Blog Post 4 – The Memory Cycle

August 4, 2007 at 3:42 pm | Posted in uncategorized | 24 Comments

Recall the seven steps of the memory cycle.  Which of the “Rs” do you feel is most essential for your content area?  Why?

Briefly describe an activity you would create/utilize to satisfy one “R.”  (Use any “R” you would like, not necessarily your most essential “R”).  For example, how would you reach your students?

~ Shelby, Sarah, Geoff, Lee

Advertisements

24 Comments »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. Of the seven steps of the memory cycle, from Marilee Sprenger, book How To Teach So Students Remember, I think that Recode is the most critical for students in the sciences.

    Amazon Hyperlink

    The sciences can be difficult subjects, with lots of new terms and unfamiliar processes. Just reading the material is not enough for a student to know and understand the material. The student must be able to take in the knowledge and be able put it in their own words. This practice was essential to me when I took an Immunology class as an undergrad. The professor had an erratic style of teaching, which commonly left me confused after the lecture. My solution was to take the notes from each lecture and recode them, using the text book as a guide. Putting the notes into my own words resulted in a clearer understanding of the topic. By recoding, you attach your own, more meaningful, connections to the material, which will help you generate a metal image of the idea for easier retrieval from long term memory.

    More about the psychology of recoding can be found here

    MSN Encarta Hyperlink

    One important caveat to this is that the students recoding must have monitored feedback (Reinforce) from the teacher. If a student recodes something incorrectly, then they will learn it incorrectly and generate a misunderstanding of the material. Continual feedback from the teacher can determine if students are on the right path.

    One way you could encourage students to recode is to have them draw a picture of the concepts you are studying. They say a picture is worth 1000 words. By having students create their own pictures, they would be putting on the paper their mental image of the concept, and thus, perhaps help them when they want to retrieve it from their long term memory.

  2. When I read the question asking which “R” was my favorite and which was most important, my first answer was REACH, to both questions. I felt convinced that the teacher would not get very far, to any of the other R’s if they have not yet reached their audience. Without reaching the student, they may simply go through the motions of reflecting, recoding, reinforcing, rehearsing, reviewing and retrieving.

    However, after reading Geoff’s blog, I am somewhat convinced that the most important R is recode. The students may not be engaged in class, but at some point realize they must learn the material. If they did not learn it from their teacher, they must recode it to learn it themselves. So, thank you Geoff, for changing my thinking. I will maintain that I like Reach the best, but recode is the most critical. I’ve attached a link to a book that I would recommend on how to make ideas “stick”, called Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath. http://www.madetostick.com/

  3. My next comment is concerning an activity using an R. In Science and Math it is critical that students try out their material, practice it, rehearse it. One great way to do this is through activity. Science fair projects allow students to work in groups, actually building something, applying what they’ve learned. Science fairs allow students to share their ideas, learning from each other, and take pride in their work. Some science fair ideas can be found at this site. http://www.sciencebuddies.org/

  4. In math, reinforce is the most essential of the “Rs” of the Memory cycle. Math continually builds upon itself and students need the correct basic factual and procedural knowledge before they can continue correctly. I agree with Geoff that as teachers we need to constantly monitor the student’s progress and know if they are on the right track, which we look at from the students recoding. If the students are not on the right track we need to be able to identify where and how the student is making their errors. Students also need the reinforcement and feedback to feel confident about their work. Teachers see students get frustrated all the time and if we take the time to reinforce, students will be able to move on to the next step of rehearsing in the memory cycle. Kristin shared a great resource about how to “make it stick” to help with the reach aspect, which is where all of this begins. I have now mentioned four of the “Rs” illustrating how difficult it is to choose just one as the most essential!

