Home Learning FAQ's (Years 8 and 9)

What is learning?

A big part of learning is about getting knowledge to go into your long term memory and then using this knowledge.   Our brains will only remember knowledge in the long term if we think really hard about it.  Just reading, or highlighting does not make our brains work hard enough.  We must practise remembering things – this will feel difficult at the time.

 

What is a knowledge organiser?

A knowledge organiser is a document that contains key facts and information that a learner will need to have a basic knowledge and understanding of a topic.  A knowledge organiser will not include every possible fact on a topic; it will include facts needed to understand the main points.

Most knowledge organisers will include: the essential facts about the topic, usually laid out in easily digestible chunks; key vocabulary or technical terms and their meanings; images such as maps or diagrams; famous quotations, if relevant.

 

Why are knowledge organisers good for learning?

Research shows that our brains remember things more efficiently when we know the ‘bigger picture’ and can see the way that ‘nuggets’ of knowledge link. Making links helps information move into our long-term memory. A knowledge organiser shows linked facts on a single topic.

Knowledge organisers can be used for retrieval practice (practising remembering things). Regular retrieval of knowledge helps us remember more effectively with our long term memory.

Knowledge organisers make knowledge clear. So, even if a learner misses a lesson, they have a constant point of reference.

How can you best use your knowledge organiser?

There are many ways you can use a knowledge organiser.  The most important thing to say, however, is ‘use it’.  Owning one does not make you remember facts… you must practice if you are to improve at anything!  There will be mistakes – this is how you learn.  Also, try different ways of practice. Ultimately, the best way to remember things is to try and remember facts that you can’t quite remember instantly… practice, practice and practice. Here are eight ways you could try to improve your long-term memory:

 

Hide and Seek

Read through a small section of your knowledge organiser (three or four key words), cover the facts and try to write out as much as you can remember. Check your answers and correct them if needed.  Then choose your next words or check ones you have already done again.

 

Quiz

Test your memory by asking someone to quiz you on facts from your Knowledge Organiser. Write down your answers and see how many you get right.  Correct any facts you get wrong.

 

Back to front

Write down a fact from memory and then compose a question that would lead to that answer.

 

Sketch it

Draw pictures /diagrams to represent each of the facts or dates (time lines, flow diagrams, or labelled pictures are great ways of remembering parts of a system or orders of events).

 

Put it in a Sentence

Take a key word and create a sentence that uses it.

 

Repackage it

Create a mind map that brings different facts together under one title.  Check that your key words are spelt correctly.

 

Mnemonics

Create a sentence where each word starts with the first letter of a key word to help remember lists. So, Elephants Always Drive Green Busses Everyday helps you remember the strings of a guitar E A D G B E

 

Teach it!

Teach and explain to someone your key facts – you could even test them!

 

Always check your answers and correct anything you got wrong…. You are allowed to get things wrong… That is how you learn!

Do not just copy a knowledge organiser out – that would not help learning and would only waste your time!