Monthly Archives: May 2015

Knowledge organisers in science

For many years I have been teaching my students that the best way to ‘memorize’ something is to think about it, to understand it, and to practice with different approaches within the concept. This blog elaborates even further about the connection between thinking and memorizing.

Class Teaching

A few weeks ago I read this post by Joe Kirby on Knowledge Organisers.  It made a great deal of sense to me for 3 main reasons:

1.  It reminded me of how I learnt to spell – I’d learn the words, cover them up, write them out and then check my spellings.  This process was then repeated – and it worked.

2.  Students having to think about and recall knowledge, is going to make them remember it.  To quote Daniel Willingham:

willingham quote3. I teach science – a subject that requires students to be able to recall a great deal of knowledge.  What’s the point of teaching them how to structure a 6 mark extended writing answer, if they haven’t got the knowledge in the first place?  It’s like asking a builder to build a wall, without any bricks.

Knowledge organisers seemed to address all three of these points. …

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Making Questioning Count

The answer is in the question! So let’s ask the right question so we get, not the right answer, but the next right question!

Class Teaching

crane2The 15 minute forum tonight was led by PE NQT James Crane.  James started the session by telling us that since he had been teaching, he had quickly come to the conclusion that questioning was one of the most important aspects of pedagogy, and was essential to develop good learning.  It should be a  key feature of every lesson and is essential for judging how well students are understanding the work.  As such, it is a key planning tool – by asking good questions, you find out what they are struggling with and so which direction you need to take the lesson.  He also reflected on when it doesn’t go so well:


A scenario we will all be familiar with!

At DHS, questioning sits as one of our 6 key pedagogical principles:


The ‘so that…’ of questioning is key.  If done well, it makes sure that students are made to think hard, with…

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