    An activity I would create to satisfy the “R” of recode is after learning about word problems and the language used in them, I would have the students write their own word problems. There are many misconceptions when dealing with word problems and the language can be confusing. By having students write their own word problems, they can repeat the language and ideas the learned, interpret how to use them then write their own to show that they truly understand them. This also then lends to a simple way to reinforce the students by reviewing their problems and giving them feedback on their progress. The following web site has a nice simple chart that makes the language a little clearer and gives an example of a nice word problem writing activity that uses information from the sports pages of the newspaper. A great practical and fun example.
    http://www.geocities.com/fifth_grade_tpes/math.html

    Studies have shown that writing helps in processing and practicing math word problems. In a book by J. Countryman, Writing to Learn Mathematics, she states that “The debate over the utility and method of teaching word problems has long been a major issue in mathematical pedagogy. I believe that word problems can be useful, provided they involve student writing exercises so that the students can explore their own ideas. Many of my word problem examples involve creative stories which students can build upon in their answers. Students often have trouble with word problems because of a larger inability to understand math language, but that writing about their learning processes will help reveal how much they do or do not understand” (pp. 45).

  5. After readying my peers’ posts I almost considered changing my mind on what I feel is the most essential “R” in science. I agree with Geoff that recoding is necessary; students do need to make their own meaning of the material they are learning. I also agree with Kristen that if you do not reach the students you will never get to the other steps. And I agree with Sarah that in subjects such as mathematics (and science) that build upon previously learned concepts and processes reinforcement is crucial. However, I am going to stick with my initial response; to me rehearse is the most essential “R”.

    If you look at an excerpt from Marilee Sprenger’s book How to Teach So Students Remember it states that rehearsal involves higher levels of thinking and enables information to be stored in long-term memory. I think that with so many concepts, facts, and processes imbedded in the Living Environment curriculum that rehearsal is going to be the greatest aid to students. After all, practice makes perfect! Well okay, maybe students won’t remember everything they learn no matter how much they practice it. Yet if I can have students so well rehearsed that they can go into that gymnasium on Regents Test day and feel comfortable that will be perfect! I think that rehearsal is so essential in science or any subject, because if students do not practice what they learn they will forget a lot of it, or never understand how to apply that learning in the first place. As much as we may have hated homework in school there was and still is a reason that students (even at the college level) receive homework. It serves a vital function of practicing what you learned. Additionally although the “Rs” are separate steps I think several of the “Rs” can be addressed through rehearsal. When you give students an opportunity to practice or elaborate on their learning you are also asking them to recode it, review it, they are retrieving it, it is being reinforced, and it allows students to reflect. And, you can create ways to reach students even through rehearsal. 

    Now that I have rambled on about rehearsing I figure it is only fitting if I describe an activity I would utilize to help students rehearse. I would have the students divide up into small groups or pairs. Each group or pair would select a multiple intelligence of their choice. In this case it does not matter how many multiple intelligences are selected or if one is selected multiple times. The students would then utilize their chosen multiple intelligence to model whatever concept or process we just discussed and learned. An example would be that students chose to utilize the musical/rhythmic multiple intelligence, and created a song about the steps to the scientific process.

    A second way that I would have students participate in a rehearsal activity would be through the creation and use of flash cards. They are not very exciting but I have personally found them a very effective tool for rehearsing information. A bonus of using flash cards is that students can hold on to them and utilize them as a review tool before tests as well. While I think the best flash cards are the ones you make yourself here is a link to a website that contains millions of printable flashcards from every subject.
    http://www.flashcardexchange.com/

    Finally, I would just like to say that my greatest ambition for my students will be that they will remember twenty years after high school something I taught them in their Living Environment class.

  6. Unfortunately, my hyperlink didn’t work. Here is the website that How to Teach So Students Remember was supposed to link to:

    http://www.ascd.org/portal/site/ascd/template.chapter/menuitem.b71d101a2f7c208cdeb3ffdb62108a0c/?chapterMgmtId=77128ed7032c3010VgnVCM1000003d01a8c0RCRD

  7. I believe all seven “R’s” of the memory cycle are critical to being a successful teacher regardless of your content area. Since I had to pick the one most essential to me, I spent a lot of time reflecting what I thought was the most important for my field of science. My conclusion was Reach, but this was before reading any of the blog entries already posted on Bloglines. However, I wanted to keep an open mind, especially after reading that Kristen changed her mind after reading Geoff’s post. While I agree with Geoff about the importance of Recoding, especially regarding the connection to understanding the material, I still think Reach is the most important R for teaching science.

