Within our CSI we are looking into further developing Retrieval Practice across the department, however we are also looking at how to back this up by using Spaced Practice.
Their new book ‘Understanding How We Learn’ identifies a few key strategies that we can adopt and explicitly teach our students to aid them with their own independent learning.
Rather than immediate study or homework during a topic, why not leave that homework for a week or two and space it out over time. This way students are revisiting past work and retrieving that knowledge which is proven to be more effective for long-term deeper learning. Typically, the benefits of spacing out practice are seen after a few days, so why not set homework tasks that are delayed by a week, two weeks or even more? If it is proven to improve “storage strength,” aka deep learning, perhaps in 2019 we should make this our plan. Food for thought!
Mark. Plan. Teach
Recently I read Ross’s book Mark. Plan. Teach. and what struck me was that we could be more time efficient, the scourge of many a teacher! Many of the strategies in the book are backed by research and while they aid the learner they also better enable the teacher. One strategy that is of key importance, in all subjects, is modelling our thought processes to demonstrate and explain learning. In order to do this some sort of visualiser is needed, while we don’t all have one of these we do have a set of department iPads which all have Office Lens installed on them. You can read about how Office Lens can be used as a visualiser here. Looking ahead to 2019 and reflecting on how we can save ourselves some time, we will start the year off by developing a deparment marking code and looking at how we can develop focused marking (marking against one or two key criteria) to reduce our workload and zero in on student progress.
On the right is an info graphic that covers many of the themes in the book, if you wish to borrow my copy then please don’t hesitate to ask! You can visit Teacher Toolkit’s site by clicking the button below.
Quizizz is an excellent #edtech product that enables teachers to perform low stakes retrieval in the classroom (or for homework). In your lessons, rather than a quiz on the current topic, why not give them a quiz on a previous topic or even a quiz that covers both topics.
The platform produces reams of data too which is über useful for teachers when identifying knowledge gaps, planning ahead and spotting common themes for a class and/or individual. It’s easy to spot trends, misconceptions and more as it gives you data on accuracy and time spent per question.
Creating a quiz in Quizizz is easy too, watch the tutorial video below.
Once you’ve created your quiz you can share it with Edmodo, within Google Classroom, MS Teams or even just post a link for it into your VLE. Alternatively, if your school has a BYOD policy, you can just put the join code onto the screen so the students can join in and play a live game rather than completing it for their homework. This gives us the chance to get on with marking some of their books, planning, preparing resources or simply marvelling in the quiz itself.
Chemistry Resource of the Month
Check out Adam Boxer’s 8 required practicals SLOP (shed loads of practice) here.
December’s Blog Recommendations
Many of us across the department have been using Seneca Learning as a tool for homework and to promote independent study in the build up to mock exams. Students have all given positive feedback on the platform and now that teachers can set assignments it proves another excellent #edtech resource to have at our finger tips to aid retrieval and spaced practice! Speak to OLE/DSE for more information on using the platform, we are going to roll this out across Key Stages 3 and 4 in 2019.
Flavia, from Seneca, also wrote an interesting blog on how leaderboards increase student engagement. You can read her post here.
This newsletter was written by Olly Lewis, Head of Science at The British International School of Abu Dhabi
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