A Parent’s Guide to Knowledge Organisers
At Shaftesbury School, all our subject departments create knowledge organisers to support each unit of learning across Key Stage 3. These are then compiled into a booklet for each student to use. Knowledge Organisers are a simple tool that provides the necessary knowledge required for each particular unit.
Students are expected to spend 30 minutes per subject (2 subjects per night) which total 1 hour. Students are given a clear timetable at the front of their Knowledge Organiser which tells them the two subjects they are expected to work on per night. This is in addition to reading for 35 minutes – see below for more detail.
Home-study expectations: Students are expected to Look, Cover, Write, Check. Note: simple copying out is NOT effective. They should cover up part of their knowledge organiser, write it out from memory (in a black or blue pen), in their purple exercise book, then self-check and correct any spelling mistakes, missing bits or mistakes (in a different coloured pen). They will be tested on this in lessons. This way, they will learn the most valuable knowledge in every subject by heart and free up space in their brain, as well as time in class, to develop their skills.
Parents can be a huge support for their son/daughter too with this homework method.
With the students learning the important facts and concepts for their home-study, the knowledge organiser should be used as the basis for retrieval practice. Retrieval practice requires a prompt – usually a question or key word – to test previously learned material. This act of recalling knowledge from memory, increases the likelihood that it will be stored in students’ long-term memory, and the easier it is to recall this knowledge, the more powerful the effect. Therefore, parents can further support by quizzing and prompting.
Studies show that the best way to revise is to be tested regularly; a more active learning style is a far more powerful method than re-reading or restudying the material alone – alongside quizzing, multiple-choice questions and flashcards. There are several suggestions on page 3 of each Knowledge Organiser.
Parents will also note that there is a Reading Log on page 4. Our expectations are that students should be reading a minimum of 35 minutes per school night to help them to grow more confident with their reading, develop better comprehension skills, as well as develop stronger vocabulary and writing skills. It is also a great way for students to learn about the world around them and process more complex ideas they may not ordinarily come across. We then ask that parents sign this Reading Log each night to confirm that they have read.