    I spent a bit of time reviewing the material I learned from my Inquiry class (GMST 502) and probably the most important idea communicated there was that teachers need to reach their students through engagement. If we can make connections between the subject matter and things the students can relate to, we will be much more successful in getting the student to learn. Engaging the students, getting their attention, then focusing that attention in a way that can be built upon and stimulate their interest is critical. Keeping them involved in a more hands-on approach will promote critical thinking which will lead to a deeper understanding of the material. I think inquiry and reach are really the same thing (getting students hooked!).

    In an article called “Moving from didactic to inquiry-based instruction in a science laboratory,” Lord and Orkwiszewski (2006) note that inquiry is more than providing activities for students to do in the classroom. Although active learning suggests students are participating in a lesson, reaching students through inquiry learning requires that they are mentally participating in it. In fact, in their study they noted that inquiry revealed that their students were better equipped to think through science problems and were more eager and motivated to find meaningful solutions. This can be seen in a feedback comment received from one of their students who said: “I never realized how much fun it was to discover science like real scientists do”. (Reference follows, hope the format comes out ok).

    Lord, T., & Orkwiszewski, T. (2006). Moving from didactic to inquiry-based instruction in a science laboratory. The American Biology Teacher, 68(6), 342-345.

    An activity I plan to do my first day of student teaching involves a simple science experiment consisting of taking a large piece of paper and using a paint brush to write a message using phenolphthalein indicator. The message will dry and be invisible to the students. I’ll then spray window cleaning solution containing ammonia on the paper, and the message will appear in pink, but then disappear because the ammonia will quickly evaporate. I plan to write a few words from a Harry Potter movie on the paper – something the students can connect to!

    More “Reach” science experiments can be found at this link:
    http://www.reachoutmichigan.org/funexperiments

  8. My link at the bottom of my post did not appear as expected. Here is my second try….

    http://www.reachoutmichigan.org/funexperiments/agesubject/chemistry.html

  9. This is a really difficult question. I feel that all the “R’s” are important. As I was reviewing the “R’s”, I kept thinking how each was so critical in math. Reading the other blogs posted really didn’t help me narrow it down either. I agree with Geoff that recoding is important in math as well as science since students need to find their own ways to help them remember the material. I agree with Kristin and Lee that reaching a student can set the stage for success or failure right at the beginning. Shelby makes a great point about rehearsing, and that too is critical in math since students need to practice solving problems to really learn how to do them and commit those steps to memory. However, after reflecting on all these R’s, I have to agree to with Sarah, that reinforcing is the most important R for math. Sarah makes a great point,

    . If students are not grasping the information previously presented to them, they will be lost in the upcoming lessons. This will continue to perpetuate itself more and more as the student feels like he/she is falling further and further behind as the rest of the class moves forward. Teachers also need to make sure that students are learning the information correctly. If something is misinterpreted by a student and they continue to use it incorrectly, this could have a huge negative impact on how well then can learn any of the future concepts presented. Reinforcement is a great way to give students the feedback that they need to make sure they are on the right track. By giving this feedback, teachers are also given an opportunity to monitor the students and what they have taken from prior lessons. The following website gives a great overview of reinforcing in the classroom with some examples of what can be successful tools for giving students feedback and what may not work so well. http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/2/cu3.html. One of the findings in this article I find interesting is “When students are reinforced and rewarded for group academic performance, their achievement is equal to that of students reinforced for their individual academic performance.” This suggests that giving students feedback in group environments has a great positive impact on their learning and that not just individual reinforcement should be used. This finding helps support our method of collaborative learning and shows that we can use reinforcement just as effectively for our groups of students as we can for them with assignments by themselves.
    On a different note, with regards to activities, Shelby’s practice example using multiple intelligences is an awesome way to get the students participating in the lesson and to get them thinking about creative ways to practice what they have learned. I think students will have a much easier time remembering information if they were able to come up with a unique way of expressing it.
    For an activity, I would have students play a game to review a unit. I think it is critical to go back to concepts learned at the beginning of a unit and review those to make sure students are still able to recall the information. It is so easy for students to be wrapped up in the latest topic and forget what was covered a few weeks or even days ago. By using a game to review a larger selection of topics and concepts, students will be able to dig back into their memory and try to retrieve this information. Using a game format keeps the students engaged and makes it fun for them, but is not as nerve racking as taking a quiz or test might be. It will also allow students to draw on answers from other students allowing them to spark their own memory. They can also identify incorrect answers given and be able to offer correct answers in their place. Forming groups for games allows students to collaborate together on answers and utilize each others retrieved knowledge to remind them of what they learned. “Jeopardy” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” are great games to use at the end of a unit. Other math games that can be used to review smaller amounts of material can be found on several websites by searching for “math games”. A website with interactive web based games for a variety to grades that I have enjoyed playing around with is http://plato.acadiau.ca/courses/educ/reid/games/Math_Games_Links.htm.

