Incomplete Outline

The incomplete outline is an excellent way of helping the students recognize the most important or main ideas and the organizational pattern of information given in lecture. It can also be used for the textbook readings/information. Determining the major points can help to sort information and locate the ideas being communicated.

  1. Create a set of incomplete lecture or reading notes in outline format, so some key lines/phrases are missing. What you leave missing from the outline can create a more or less challenging activity, depending on what you need.  For instance, asking students to fill in the word for a definition vs. providing a term and asking them to define it. Or, another example, asking students to label a diagram you provide vs. asking them to draw and label the diagram on their own.
  2. Divide students into pairs or small groups and ask them to fill in the outline together.

Variant: Divide your incomplete outline into sections and assign a different section to each pair or group. Ask the groups to complete their outlines. Once finished, provide each student with their own full blank outline to fill in as groups get up and teach their section’s content to the class. Each group will have a chance to go through and explain their section of the outline. This generates more discussion among the students. Keep in mind, there may be more than one way to fill in missing parts of the outline. 

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