What are knowledge organisers?
A knowledge organiser is a set of key facts or information that pupils need to know and be able to recall in order to master a unit or topic. Typically, an organiser fits onto one page of A4, which helps students to visualise the layout of the page, which in turn helps them to memorise the information better.
Why are we using knowledge organisers?
Research suggests that equipping students with the skills to be able to learn, retain and recall knowledge is key to the examination success. The newly reformed GCSEs and BTECs are more rigorous and increasingly challenging.
Typically, when students leave their revision until a few weeks or even days/hours before the examinations and tests, this presents a problem.
The secret to success is to regularly revisit the knowledge to be learned. This helps transfer the knowledge from the short-term memory to the long term memory. This not only helps to make ‘learning stick’ but it also frees up our short-term memory for day to day learning and experiences.
How will a knowledge organiser help my child?
Knowledge organisers will be made available at the start of each unit to help them remember what they are learning and to help them to see the bigger learning journey in their subjects. Instead of forgetting previous learning, students will continually revisit and retrieve prior learning from their memories.
How will a knowledge organiser help me to help my child?
Many parents/carers ask us how they can help to support their children at home. Many are worried that they do not have all of the subject specific knowledge to be able to help their children and some worry how to check that their children have done their homework and revision. The knowledge organisers will help you to do all this easily.
Suggested activities for parents/carers.
Most homework set will be linked to all or some aspects of the organiser. This might range from learning key words, spellings or remembering dates and definitions.
Here are some strategies that might help you to support your child’s learning:
- Read through the organiser with your son/daughter – if you do not understand the content then ask them to explain it to you – ‘teaching’ you helps them to reinforce their learning.
- Try converting the information into a mind map or make your own version using clip art imagery if the organiser contains a lot of text. Display on the wall or the fridge door until the memory ‘sticks’.
- Test them regularly on the spellings of key words until they are perfect. Make a note of the ones they get wrong.
- Get them to make a glossary (list) of key words with definitions or a list of formulae.
- Try recording the knowledge from the organiser as a sound file on their phones, so that your child can listen to it. Some students retain more information this way.
- Read sections out to them, missing out key words or phrases that they have to fill in.
- Test them about their knowledge
How will teachers check students understanding?
Rather than submitting a piece of homework, teachers will plan their lessons to include a range of knowledge retrieval activities during the lessons, for example a ‘low stakes’ test where students are required to recall knowledge that has previously been taught. These knowledge retrieval activities recap all taught content which encourages students to continually revisit previous learning, rather than just remembering the last lesson or most recent topic. Teachers will then have a good understanding of common misconceptions which will enable them to plan lessons and support students accordingly.
Where can I find Knowledge Organisers?
These will be distributed to students by teachers at the start of each topic/unit. Every student will be given a folder to store their Knowledge Organisers, and will be expected to have them in their school bag every day, and forms part of their basic equipment. They will also be available to download on the Academy website. If a student misplaces a knowledge organiser, it is their responsibility to replace it.
Does this effect all year groups?
Subjects will be using this strategy in all year groups. Whilst public exams only happen in the latter school years, we strongly feel that preparing students with the skills to revise and recall from a young age will be hugely beneficial as they move through their school journey.