At Broadstone Middle School we want all home learning to be meaningful, manageable and enhance what the children are learning in school. We want to provide home learning that supports children to become independent learners who understand how they learn best. Therefore, we offer the Knowledge Organisers and Retrieval Practice as a home learning activity alongside regular reading.
The concept of Knowledge Organisers and Retrieval Practice is based on vast amounts of scientific research and studies considering how our memory works and how we best learn. They also support in the fact that the curriculum is a knowledge rich curriculum which requires our children to gain a wide range of knowledge. When we talk about knowledge, we do not mean knowledge for the purpose of recalling lots of facts but to ensure that learners can retrieve these facts and then use these to apply and manipulate in many creative ways.
As part of the Castleman Academy Trust we are passionate about Knowledge Organisers as we have already seen the positive impact these can have not only on the confidence of individuals but also on achievement.
This is the ‘go to’ document that contains key facts and information that children need to learn. This knowledge will be laid out in easily digestible chunks which will contain both new information and already known information. At times children may be asked to reconsolidate a piece of information or it may be that they need to learn a new piece of information/fact prior to it being taught in school. Any new learning will be covered again in class however if children are able to recall the facts prior to the lesson, then within the lesson they can take this further through application. Please note the Knowledge Organiser outlines the key information for children to learn and not an opportunity to practice or apply.
Cognitive Strategies refers to methods used to help learners understand the way they learn. There are many cognitive strategies including Mind Maps, Peg Words, Mnemonics just to name a few. Within class all children have been introduced to a range of strategies and refer to these weekly in their Learning to Learn Sessions. There is no one right strategy and children will explore all of these while they begin to further understand themselves as learners and how they learn best.
Retrieval practice is a powerful strategy that boosts learning by pulling information out of the learner’s Long Term Memory. This ensures that the key knowledge that is learnt sticks and can be retrieved and used at different times. The questions within the Knowledge Organiser supports retrieval. During the school week children will be asked to recall the key information through quizzes. This is a low stake learning opportunity that is flexible and quick, with a huge impact on long-term achievement. The questions that appear within the Knowledge Organiser can also be found on www.bmslive.co.uk where the children can question themselves through the app.
Learning to Learn Sessions
All children will partake in a weekly Learning to Learn Session. During this session, the children will complete a retrieval quiz, focus on a cognitive strategy, and apply this to an area of their Knowledge Organiser. During these sessions, the adults within the class will be looking through each individual’s study guide at their weekly home learning and discussing how they did on their retrieval quiz. As stated, this is a low stakes quiz and there is no pressure with regards to how many the children get right. For those lower scores, the discussion is focused around the cognitive strategies the children are using to learn the knowledge and recommendations and support in a different strategy which may work better for that individual.
We understand that this is a new and different approach for many students, and whilst the children are ‘getting used’ to it and learning how to do this we want to support our families as much as possible. Therefore, if you have any further concerns or questions then we do encourage you to contact your child’s class teacher or form tutor. They would be more than happy to go through this with you further and answer any questions you may have.
Retrieval Practice Video
Our Assistant Headteacher Mrs Lord ran a workshop for year 3 and 4 parents, and created this video when she worked at Broadstone First School. It explains all about how our Home Learning works at both Broadstone Middle and Broadstone First Schools.