Jennifer @jenfairbanks8 has set up a monthly blogging challenge described here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bD-zYHpkP0RR7shkovBtOEB4c_rlSuiUKtJCQtid9QY/edit You should join!
I came across this idea from the amazing Pam about a teacher hack on retrieval practice – the Flashcard Flipbook. Here is her post that includes it: https://pamjwilson.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/bonus-session-teacher-hacks-tmc17/
I started this second semester and had grand plans for using it for finals, but then COVID-19 happened and we never went back to school after 3rd quarter ended. But it is an idea I will 100% be using again.
I already have my learners keep a Portfolio in class. It’s really just where they keep all of their assessments (that I’m not allowed to have them keep, but I have to hold onto them for an undetermined amount of years) and also anything else they feel like keeping in there. Some keep their notes packets in there because they know they’d lose them otherwise. Most are just filled with tests and quizzes and their grade tracker. They are just plain old file folders that I can get for free from my school and every learner puts their name on one at some point before I hand back their first assessment. You can see them in the picture below on top of my Chromebook cart and next to the calculators.
So what I did starting 2nd semester was on the day before each assessment, I had learners spend 5 minutes writing on their notecard anything that they knew about the topics for that assessment. Some learners took it less seriously than others, but most were really into it and made pretty great notecards. I always phrased it as something like “Write what you want your future self to know before they go into final exams.” I have some examples below – one from Algebra 1 and one from Honors Geometry. My units are almost all structured as one quiz in the middle, one test at the end. So, most use one side for what’s on the first quiz and then flip it for the rest of the unit.
These aren’t used during the assessment. They are merely to help solidify the knowledge that they have at the time. Then, my plan was that they would take some time before the final exam to consolidate all of that into one notecard that they are allowed to use for their final.
Next year I definitely want to do even more with this. I want to make it more like Pam’s, where it is a little more organized and I want to do it more than just right before the assessment. I don’t know if I will be able to pull off 5 minutes every day like it’s suggested, but I’m thinking maybe once a week. I’d also like to do more peer review of them, or maybe just adding to their tablemates’ cards or finding something from another’s card to add to their own.
I got lots of comments from learners about how they thought it really helped to write it out. Like they figured out that just writing it all out helped them remember. The ones that took it seriously were also really excited to be able to use it later to help them study for their final. Now the question is how to make it so more learners take it seriously? I know it’s tough for high schoolers (and adults and everyone) to see how their effort can make a difference for them down the line. I wish I had been able to get to the end game with this one so I could have shared feedback with future learners. Oh well. I know it would have been great.
Une bonne idée qui ne voit pas sa fin.