  10. Unfortunately, the quote I was trying to highlight from Sarah didn’t work correctly. The quote should have been

    . The rest of the text should have been outside the quote box.

  11. Unfortunately, the quote I was trying to highlight from Sarah didn’t work correctly. The quote should have been

    ”Math continually builds upon itself and students need the correct basic factual and procedural knowledge before they can continue correctly.”

    . The rest of the text should have been outside the quote box.

  12. Blog Post 4:

    I believe that the most important “R” is to review. As was said in the notes it “strengthens long-term memory connections”. Putting information into long term memory will allow it to be recalled on tests and further in the future. However along with review there is a great deal of rehearsing (so I would have to agree with Shelby) and there needs to be some recoding to put that information into a form that the student will remember (therefore I need to agree with Geoff as well).

    http://www.cc.gatech.edu/classes/cs6751_97_winter/Topics/human-cap/memory.html

    This website gives a brief overview of memory with some nice charts. It states in the last paragraph, when discussing long term memory, that “Experiments also suggest that learning time is most effective if it is distributed over time.” Therefore review would be very important in that the information is visited more than once but also not all at the same time. Review can be a day, week, or month after the material is first learned. This repetition over a long period of time will lead to the best long term memory storage which is much more effective than short term.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It seems that all of the R’s in a way are linked. Within one there are many others. Rehearsing is what is done in reviewing. When one reviews for a test they go over the information again and again to put it into their memory. They may use flash cards or they may just reread notes but they are rehearsing the information as a form of reviewing. Recoding is a way of putting information into your memory in a way that is beneficial to you. This would strengthen the long term memory because it was put there in a specific way that you will remember.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    In order to help students with review, I would have them do activities while they are learning the material that they can look upon later to review. I would have students use various graphic organizers to help summarize key points on a topic. I would have students use the Cornell method of notes where they could add more in depth notes or clarifications in a different color pen as a way to review. I would give short quizzes throughout a unit to test the memory of the students up to that point to see if more review is needed before the test. The most beneficial thing would be to try and keep revisiting various units throughout the year as opposed to teaching something in September and hoping the students remember it in June. Reviewing in May might be too late for some students because the information would have already been deleted from the short term memory.

  13. After reading everyone else’s blog lines, very compelling arguments for reach, reteach and the others alike, but I will have to say that even before Bonnie put up her blog lines, the R I feel that is most essential, especially in the sciences is review. I completely agree with Bonnie. In the sciences there is quite a bit of material to try and put to memory as well as learn and understand. I feel that the more you review with your students, and build on previously learned material, the easier, and more efficient their understanding and recall will be. I found a great website that allows you to test your memory skills, to see where you are lacking.
    http://search.cpan.org/~petdance/Test-Memory-Cycle-1.04/Cycle.pm
    For the activity I would use with my class, is Jeopardy. I love that game, and think that it is a wonderful tool to hook students into reviewing. It makes it fun and enjoyable, and competative, which for most students, drives them to learn. Most important though is that it is fun, and when students are having fun, they often will not notice that they are learning, which can be the best kind of learning when it comes full circle.
    Here is a nice website that has activities for review, as well as my beloved jeopardy.
    http://www.yorktech.com/department/science/environment/PowerPoint/Power%20Point%20T3_files/frame.htm

    Remember to always have fun when teaching, cause if you are having fun, the students will have fun, and ultimately learn more, as well as better.

    I, just want all of you to know, that it has been a pleasure, to have shared knowledge, and time with all of you. Thanks.

