Academic journal article Social Education

The Anticipation Guide: Motivating Students to Find out about History

Academic journal article Social Education

The Anticipation Guide: Motivating Students to Find out about History

Article excerpt

THE ANTICIPATION GUIDE is a strategy in which students forecast the major ideas of a reading passage through the use of statements that activate their thoughts and opinions. This strategy is helpful in activating students' prior knowledge and stimulating student interest just before a reading assignment is given.

Anticipation Guides are used prior to having students read a passage from their text or other supplemental reading material (whether they are reading it in class or as homework). The Anticipation Guide can also be used as an interactive hook for any lesson, presentation, or video.


Anticipation Guides can be used in almost any class in which new information is being provided to students. This strategy was developed originally for use prior to a reading in order to get students thinking and making predictions about what they were about to read. The guide is written in an "agree" or "disagree" or "true/false" format. It revolves around the most important concepts to be taught. Students are motivated to read (or view) closely in order to search for answers that support their thoughts and predictions. The guide activates students' prior knowledge and motivates them.


1. Identify the major concepts in the text Before beginning the lesson, the teacher should look for the central ideas that he or she wishes to emphasize in the passage that students will be reading.

Example: The teacher in the classroom snapshot is beginning a unit on the Black Death in Medieval Europe. Students will be reading about the causes of the epidemic. The teacher has decided to focus on the following points:

* The Black Death probably consisted of several diseases that were spread by flea bites.

* It has been estimated that 25 percent to 50 percent of Europe's population died from that epidemic.

* The Black Death contributed to the end of feudalism in the Middle Ages.

2. Identify ways in which students' beliefs will be either supported or challenged

Consider what students may already know about the topic, or may think that they know, that the reading can challenge or affirm. Do not choose facts or ideas that will be well known to students or that are not likely to provoke any discussion.

3. Create statements for the Anticipation Guide

These statements may challenge, modify, or support students' understandings. The most effective statements are those about which students may have some ideas, but not complete understanding. These statements should directly address the main points or ideas that the teacher wants to emphasize in step 1. The statements should be written to fit a "true/false" or "agree/disagree" response.

Example: In the classroom snapshot, the teacher decided to emphasize the causes of the Black Death in Europe. Some students may think that rats were the sole carrier of the disease at that time. Rat bites to humans were not the main form of transmission of these diseases--flea bites were. For example, the bubonic plague bacterium (yersinia pestis) would grow inside a rat. A flea would bite the rat, become infected with the bacteria (tiny one-celled organisms), and then bite a human, passing some of the bacteria along to that person. Very shortly, that person would become sick.

Some students may think that the bubonic plague was the only cause of the Black Death. Although bubonic plague may have been the main culprit, there were other diseases afoot, all of them caused by bacteria. Septicemic plague, bubonic plague, and pneumonic plague were all part of the problem. Some researchers think that anthrax was involved as well.

So was the Black Death spread mostly by rat bites? No, it was spread mostly by flea bites. Was the Black Death simply the disease that we now call the bubonic plague? No, the Black Death was probably caused by several diseases, bubonic plague among them. …

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