Planning fragmented lessons to enhance memory


Two weeks ago I taught a lesson where students were finding out information about a particular topic and presented it in a poster format. Since then I had another lesson in which we didn’t discuss this at all, but worked on a connected topic.At the very end of the lesson they answered an exam question on the connected topic (based on the mark scheme requirements) and I hoped they would peer mark them but we ran out of time.

Today, at the beginning of the lesson I gave them the exam question back and they peer marked them using the mark scheme.  I then gave them back their poster and asked them questions which required them to show knowledge and understanding of the content. They had to evaluate in this case which they thought was the most effective point.

This wasn’t planned but I’ve been thinking

If we plan for fragmented lessons, will it help students remember more effectively?

I think that most people plan their lessons to be ‘complete’, where the ideal is to complete all work where possible within one lesson or maybe two consecutive lessons. My suggestion is that if we deliberately plan for the activities to be split and taught in consequent lessons (2 or 3 lessons from when the original topic was taught) will this mean that students are having to use their memory more to recall the content, to then apply/evaluate etc?

I see my classes once a week so it was two weeks since they’d done the poster. None of them said ‘I don’t remember doing this. I don’t remember what it is”

What might be the optimum time to leave between first looking at the topic/piece of work and then revisiting it?

At which point will they say “We did this ages ago, I can’t remember what it was”? ( if ever?)

In both my examples today, students had to use higher order thinking skills than in the original task relating to the knowledge. They had to apply the mark scheme in the peer marking and in the poster they had to evaluate by giving their opinion and justifying it.

Would this type of planning be more effective if in the revisit, higher level skills are used?

What if we planned to regularly (more than twice) use the same piece of work/topic? 

When would it become ‘boring’ or ‘overused’?

Does interweaving of topics help with memory?

Today was just chance, but I might trial this kind of planning to see if it has an impact. The only problem is, how to measure it’s impact?



2 thoughts on “Planning fragmented lessons to enhance memory

  1. Pingback: And the results are in….. Reflections on two years of GCSE | missdcoxblog

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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