Retrieval,workload and pedagogical content knowledge | Adam

I’m really chuffed at the number of people who have got in touch to say they are using retrieval roulettes and that they are willing to share theirs. I use one in 90% of my lessons and in my opinion there are many benefits:
It’s a great starter as not only is it a settling activity, but it’s actually beneficial to student memory, unlike other common starters (codebreakers and wordsearches: I’m looking at you).
You also have the opportunity to destroy learned helplessness in your classes. You can give students the entire roulette (and I do), guaranteeing that with a little elbow grease they…

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Simplifying Cognitive Load Theory | Adam

Sweller’s Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) may be the single most important thing for teachers to know, but it was not necessarily designed with teachers in mind. The product of lab-based randomised controlled trials, it is a theory from the specific academic discipline Cognitive Science. In recent years teachers have found it incredibly useful and many blogs and books have been written trying to explain it and how it can be utilised in front-line education.

In my experience, most will use Willingham’s graphic below in order to explain CLT:

A very general reference to the working memory…

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Rotten Rewards | Adam

In primary school, there was an award given every month for kindness. Sponsored in the name of a young man who lost his life tragically young, it was a Big Deal. Given out to one student in the school every month, a 3 form entry primary school ensured that it wasn’t one of those prizes that everyone got by the time they left school.

I was pretty quiet in primary school, and people who know me now would be surprised to hear that I used to be quite shy and reserved. I always tried to be nice, I wanted my teachers and my small circle of friends to like me. And I wanted that prize. I wanted it…

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I’ll never set a project again. | Adam

Years ago, I used to set a “model atom” project. In line with a school priority about developing independence, and my own beliefs about engaging students in science outside the classroom, I set the project with gusto. I carefully prepared level ladders and checklists to make sure students were including the information I wanted and were properly researching their atom of choice.

When due date came along, my lab had never seen so much activity before 8.30am. Beaming students, bedecked with enormous models, came in and out to lay their precious cargo on the sides, wary of damaging them in…

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Chemistry Required Practicals SLOP | Adam

I’ve prepped a monster SLOP booklet for the 6 required practicals in the Chemistry part of the AQA double course. Help yourselves, usual rules about useful feedback apply.

AB required practicals mastery booklet

There are answers to some of the questions, but I haven’t written for most of them. Let me know if you end up writing some…

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KS3 Chemistry Fundamentals Unit | Adam

I have now written quite a bit about our new KS3 Scheme of Work. You can find:
The general approach and the use of Core Questions here
How we have gone about actually making it here
Our entire How Science Works unit here

And now you can also have access to our entire Chemistry Fundamentals unit here, covering nuclear model of the atom right the way through chemical changes, conservation of mass and balancing equations.

As before, you will no doubt have your nitpicks and your own personal pet peeves that you don’t like about our unit. That’s fine, keep it to yourself. You are more than…

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Retrieval Roulettes! | Adam

A little while back I released the Retrieval Roulette with the aim of helping people build a simple system to embed regular retrieval practice into their lessons. Since then, thanks to the amazing generosity of twitter and the CogSciSci group I have now been sent a bunch more for the different sciences and exam boards. Help yourself and please let me know if you have one you can send to me! Unfortunately I was careless enough that when I emailed the links to myself I didn’t get everyone’s names so if one is yours please let me know asap so I can properly attribute. I’m also pretty sure I got…

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