Johns Hopkins University Secondary Support Initiative (JHUSSI)  

Concept Circle



Purpose of Strategy


Visual representation and connecting students’ background knowledge to new vocabulary words and concepts provides students multiple ways to add to and maintain their new knowledge. The purpose of this strategy is to develop students’ vocabulary prior to beginning a unit in a specific content area. This strategy can be revisited throughout the lesson to support students’ use of the content area vocabulary or introduce new vocabulary.


Rationale of Lesson


Provide students the opportunity to connect their background knowledge to new vocabulary in order to critically think about the meaning of a word.


Acknowledgement of Content Expert and Consultants





  • Equipment to present slides (e.g., print for overhead, project through computer and projector, or print as a poster)
  • Vocabulary word list from content area (In this exemplar, vocabulary from a Science Ecosystems Unit is used.)
  • Resources to locate definitions: class dictionaries, internet, text book glossary

References and Web Resources


Concept Map References and Web Resources