Activating Background Knowledge, Introducing New Concepts, Previewing

UDL 2.1 UDL 3.1

Preteaching is the teaching of vocabulary, language or content knowledge to students in preparation of an academic activity. Preteaching as a teaching strategy enhances overall understanding of the academic content, increases students understanding of the concepts by introducing vocabulary as well as supporting mastery of the language. This is especially important for English language learners who are still learning academic language.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Graphic Organizer

Graphic Organizer for Making Connections

Graphic organizer for making connections to new content. Give the graphic organizer to students to track their ideas as well as promote engagement during preteaching activities.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Reading, Writing, Math · 1 pages

Graphic Organizer

KWL Chart

A KWL Chart that can be used to activate students’ background knowledge. Give the chart to students to track ideas as well as promote engagement during lessons and activities.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Reading, Writing, Math · 1 pages

Planning Guide

Teacher Planning Templates for Activating Background Knowledge

A set of teacher planning templates for preteaching activities. The planning template includes a guide describing how to activate students’ background knowledge during preteaching.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Reading, Writing, Math · 2 pages

Implementation Tips

Use as a Reference Poster Throughout Unit
Think about displaying K-W-L or concept map throughout the whole unit, so students can refer back to the charts, diagrams and maps as a visual reference. For field trips, taking pictures and creating a class book of the trip can also be incorporate learning from life experiences into the classroom.
Additional Resources for More Support
Have additional resources available for students (e.g. cut-out pictures/words, life cycle worksheet, etc). In addition, students can create a picture dictionary or word notebook with the new vocabulary.
AAC or AT Devices
Pre-program vocabulary words into AAC or AT Device so students with communication needs can participate during the discussion and introduction of the unit.


Activating Background Knowledge – Introduce K-W-L Chart
Teacher ask students to share what they already know about butterflies (K), what they want to learn about butterflies (W), and at the end what they learned about butterflies (L). The chart can be used before the lesson (K), during the lesson (W), and after the lesson (L).
Previewing Vocabulary
Introduce the vocabulary students need to know including egg, caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly, stages and life cycle. The teacher shows students pictures as students write the words and draws a picture of each vocabulary word in a science notebook.
Real-Life Experiences
Students take a field trip to see the Monarch butterflies. Once they have seen the monarch butterflies, they begin a unit in science on butterflies. As part of the unit, the teacher introduces the life cycle of a butterfly with a concept map showing the different stages of the life cycle.

Related Strategies