Using Show and Tell to a Student's Advantage

By | March 27, 2016

Show and Tell is more than talking about your weekend or the new puppy, especially with older students. It’s an early step in scaffolding (early steps in breaking down learning into chunks). It involves talking, looking at vocabulary and information as well as previewing text. So how does Show and Tell fit in?

Learning by seeing and hearing from others adds depth for mots of us. If we give students a chance to demonstrate what they’re talking about it helps reinforce their learning and invites others to engage in the topic.

Used as part of scaffolding, it works best in small groups so students may brainstorm, ask questions and seek new information related to the topic being discussed. I suggest you encourage students to take on a variety of jobs as part of being in a group. These include the Question Director, Focus Director and Researcher. Remember, it become vital to set strict parameters with regard to what is discussed.

Discussion must relate to the topic. Personal questions and those unrelated to the topic must be shared at another time and must be written down or recorded separately so the discussion stays on target. A group might want to appoint a member to act as Question Director. The job would be to separate the topic questions from other questions, allowing only on-target questions to be discussed.

Develop Think-Alouds. Encourage students to put ideas together in an If…then scenario. “If I look at the plants we are growing in the window and compare them to the plants we’re growing in the closet, then I can see the effect of light on plants.”

Prior Knowledge may become part of the discussion. Using life experiences related to the topic invites discussion. Just be certain the discussion stays focused. Perhaps invite a group member to act as Focus Director to keep the group’s mission clearly in front of the members.

Encourage use of the Vocabulary related to the topic. If the vocabulary related to the topic is pre-taught, the students will be more likely to use that langauge more effectively. Provide a chart of the previously introduced vocabulary before they begin their Show and Tell discussions.

Provide visuals, books and other materials as references. This allows the groups the opportunity to answer their own questions. Each member of the group may take turns being the Researcher.

Collect questions, ideas, comments, discoveries as you move on to deeper discussions of the material. Keeping the student actively involved will build their interest as well as their understanding of the topic.