Chunking: How to make encourage student engagement

The Situation

Your students need to express their ideas through a short response.

The Solution

Whenever I watch a movie with a classroom setting, I see always seem to see the teacher say “Here is your assessment, it is due on Friday.” No explanation. No clarification. Nothing.

I can’t think of anything more from the truth than this peephole into a classroom.

In a real classroom, in the real world, teachers need to break up and ‘chunk’ student learning for their to be success.

‘Chunking’ is the process of breaking a task up into multiple parts to improve students understanding of what they need to do.

In this part, I am going to suggest a way to teach the reading of a short text.


The first step is processing. In this section, students need to process the text. Don’t give them a text and the answers. Let them process first the text. With a Rally Read, a Kagan Cooperative Learning Activity, students share the work load, reading one stanza each.

This strategy encourages students to interact positively and bounce of other students who are stronger readers.


In this section of the task, students share their understanding of the text with one another. An Ideas Round Up is a quick cooperative activity. See the image for further information.

Expressing ideas

Now, students need to use sentence starters to get their ideas down on paper. They have processed the information, discussed the information and now they are read to express their ideas. Use sentence starters to get their ideas down on paper.

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