An analysis of 'A Sound of Thunder' academic vocabulary lends itself to the technique of KWL. The KWL chart is an aide for planning and gathering information that can access prior knowledge to prompt students to think about what they know about the topic of science fiction, time travel, literary language of the text and the elements that make up the structure of the story that drives the plot forward. KWL can help to access sources for research. Students can think about what they want to know about in this story and after reading "A Sound of Thunder' reflect on what they thought about the text, how accurate their analysis turned out and what was learned in the process of reading the story. A KWL chart requires students to think about resources to find answers to their questions. The chart can also be used as an assessment for learning to bridge the gap of what students already know and understand about a topic and create a link to past, present and future knowledge.
Alignment with Cognitive Theory
Using a KWL Chart to analyize "A Sound of Thunder "is complmentary to the metacognitive approach of the cognitive learning theory. KWL Charts and the cognitive learning theory focus on thinking methods to promote student learning. The text of 'A Sound of Thunder 'requires understanding of the rich uses of foreshadowing, symbolism, subtext, language, plot, characterization and theme,as well as the impact of vocabulary choices to story meaning. The language of the text acts as building blocks for students to interpret new information to layer upon prior knowledge. KWL is a cognitive learning technique that can cue students to question and think further about the significance of words found in the story. KWL acknowledges students' prior knowledge, and layers additional information to create new learning concepts. Students can identify and develop new information based on answers in a KWL Chart. Questioning information in the KWL relies on the cognitive theory practices of social investigation and learning.
Cognitive Learning Theory implies that the different processes concerning learning can be explained by analyzing mental processes first. Using effective cognitive processes, learning becomes easier and new information can be stored in the memory. Ineffective cognitive processes can also result and lead to learning difficulties if the initial information is not correct. The social cognitive theory draws on behavioral factors, outside environmental factors and intrinsic personal factors.These 3 variables interrelate and cause learning to occur. Personal experiences can influence behavior and environmental factors. (Ormrod)p.153.
The strategy of KWL can assist teachers in presenting information in different ways to learners. The steps of KWL are "Know," "Want to learn" and "What I have learned." The first step "Know" can be initiated through discussion with students about what they already know about a topic. Students can work together or alone to provide information about where and how they learned the information and organize their ideas into categories. Through the second step of "Want to Learn", students might discuss what they want to learn from reading an article. They can find specific questions which interest them and look for the answers as they read. The last step of "What I Learned" can help learners to understand and write what they comprehend from the reading. They can check the questions they generated in the "Want to Learn" step and compare their results to the actual results of the story to check for accuracy. Through the use of the three steps, students are given the opportunity to process new information in ways that can be more effective to them.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007).
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