The term “acceleration” might cause one to think of advancing students.
However, in this case, it actually means providing students with
a “preview” or “jump start”. Research has shown that if we can give
students a preview of information before they receive it in the
classroom lesson, many will learn more with better understanding
and retain the information longer. Acceleration is not pre-teaching.
It is more like a preview of coming attractions, an overview of
what is to come.
The best ways to use acceleration are:
1. Develop advance organizer(s) (content map, story map, graphic organizers) for the unit/chapter. Develop these 2-4 weeks in advance of the actually teaching the unit. Share the organizers with any “extra help” teachers, or other teachers who teach these students. This will allow them time to preview the material with students prior to teaching your unit. Post these in your room, and be sure to include unit essential questions, lesson essential questions and key vocabulary. This information will provide a framework of basic knowledge and enable students to better grasp the content being taught. This will help them develop a better understanding of how it all fits together.
2. Preview the organizers/content map with all your students 2-4 days in advance of the lesson, discussing the organizers with students and providing additional information about the contents.
3. Preview and teach the key vocabulary from the advance organizers, use vocabulary word maps and Frayer diagrams to teach vocabulary words. Give students blank word maps and Frayer diagrams and have them fill in the information in their words, perhaps even make an illustration of their own about what the meanings are.
4. Use activating/focusing strategies to link the new information to students' prior knowledge and build a knowledge base for the lesson to be taught. Help students link the new information to something they already know.
5. Teach the lesson and be sure to review key vocabulary in context during the lesson. Teaching vocabulary in context helps foster understanding. Research has proven that teaching vocabulary in context is one of the most important strategies in impacting student learning.