Category: Uncategorized

Consolidation Strategies

After a little bit of searching and seeing that “consolidation” is not used to mean the same thing in education by everyone, I found a couple materials to help me for strategies for consolidation.  In brain science, as the picture shows below, this is the process whereby new knowledge becomes deeply engrained, or that short-term memory is transferred into long-term memory. With that concept in mind, it would be inexcusable to not consolidate in a lesson!

Engage, Build, Consolidate - three processes of learning which will be explored in this course

Beyond a simple summary at the end of a lesson, or an exit ticket, Tripod has some good links to resources and strategies to work on consolidation which can be found here. One thing that I tried once, but that I and students both liked (I think) was 3-2-1 Bridge.  From Project Zero, this Visible Thinking Routine allows students to form connections by activating prior knowledge and then taking a new concept to a new level. Plus, the metaphors are just fun to do!  This is something simple I can make sure I do a few times this month and after debriefing with my kids, I will try something new from the list next time.

Image result for 321 bridge

Student Survey Results, Fall 2019

In looking at 7C student survey data, and comparing to my initial thoughts in Blog Post #1, it turns out I do in fact have a different opinion of my teaching than my students. I had identified “clarity” as my target area for growth, while my survey results tell me that my student have identified “consolidate” as an area for improvement.  While the weight of each category is not clear (eg: if students think one more vital than the other), this was my lowest ranked category.

I’m a big fan of the Russian-Reagan proverb, “Trust, but verify.” In research this is known as triangulation and having collected quantitative survey data from a group at large, I would love to have focus group interviews to ask about specific points to better understand perspectives to inform the teaching strategies I can employ so I don’t miss the mark on my student’s needs. This is not because I am upset.  On the contrary, I want to be well-informed in designing valid improvements.  This holds true even with criteria that I got very positive feedback on as well.

It appears that “confer” and “captivate” are my strengths as an educator, but the extent to which this is true has to be questioned.  This data came from a survey that many students finished in just a couple minutes, was responded to in my presence (demand characteristics), and was a small convenience sample (which I got to choose) of my overall student population.  This likewise means that I am not jumped for joy at the above graphs which are overwhelmingly green.

For now, I will check in with students to share the data in an un-biased way, and ask some questions that probe deeper to inform my next steps.  Assuming the data checks out, I will be prepared to focus my energy and attention fully on “consolidate” and find evidence-based practices to help me best summarize the learning at the end of lessons, asking questions to ensure students are following along, and focusing on the visualization and process of learning.

At this time, I certainly do think I can do better on summarizing learning at the end of lessons.  Sometimes an exit ticket is not enough, especially after a 3 hour class such as that from which the above data was drawn.  I would like to have my initial focus simply be on recapping the activities and learning before the exit ticket is presented at the end of the class.

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