary background knowledge, but do not know why it is relevant. In either case, lack of background knowledge can hinder a learner’s ability to access and comprehend complex texts.

OUR LEARNING GUIDE

Explore this learning guide to discover four instructional routines with resources that build background knowledge—Virtual Field Trips, Multimedia, Picture Books and WebQuests.  These highly engaging routines and resources are ready to be implemented in your classroom tomorrow– check them out and share them with a colleague!  What ways do you build background knowledge for all learners?  Share your ideas with us by replying below.

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Proven educational professional with a passion and commitment to lead colleagues forward and to guide curriculum and instruction. Skilled in long-range planning and creating infrastructure to support the growth of teachers, schools and districts. Over 20 years of experience within the North Penn School District serving as a classroom teacher with leadership responsibilities in the areas of literacy, math, science and use of technology to enhance instruction and serving as a reading specialist and district literacy leader developing systems and structures to promote diagnostic and prescriptive instruction within a responsive teaching framework. Currently serving in the role of Program Administrator of Literacy working to ignite change and to encourage growth in teachers and administrators in the area of literacy instruction while also supporting the instructional coaches throughout our region through the PA Institute of Instructional Coaching (PIIC).

Through all of my years in the field, I've continued to have curiosity and interest in the human aspect of our work. I enjoy reading, watching and reflecting on leadership and relationship and how we can better support each other and work together to evolve our educational systems to support the learners of tomorrow. Our future is in their hands!

Academic Degrees and Credentials:
*K-12 Principal Certification, The Pennsylvania State University, Great Valley
*Collaborative Mentorship and Coaching Certificate, The Pennsylvania State University, Great Valley
*Master of Education, with distinction, Arcadia University
*Reading Specialist Certification, Arcadia University
*Merck Institute of Science Education Teacher-Leader
*Elementary and Kindergarten Education Certification, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
*Bachelor of Science in Education, The Pennsylvania State University, 1990

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Sarah Misner is a Project Consultant in the Office of Professional Development at the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit. As a Project Consultant, she works in the areas of literacy and English language development and has served in this role since 2012. Sarah provides professional learning opportunities, technical support, and coaching. Some of her areas of focus include:
*Program mentor and instructor for the English as a Second Language Teacher Certification Graduate Program through the MCIU
*Certified trainer of Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS)
*IU point of contact for the Montgomery County ESL Council and Title III Consortium

Prior to serving in this role, Sarah works with students in kindergarten through eighth grade as a reading specialist and as an elementary emotional support teacher. She believes that through looking at the educational research and translating it into practice, we an better meet the needs of ALL learners.

Sarah has a Bachelors in Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of Education form Arcadia University. She holds Pennsylvania Certifications in Special Educations PK-12, Reading Specialist PK-12, Elementary Education K-6, and Program Specialist English as a Second Language PK-12.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahmisner23

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Carey Rhodes is a Project Consultant in the Office of Professional Learning at the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit. As a Project Consultant, she works in the areas of literacy and instructional coaching. Carey provides learning opportunities, technical support, and coaching that are interactive, reflective, and strategy-driven to guide participants from theory to classroom practice.

Prior to her serving as a Project Consultant, Carey was an instructional coach, literacy specialist, and secondary classroom teacher. Utilizing her background as an instructional coach and literacy educator, she encourages participants to learn and grow together by reflection in, on, and about instructional practice. Carey believes educators are stewards of learning and need to model for their students that learning never ends. She encourages a mindset of collaborative exploration and challenge. Carey is supportive of sharing our learning journeys in order to build our capacity, construct and clarify our understandings, and shift the teaching and learning experience. She thinks a learning environment that is anchored in an intentional instructional design supports transferable learning and student achievement.

Carey has a Bachelors in Educations from The University of Scranton and a Masters of Education from Cabrini University. She holds Pennsylvania Certifications in English 7-12 and Reading Specialist K-12.

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Lauren Benfield is a Project Consultant who is passionate about supporting all students and has prioritized that in her offerings. Her professional learning opportunities are interactive, reflective, and strategy-driven to guide participants from theory to classroom practice.

Prior to her employment at Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, Lauren taught for nine years at the secondary level, particularly in the areas of literacy and science. Utilizing her degrees in Reading and Special Education, her role as a project consultant focuses on Inclusive Practices, Literacy, and MTSS. Her hope is to collaboratively work with her participants in designing instruction that can meet the needs of all students. She will often share relatable stories during her presentations, some educational and some personal, and loves to learn from her participants and their experiences.

Lauren enjoys dancing, theatre, listening to true crime podcasts, and watching the newest released show on Netflix.

"When all students learn together, each student learns more."
Follow Lauren on Twitter @LaurenBenfield2