  14. I agree with Geoff that recoding is essential in science for students to put into their own words what they have just learned. I feel that as a teacher I can monitor student progress towards mastery if I can see what students understand and don’t understand. I believe that by teaching students and then having them use the material in their own manner teachers can easily identify what students “get it” and “don’t get it”. Teachers can then go back and eliminate misconceptions about that topic or even re-teach the topic if necessary. The students that do get it can then act as teachers to the other students who don’t get it.
    I also agree that you need to reach students in order for any of this knowledge to be understood. Students need to be actively engaged in the lesson and take part in their own learning. Once students are engaged they can then take this new knowledge and put it into a form that is better understandable for them. Unfortunately engaging all students in the classroom is difficult. But in science there are many demonstrations and real world things that can easily engage even the most difficult students.

  15. I would agree with T and Bonnie that Review is probably the most important of the R’s in mathematics. Although the other R’s are necessary in the classroom, students need to REVIEWing every single night.
    There is quite a bit of material added every year to the mathematic curriculum and students are being pushed through harder material every year. I strongly encourage my students to review through independent practice (also known as homework) in which they are given problems from the lesson they learned that day as well as previous topics in the chapter. I also provide students with “Warm Ups” (Bell work as some call it) and “Cool Downs” (or Ticket Out the Doors). These could be random problems that students have learned from previous lessons or chapters, or they could be used to see what students know before starting a new chapter.
    I play review games with my students before every test. Just like T, I am a huge fan of Jeopardy. I also have become attached to a mathematics version of Family Feud and I find that my students really enjoy Around the World. As simple as this may sound, I sometimes just ask questions and throw a soft Kushball at my students to answer the question. Just this “little” act gets there senses moving. Plus they want to catch the ball and throw it back.
    I find that students are engaged when they are competing against their classmates, while, whether they know it or not, reviewing material!

  16. “Motivation is one of the most significant factors for engaging students in meaningful learning” (McCombs 2007)
    I feel “REACH” is the most essential to my content area of science, because it involves motivating students, addressing different learning styles, and provoking emotion and meaning. Reaching students is the initial step in engaging students in the learning process. Science contains a lot of information that can be lost in translation. However, if students are engaged and motivated in “receiving” the information, then it creates an opportunity for a deeper understanding of the content. Motivation and engagement occur when a teacher makes the content taught relative and relevant. Teachers need to develop strategies that allow students to take ownership of their learning. “Some students seem naturally enthusiastic about learning, but many need-or expect-their instructors to inspire, challenge, and stimulate them: “Effective learning in the classroom depends on the teacher’s ability … to maintain the interest that brought students to the course in the first place” (Ericksen, 1978, p. 3). I feel the remaining six R’s should center around Reach, because without active engagement and motivation no learning will take place.
    I agree with Lee that students who are better equipped to think through science problems and are more eager and motivated to find meaningful solutions. Creating hands –on activities is a method in reaching my students, while addressing different modes of learning. An example of a hands -on activity is called the Earth bowl. The Earth bowl is an activity that demonstrates how each layer of the Earth is formed. Students will distinguish the composition of each of the four layers of the Earth, by creating a three dimensional, edible representation of the earth in cross section. Throughout this process students will make predictions of the description of each layer. Students can also note measurements of the ingredients and constructing the bowl. (See website for exact procedures: http://www.fi.edu/tfi/activity/earth/earth-1.html)
    Additional resource for engaging and motivating students:
    http://www.fi.edu/tfi/activity/act-summ.html
    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/kids/activities/
    http://www.ltag.education.tas.gov.au/effectteach/Motivateengage/default.htmsuggest

  17. To respond to my fellow classmates, I think they bring up some good points.

    To Lee, I do think Reach is important, however, perhaps not critical. Yes, it is important to get students interested in the material, and to some students it may be crucial. However, there could be situations where students may be reached, but still fail to learn the material if there is inadequate or improper follow up. On the other hand, failure to reach some students with engagement (i.e. they may feel the topic is uninteresting or unexciting), does not necessarily preclude them from being able to learn the material. I do admit that a successful reach can make it easier.

    To Shelby, I always thought rehearsal was more critical to math than science. In math, you need to practice the procedures and use of the equations to gain any sort of mastery, but I can see where there are lots of pathways and mechanisms in science where rehearsal of knowledge would be important. I do like your idea that rehearsal incorporates multiple R’s. I think recode is the same way, incorporating reflecting, review and reinforcement.

