Earlier this week (June 2019), the wonderful Kate Jones* posted her retrieval practice placemat:
I really love this for a few reasons:
- It’s retrieval practice. If you’re unsure of what this is or why it is very important in the classroom, have a look at some of the articles here.
- All of the tasks are quite generalized. They can be applied across a multitude of subjects and ability levels.
- The laissez-faire nature of the tasks. This may be my favorite point. Notice how there’s very little subject-specific ‘help’ from the question to assist the learner, forcing the student to recall all of the information. When designing my own reviews for my students, I try to remember that I don’t want the question doing the cognitive work for the students. Provide the framework for answering the question, but allow the student to do all of the domain specific work. Learning is effortful. 🙂
- The potential for quality study habits to be formed. If students can keep these general questioning prompts in their mind, they can always be used for study/practice no matter the subject. This questioning is much better for providing feedback to the students and for retention of material than simply rereading or highlighting their notes.
- It is simple. Learning doesn’t have to be complicated. I think, in general, many of the ‘innovative’ stuff we’re doing today only complicates the classroom. We should aim to make the classroom simpler.
I will certainly use this in my classroom. It provides the students with many different opportunities to retrieve important material, it provides an opportunity for students to assess what they know and what they don’t know, and it reinforces more efficient and effective study/practice habits.
How can this be used in your classroom?
Are there any minor changes you might make for your classroom?
*Kate also has a great book out, Love to Teach. Buy it. Read it. It’s full of fantastic resources for the classroom…by a classroom teacher. Highly recommend.