Anticipation Guides Teaching Strategy | Facing History & Ourselves
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Teaching Strategy

Anticipation Guides

Get students thinking about the ideas and themes that they’ll encounter in a unit or a text.


At a Glance

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Teaching Strategy


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  • Advisory
  • English & Language Arts
  • History
  • Social Studies




Teaching Strategies

Use our student-centered teaching strategies to strengthen your students’ literacy skills, nurture critical thinking, and build a respectful and collaborative classroom community. These strategies can be paired with any academic content.

What Is an Anticipation Guide?

The Anticipation Guides strategy asks students to express their opinions about ideas before they encounter them in a text or unit of study. Completing anticipation guides helps students recognize and connect to themes that surface in their learning. Use this strategy at the beginning of a unit or before engaging with a text. You can also review anticipation guides at the end of a lesson or unit as a way to help students reflect on how learning new material may have influenced their opinions, perhaps by reinforcing previously held beliefs or by causing ideas to shift.

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How to Use Anticipation Guides

The most effective statements relate to universal themes and dilemmas and are phrased in ways that make sense when applied to events in the unit of study and to situations in students’ lives. For example, below are statements you could use when creating an anticipation guide to prepare students to address the themes of justice and forgiveness:

  • Punishing perpetrators for wrongdoing is necessary to achieve justice. Offenders should suffer for the crimes they have committed.
  • Justice is best achieved when the perpetrators repair the harm they have caused.
  • After a community has been through a time of conflict or violence, it is better for everyone to move on and forget the crimes or hardships of the past.
  • The truth heals. Perpetrators should be encouraged to confess their crimes in exchange for lighter sentencing.
  • An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind.

Prepare a worksheet or graphic organizer that structures students’ responses by asking them to decide if they strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree with the statement and to then explain why. Alternatively, ask students to provide a response in the form of a numerical ranking. For example, 1 can represent the strongest agreement and 10 can represent the strongest disagreement. You might also give students one or more statements to respond to in their journals.

  • A way to keep track of your thinking as you read so you can revisit and use that thinking later, when you are debating or when you are writing your essay

Teachers often have students review their anticipation guides after completing a text, noting how their experience with new material might have changed their thinking. Reflections can be in writing and/or through discussion. Often the statements used in anticipation guides make effective jumping-off points for essay writing. They also lay the groundwork for effective class discussions using the Four Corners strategy.

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Using the strategies from Facing History is almost like an awakening.
— Claudia Bautista, Santa Monica, Calif