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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.


Clines are gradients used to help learners refine their knowledge of words describing a similar attribute, or shades of meaning. They are used to support the teaching of modality in writing.

Any group of words which might be placed in order are spaced along the gradient. For example, in English we use a range of words to describe temperature, eg. tepid, hot, boiling, cool, cold, warm, chilling, and freezing. After modelling the task, these words can be given to groups of students to place on the cline from the highest to the lowest temperature.

Watch this short video to see clines being used in a year 7–8 science class

Teaching and learning sequence planning examples:

Primary level:

Secondary level:

Published on: 19 Jan 2018