Tag Archives: Quizzing

‘Fingertip Knowledge’: building a system to bridge the knowledge gap.

Mr W-M History

After nearly three months only open to the children of key workers, the coming weeks will see secondary schools across the country begin to very slowly try to adjust to a ‘new normal’ as students return to socially distanced classrooms.

Whilst students and teachers alike will face innumerable challenges with a return to education, one of the most important will no doubt be the vast knowledge gaps that will inevitably have emerged between students during the time they have had out of the classroom.

Some students will have been able to continue learning at home through the efforts of their teachers to provide resources online. Others, through no fault of their own, will have really struggled to access any work at home at all. Clearly, when we do eventually return to teaching something even remotely like the classes that we had before schools were partially closed, students will be in…

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Blog of the Week: Low stakes Quizzing and Retrieval Practice 4

TomNeedham

You can find the first three posts about retrieval practice here: one, two, three.

Everyone seems to be doing retrieval practice now and there is an abundance of research  in support of the effectiveness of self-testing as a learning strategy, particularly with regards to increasing long term retention. Ever since retrieval practice has become popular amongst teachers, there has been a notable concern about how it is being approached and whether or not it really is as effective as its proponents would claim. One line of criticism is that the questions-often closed, recall questions-are nothing like the final performance that students encounter when they take an exam. Merely asking students something along the lines of ‘What word means excessive pride or ambition?’  is, on its own, not going to help students with their understanding of Macbeth. However, understanding the meaning of ‘hubris’ (even in this most restrictive…

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Blog of the Week: 6 March 2020 – Making the most of quiz books

missdcoxblog

Myself and Andy Lewis are proud to have some GCSE religious studies quiz books published by John Catt. I thought I would share what they are and some ways in which these might be used.

What are they?

The books are based on all GCSE specifications for the new, reformed GCSE religious studies courses.

They have quizzes on the main topics for each religion, repeated 6 times, but with the questions in a different random order. Students should complete a quiz, check their answers and write their mark on their mark tracker. At another point in time (see below) they should complete the quiz again and record their mark. The aim is for them to improve each time if not get full marks.

They are knowledge quizzes. They aim to help students to learn and retain key facts, quotations and reasons. They are the foundations for being able to…

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Blog of the Week: 7 February 2020 – Low Stakes Quizzing and Retrieval Practice Part 1

TomNeedham

When I began teaching, I thought that a starter activity was there to ‘engage’ students in the learning, perhaps by providing some form of irresistible conundrum or puzzle for them to work out or maybe a multi-media, pyrotechnic laser show to wow them into compliance, competency and submission. By creating overblown and incredibly time consuming activities, I thought that my lessons would be memorable, burning themselves into the minds of my awestruck students and ensuring 100% retention. The lesson was everything: I thought of learning in 60 minute episodes. Learning over time, and by implication the notion of long term retention, was not something that I really considered, dazzled as I seemed to be by the allure and promise of engagement, novelty and the hallowed ‘hook’.

Oh how wrong I was! Not only was this desire for novelty and edutainment exhausting, but it implicitly sent the message to my students that…

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Blog of the Week: 19 October 2018 – A focus on knowledge: Vocabulary rich teaching

missdcoxblog

This is the first in a series of blogs on how I think my teaching has become more ‘knowledge rich’. The summary of what this means is in the first post here. This post will focus on how I have developed my teaching of subject vocabulary to the stage where I think it can be classed as ‘vocabulary rich’.

vocab

My view of the importance of subject vocabulary has evolved. When I first taught I didn’t put much emphasis on words as I felt that the subject content was more important and that subject vocabulary came after the learning of concepts. In the first specification of GCSE that I taught, the first question on the paper was always a keyword, 2 mark question. They needed to write the correct definition. I saw this as something they needed to learn and it was almost separate to further learning. I created subject…

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Blog of the Week: 8 June 2018 – What is a knowledge-rich curriculum? Principle and Practice.

teacherhead

I have found recent discussions and debates about the concept of a ‘knowledge-rich curriculum’  – or knowledge-led; knowledge-based – fascinating.   Some of this has been explored brilliantly in various blogs.  Here is a selection:

There are also numerous blogs from Michael Fordham (Knowledge and curriculum – Clio et cetera), Clare Sealy (Memory not memories – teaching for long term learning…

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Blog of the Week: 25 May 2018 – My Teaching: Nine Things I’ve Changed

We’re well over a week into exam season, so I thought now would be a reasonable time to reflect on the things I’ve done differently this year.  Below is a list of some of the stuff I’ve focused on, along with a few resources.  A folder with everything in can be accessed here so you don’t have to click on the individual links.

1. I’ve got rid of lesson objectives

Typically, each of my lessons now open with a broad question.  How is Macbeth’s state of mind presented in A1S7? – that sort of thing.  Sometimes, the same question spans a number of different lessons.  Typically, towards the end of each unit of work and beyond, I review the key ones with the class.  Examples here.

2. I’ve used knowledge organisers

I’ve pinched quite a few and constructed a couple of my own.  I’ve also got students to…

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Blog of the Week: 24 January 2018 – Top 10 Revision Strategies

Year after the year, the same pressures attend exam revision. Each year teachers try the old favourites, alongside a few new revision strategies to keep our students interested. Happily, we now have a wealth of evidence to support some revision strategies over others as we approach the revision stretch.

We know that students are not the most reliable when it comes to judging their own learning, with regular self-testing proving the most effective antidote. We also know that some strategies, like re-reading and using highlighters, are largely ineffective, whereas as quizzing does the trick. We know that a little ‘deliberate difficulty’ may well prove a good thing for revision, and that ‘cramming’ is inferior to ‘distributed practice’ (or spreading revision out over time), when it comes to remembering.

We should be careful not outsource an approach to revision to a company promoting the following strategies, or to puff up the confidence of our students. A successful approach to…

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