The teaching/learning/studying strategy called “retrieval practice” has been gaining a lot of attention recently as more and more studies have found that is very effective.
A simple definition of the idea is challenging students to remember something they have already learned – but not necessarily immediately after they learned it.
Many of us teachers use it already in different ways. For example, I’ll often ask students to take a moment and think about a fact or strategy we’ve discussed (for example, “What is a thesis statement?”) and then have them share with a partner.
One purpose for this list to push myself to be more conscious of this instructional strategy and look for more ways to easily implement it in my classroom:
Here’s the best practical piece for teachers that I’ve found on the topic: Retrieval Practice: The Most Powerful Learning Strategy You’re Not Using is from Jennifer Gonzalez.
USING THE DO NOW FOR RETRIEVAL PRACTICE–AN UPDATE FROM ALEX LANEY is from Doug Lemov.
How is a Student’s Memory at Test Time? is by Eric Jensen, and offers some particularly good advice about retrieval practice in the classroom.
Promoting Metacognition with Retrieval Practice in Five Steps is from The Effortful Educator.
Check out RetrievalPractice.org
Learn how to Study Using… Retrieval Practice is from The Learning Scientists.
RETRIEVAL PRACTICE: A TEACHERS’ DEFINITION AND VIDEO EXAMPLES is from Doug Lemov.
Why Students Forget—and What You Can Do About It is from Edutopia.
RETRIEVAL PRACTICE IS THE PERFECT TOOL TO ‘WIN BACK THE MARGINS’ is from Doug Lemov. It makes a good point about using any available opportunity for using retrieval practice with students. Unfortunately, some of the examples shown in the videos don’t seem to me to maximize “whole class processing” (as my former principal Ted Appel calls it) – the idea that all students are thinking and showing their thinking. That’s why I use warm-ups, as well as mini-whiteboards, as superior moments for this kind of activity. This is also probably a good time to point out that some teachers will say they are already using retrieval practice by doing assessments like chapter tests. But, in reality, retrieval practice for learning means constantly creating low-stakes opportunities – like warm-ups and using mini-whiteboards.
What is retrieval practice when you’re learning math? is from Rough Draft Talk.
Retrieval Practice and testing is a good one-page sheet.
Let me know what I’m missing!