    I can really argue with the notion that review is critical to memory. To some, review is absolutely necessary, however, I have known lots of students that need very little review. Again, like reach, it seems to come down to the nature or the individual student.

  18. Like Geoff I was reading my peers’ posts and would like to comment on a few.

    I agree with Bonnie, T, and Aimee for stating how important review is for students. Especially since (as Aimee states) they learn so much new information everyday. However I can see Geoff’s point that some students do not need to review as much as others. It is an individual thing. Yet, I believe (I can say that because this isn’t a Socratic seminar :)) that all students should participate in some form of review as a continuous process. The more the students see the information and concepts the stronger connections they are going to make. Also, a continuous reviewing process may alleviate some the stress caused by an upcoming test.

  19. What a choice! After much consideration and review of my classmate’s responses I have decided that retrieve is the most crucial R for my content area. Retrieve, the final step of the memory cycle brings all of the steps full-circle and truly reflects understanding of the content at hand. As Sarah (and Laurie) make note, “Math continually builds upon itself and students need the correct basic factual and procedural knowledge before they can continue correctly.” Although she is referring to math and reinforcement, this principle of the subject building upon itself also holds true in biology, and retrieving information crucial for building long-term understanding. Biology is a subject that is notorious for memorization. It is not centered around reference tables or computations, therefore it is so dire that essential facts can be recalled!

    Retrieval encompasses the other six R’s, it is the ultimate proof of understanding. In education there is constant struggle with “learning for the test” and “learning for understanding.” It has been said over and over again that if a student aces a test but a month later they cannot remember the information then the material was never really learned. I do not think retrieval is being able to perfectly recite information that the student learned months prior. However, if presented with a review of the material or going back and looking at their notes the student should be able to go into their memory and remember/re-understand the content.

    As Geoff said in his first post, drawing pictures is a great way to recode concepts, so the student can make it their own and is actively visualizing and expressing what they have learned. Students can share their pictures and show them and explain to their classmates why that picture works for them, which could aid another student who is confused or stuck. Pictures could also be used for retrieval as they can easily be kept as a reference. I think an effective activity to provoke retrieval is the use of linking words and associating concepts. We talked about mnemonics a little bit in class, and teaching students to think in ways so when they hear something it triggers another thought is effective.

    The sense of smell is a strong trigger for memory. For example, a whiff of a perfume that grandma used to wear when you were a kid could bring you back to a specific moment that you had with her. Although it is not a specific activity, it would be interesting to see if there are observable effects of a notable air freshner in a classroom during specific lessons and testing. I have heard that music has similar memory effects so that would be another interesting thing to test. I found this to be an interesting website on tips for students on paying attention and ultimately memorize. http://www.studygs.net/concen.htm If the student is not engaged they will not recall a thing!
    As english poet Samuel Johnson notes, “The true art of memory is the art of attention.”

  20. It has taken me a couple attempts to start this, because I keep facing the same battle that Sarah had. I keep choosing multiple Rs. I think that recoding, as everyone has stated is very important. And everyone has help cement that into my mind. But I have to agree and build on Kristin’s idea of REACH! If the students aren’t interested from the beginning I think it is hard to get them back on track. I will list Reach as my most important but I will admit that Recoding, and Reviewing are also both very important in mathematics. I really liked Sarah’s idea of having students write their own word problems as great way for students to find misconceptions and “holes” in their processing, it is an interesting approach to recoding. I would like to build on that idea and have students then solve each other’s problems. Maybe use a student written problem as a bonus on a test. T, Bonnie and Aamie’s point about REVIEWing is also important in math and science and should be done every night. It can’t be overlooked! Why else would we spend so much time in class review information?
    One activity I would use could possibly be used at the beginning of the year or before a lesson on diagrams. I would incorporate the importance of REACHing to the students, by having the students go around the room, talk to their classmates and create a Venn diagram with each student being a circle and they have to find things that they overlap with other student’s interests. If this is done at the beginning of the year, students can learn new student’s names and interests, or this lesson can be done later with a more specific topic, maybe with a list of math questions and they have them complete the problem together. This idea was from http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=3921201&tstart=0 (a first year teacher has asked for good icebreakers). I also found the always favorite idea of using food, such as dividing a real pizza into fractions to build into a lesson on manipulative and fractions. This is from: http://www.uwsp.edu/Education/lwilson/lessons/hunter/hunt1co.htm.

