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I’ve previous shared the retrieval warm-up activity I’m having students do in all my ELL classes – writing about one thing they learned each day in each of their academic classes (including mine), and then sharing in class (see A NEW STRATEGY I’M USING TO PROMOTE RETRIEVAL PRACTICE IN CLASS (STUDENT HAND-OUT INCLUDED) and RETRIEVAL PRACTICE UPDATE).

It’s continued to go very well.

Earlier this week, I read a NY Times article headlined A Deceptively Simple Way to Find More Happiness at Work, and it gave me an idea.

The article shared what I thought was a pretty depressing statistic – that the key at work is do spend twenty percent of your time on tasks you find particularly engaging and meaningful. Supposedly, that’s the key to voiding burn-out at work – spending fifty percent of your time on meaningful tasks apparently doesn’t reduce the risk of burn-out.

I’m not so sure I agree with that stat, but the article did offer an interesting exercise. It suggested that people spend a week filling out a T-chart listing what activities they did they liked and which ones they loathed. The idea would be that after that activity, workers would need to figure out ways to increase doing their “liked” activities to twenty percent of their time.

Again, this sounds a depressingly low percentage of “meaningful” time to be satisfied with, but the T-chart idea got me thinking:

Since an on-going challenge that students experience with the retrieval practice notebook is differentiating between what they learned and what they did, why not add a T-Chart titled “Liked” and “Didn’t Like” where they listed one activity they did in school each day in each column? And make it even more meaningful by preparing monthly summaries for their teachers of what they wrote (without naming names)? And, then, at the end of the year, have students review what they wrote and and compile a reflection about how they like (and not like) to learn so they can share it with their teachers next year?

You obviously can’t learn much from doing just two days of anything, but the idea has been well-received. We’ll see how it goes.

What do you think? Any ways I can improve on this new addition?

I’m adding this post to The Best Resources For Learning About Retrieval Practice.