A Matter of Time

Playing BreakOutEDU at the beginning of the school year.

Playing BreakOutEDU at the beginning of the school year.

It has been quite some time since I last blogged. I have been doing a lot of research about how kids best learn. I have read/been reading the following books for my personal professional development: Ditch that Homework by Alice Keeler and Matt Miller, Make it Stick: The Science of Classroom Learning by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger, and Mark McDaniel, Hacking Digital Learning: 10 Ways to Launch EdTech Missions in Your Classroom by Shelly Sanchez Terrell, and Why Don’t Students Like School? A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What it Means for the Classroom by Daniel Willingham.

All of this research takes time but time well worth it if my students benefit from what I learn. I have been trying to put these research backed ideas into practice, but I don’t really feel as though I’m being successful. I have spent time explaining to my students how to best study for transfer from short term to long term memory, how the brain works, and how to take notes based upon what research says works best for the brain. I believe that the problem I’m having is a matter of trust. Many of my students believe that the best way to take notes in U.S. History class is to just ignore whatever I talk about and ask for the PowerPoint presentation to be put online. I can tell them or show them what the research says but they believe that cramming and just rereading information right before a test is the best way to study. This seems to be so ingrained in their psyche that anything new/old will not work for them. I’m hoping that it is just a matter of time before they come to understand that spaced practice, retrieval practice, and elaboration will actually change the neural pathways in their brains to the point that information has transfered to long term memory.

Frequent quizzing is said to be helpful in the tranfer of information. I always think of quizzing the day before or the day of when I would like to quiz the kids, but then I feel like I’m surprising them and they feel like I’m not being fair even though quizzes make up only fifteen percent of their final grade. I’ve tried exit slips and I have found that this is a great way to gauge how well I covered material but I don’t feel that it’s  something I should put in the grade book.

This is going to be a year long experiment with what I hope will be great long term effects. If you have any advice or would like to help me out drop me a comment or send me an Email. Lets hope that it doesn’t take me another five months to come back to blogging.

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