  21. I know all of you have been waiting anxiously to read my opinions about the most critical R so here it is. Sorry no fancy formatting this time because I need to get some sleep and don’t have all night to mess around like the last time.

    GEOFF, KRISTEN ARE RIGHT AND EVERYONE ELSE IS NOT (I LOVE BLOGS)

    Before I read anyone else’s response I took a minute to reflect, I mean to find my notes about the 7 R’s, and I knew right away that my most important R was Recode. The biggest reason is personal and, just like Geoff, in my experience recoding was the most critical component to remembering what I was taught. I have always processed information in a very unique (messed up) way. It always took me an extra second to process information but once I successfully recoded it was pretty much there to stay.

    The best metaphor I can come up with for this process is that it was like running WindowsXP on an old MAC. It could be done but it took a few extra cycles. But MACs are now run with Intel processors so it’s not the case anymore. Anyway, if I digress any further I’ll never finish.

    Luckily, Kristen saw the light and reconsidered so now she’s on the winning team.

    I could be nice and say that everyone is right but that wouldn’t be any fun. Since we are all scientists at heart I thought I would try to prove why recoding is the correct answer to this question. So the first thing I’m going to do is look and the question a little different. If there was only 1 R on the planet , which R would give us the most success above all others? In other words which R has the greatest impact on students learning the material and passing the exams? And the answer of course is Recode. Recoding is the essence of learning the material. Once you get into your head in your own way it’s burned in. Now a few of you mentioned (Geoff, Sarah, Shelby) that reinforcing was important because it can uncover misconceptions in the recoding. In fact Sarah thinks recoding is the most important. However, I do not consider it recoding when a student misinterprets something, if he doesn’t get it yet than the recoding process is incomplete. Either way if you try to reinforce something and discover the student doesn’t have it right to begin with, the first think you do is go back and Recode.

    Let’s go through the rest of the list now. Some of you preferred the first one Reach. Reach sounds nice and plays to our emotional side. However, on planet 1R (and Earth), most students understand you go to school to learn. (It’s their JOB, as I sometimes tell my kids) It would be nice to connect to every subject that is taught but that’s not realistic and many will survive learning about a subject they don’t particularly care for. Sorry Bill and Lee.

    Reflect is a nicety. It would be nice to count three Mississippi between every thought but the school day is limited and there is a lot of material to get through. Therefore, it’s nice but not essential.

    Rehearse, Review and Retrieve kind of fall under the same category. If you do not successfully recode than the rest is pointless. You end up with homework you can’t solve (Shelby), studying topics you don’t understand (Bonnie, T, Aimee), and retrieving the wrong answers to the test (Lindsey).

    (Sorry Stephanie I didn’t mean to exclude you but you really didn’t commit to one or the other so I hadn’t referenced you yet.)

    Now all of you think back to the easiest A you ever go in college. I would be willing to bet that the homework was cake, and you barely had to study and you totally aced the tests. Why, because you recoding the information to its maximum potential and that stuff was locked and loaded.

    So, have I Reached anybody out there? Let’s Reflect on this, successfully Recoding will Reinforce your cognitive development so much so that Rehearsing, Reviewing, and Retrieving are superfluous.

    I don’t know if any experts agree with me but since I don’t have a link yet here’s a reference to a paper about remembering math concepts.

    http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p117651_index.html

    Since I supported Recoding so much I suppose I have to come up with an activity that satisfies this concept. I stole this from myself. It’s basically the post reading strategy I came up with. The activity is to write a picture which illustrates comprehension of theorem that is being taught. For instance have students draw a picture of congruent triangles and in their own words describe why they are congruent. This exercise will let the teacher know if the recoding is actually successful.

