To do this I created a spreadsheet!
Spacing Concepts, Facts and Skills
This year I have started trying something new with my IB class to promote their retention of key facts, concepts and skills. I have previously blogged about using the Last Lesson, Last Week, Last Unit, Further Back starters but having had our teaching time reduced I now struggle to feel these are a worthwhile use of time every lesson, and instead have moved to weekly quizzes made up of past exam questions. They get the same number of questions but I mark them and we 'waste' less lesson time in transitions.
But I still wanted to do some daily recall (it is a Rosenshine Principle after all!) and with this particular class was a little worried about their knowledge and fluency of key terms and basic skills. I decided to keep a track of the new vocabulary we meet in class, along with key facts and any simple key skills. That is, the things I want them to be fluent in doing.
On top of this, I wanted a more systematic way to review these things keeping the spacing effect in mind.
To do this I created a spreadsheet!
I input the concept/fact/skill into the first sheet and it automatically copies across into the Review Timeline sheet. Then I enter a 1 in the cell that matches when I first taught the concept to students. So in the first lesson of the first week I taught them the concept Gradient and how to find a gradient (The ones before were taught in the taster sessions last year).
The sheet then automatically populates the rest of the row with when to do the next review. So the following lesson is a 2 which is the second review. After three more lessons, the 3 tells me when to do the next review. A larger gap appears before the 4th, then 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th review sessions. We teach the course over six 9 week bimesters, with a final bimester of revision before the exams, so I have set it up for those 6 bimesters. Not all topics are going to get the full 9 reviews, but for gradient the final review occurs in Week 8 of the fifth bimester at which point there is a full 9 weeks between each review.
Then for each lesson I look at the lesson we are in (Bimester 1 Week 5 Lesson 2) and look down the column to see which concepts etc I should review.
With the current remote teaching I am assigning these as the starting activity as a Google Form for students to do as we wait for everyone to arrive in the Zoom class. I then check their answers and return it using the Google Forms features. My plan is to also increase the difficulty of the skills questions as the review stage increases.
When we go back to teaching in a classroom (which seems like it may still be a while off for us here), I am thinking about the best way to do this. It doesn't need to be at the start of the lesson.
If you would like to adapt this for your own teaching there is a template version here. There is a template version for having 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 lessons a week. But you might need to adapt the headings for your situation. I suggest only adding extra columns at the end, rather than deleting columns in the middle, as this will mess up the formulas.
Obviously, this could be used to schedule a lot more than key concepts etc. Perhaps you could give it to students to help them schedule their revision. Or to schedule when you will set exam questions. Or anything else. But I have found it a very visual way to see the idea of spacing, and it is also useful to help explain what it should look like to students.
I am a maths teacher looking to share good ideas for use in the classroom, with a current interest in integrating educational research into my practice.