  22. While I can’t disagree with any of the comments from my colleagues (except for maybe Pete) who all make excellent and valid points, I still think Reach is the most important “R”. As we all know, the metric used to evaluate performance in the classroom is the test scores. If your students don’t do well on the standardized tests, you won’t be a teacher for very long. My personal experience in substitute teaching this year gave me the opportunity to be in science classrooms a fair amount of time. From my observations in the Chemistry classroom, I could definitely tell that Reach was lacking, as the students were not only frustrated, but in general they seemed to have little interest in the subject. I don’t have the exact data on how the kids did on the Chemistry regents test in the school district I taught at, but from talking to students and teachers afterward I know the overall test scores were disappointing. I talked to one of my favorite students this summer who told me he failed the Chemistry regents test and when I reflected back on the year, I really wasn’t surprised. It wasn’t that he didn’t have the ability, it was that he just didn’t make the effort and put in the time needed (recode, retrieve, reinforce, etc.) to be successful. I think if he had been reached right at the beginning of the course, his test results could have been different. Although this is only one example, a large percentage of the kids I taught in this Chemistry course felt exactly like this one. I think that once you can reach a student, it makes a teachers job of doing all the other “R’s” much easier. After all, the first R in the seven steps of the memory cycle is reach.

  23. YES!! That was just the kind of response I was looking for.

    Thanks Lee.

    Anyone Else?

  24. This is a really difficult question. I feel that all the “R’s” are important. As I was reviewing the “R’s”, I kept thinking how each was so critical in math. Reading the other blogs posted really didn’t help me narrow it down either. I agree with Geoff that recoding is important in math as well as science since students need to find their own ways to help them remember the material. I agree with Kristin and Lee that reaching a student can set the stage for success or failure right at the beginning. Shelby makes a great point about rehearsing, and that too is critical in math since students need to practice solving problems to really learn how to do them and commit those steps to memory. However, after reflecting on all these R’s, I have to agree to with Sarah, that reinforcing is the most important R for math. Sarah makes a great point, “Math continually builds upon itself and students need the correct basic factual and procedural knowledge before they can continue correctly.” If students are not grasping the information previously presented to them, they will be lost in the upcoming lessons. This will continue to perpetuate itself more and more as the student feels like he/she is falling further and further behind as the rest of the class moves forward. Teachers also need to make sure that students are learning the information correctly. If something is misinterpreted by a student and they continue to use it incorrectly, this could have a huge negative impact on how well then can learn any of the future concepts presented. Reinforcement is a great way to give students the feedback that they need to make sure they are on the right track. By giving this feedback, teachers are also given an opportunity to monitor the students and what they have taken from prior lessons. The following website gives a great overview of reinforcing in the classroom with some examples of what can be successful tools for giving students feedback and what may not work so well. http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/2/cu3.html. One of the findings in this article I find interesting is “When students are reinforced and rewarded for group academic performance, their achievement is equal to that of students reinforced for their individual academic performance.” This suggests that giving students feedback in group environments has a great positive impact on their learning and that not just individual reinforcement should be used. This finding helps support our method of collaborative learning and shows that we can use reinforcement just as effectively for our groups of students as we can for them with assignments by themselves.
    On a different note, with regards to activities, Shelby’s practice example using multiple intelligences is an awesome way to get the students participating in the lesson and to get them thinking about creative ways to practice what they have learned. I think students will have a much easier time remembering information if they were able to come up with a unique way of expressing it.
    For an activity, I would have students play a game to review a unit. I think it is critical to go back to concepts learned at the beginning of a unit and review those to make sure students are still able to recall the information. It is so easy for students to be wrapped up in the latest topic and forget what was covered a few weeks or even days ago. By using a game to review a larger selection of topics and concepts, students will be able to dig back into their memory and try to retrieve this information. Using a game format keeps the students engaged and makes it fun for them, but is not as nerve racking as taking a quiz or test might be. It will also allow students to draw on answers from other students allowing them to spark their own memory. They can also identify incorrect answers given and be able to offer correct answers in their place. Forming groups for games allows students to collaborate together on answers and utilize each others retrieved knowledge to remind them of what they learned. “Jeopardy” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” are great games to use at the end of a unit. Other math games that can be used to review smaller amounts of material can be found on several websites by searching for “math games”. A website with interactive web based games for a variety to grades that I have enjoyed playing around with is http://plato.acadiau.ca/courses/educ/reid/games/Math_Games_Links.htm.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: