Tag Archives: Revision

Knowledge Organisers

Knowledge organisers were developed and adopted by the famous Michaela Community School, whose motto is ‘Knowledge is Power’.  These have recently become very popular and link both to our focus on linear learning and independent learning.  If you run a google search you will find lots of examples for different subject areas.  I have created one, attached, which I am going to try with my Year 11s to support their revision for mock exams.

On their website in their vision they state:

‘…we have, for too long, been teaching skills and neglecting knowledge. In English, we have taught any novel, or any poem, thinking that the thing that is important is the ‘skill’: of reading, of inferring, of analysing. And yet, novel finished, what have the children learnedDaniel Willingham says that memory is ‘the residue of thought.’ The problem with skills-based lessons is that they don’t require thinking about anything you can commit to memory. Nothing is learned because nothing is being remembered. Over years and years of skills-based teaching, children aren’t actually learning anything. They are simply practising some skills in a near vacuum.

We hugely underestimate how vital knowledge is. Skills-teachers across the land cannot work out why their kids cannot improve their inferences, cannot improve their analysis. Why can’t their ideas about the text just be a bit, well, better?

The children who grow up being taught facts and knowledge will thrive in their national exams. They will use all their background knowledge and cultural literacy to deliver deft insights in glorious prose, and sweep up the top grades with ease. The children taught through skills will improve slowly, painfully, and nowhere near fast enough to compete. They will endure two years of teaching to the test and lose any love of learning they might have gleaned in the previous years.

Is there another way? Of course: teach a knowledge-based curriculum from the very start.’

This link describes the knowledge organisers.


Teachers prepare these for particular topics and students go away and learn/self-test this as homework, there is a big emphasis on the testing effect.  This is then tested in lessons via starter activities so that teachers can monitor progress.

Are you already using a similar approach?  Have you tried knowledge organisers?  I’d really like to hear about it if you are, perhaps this is something to discuss at one of our next 15 Minute Forums or the T and L group.  Do you think it is ‘spoonfeeding’?  Do you think it is an approach we should adopt?  Do you think students should be creating their own knowledge organisers?

More information can be found here:




And here in a podcast shared by Steven which is very useful https://soundcloud.com/user-907153766/kirb-your-enthusiasm-for-knowledge-organisers-1

KO Muscular System


This week’s tip is a dingbat created by a fellow PE teacher who works at Flixton (@TedfordDanielle).  I am sure that most people know what a dingbat is but if not it is a visual word puzzle from which a well known phrase or saying has to be identified.  In this case, it is keywords from our GCSE specification.  I am sure this could be used in any subject area as a starter activity.


Revision resources

Attached are some templates that I have prepared for Year 11 back in April that you may be able to adapt for your subject.

Tic Tac Know

A noughts and crosses style activity where students have to link three keywords from a topic together.  Then they will try to think of keywords for another topic with the challenge being where to place them on the grid.

Board rush

I have shared the original version of board rush before which I found extremely effective, see here http://wp.aggs.trafford.sch.uk/teachingandlearning/category/teaching-tips/page/2/

On this version I have written an answer and in pairs students are going to write as many questions that they can think of on post it notes and stick them on the board.  They will get a point per question.

12 Minute Recall

A clock style template which could be adapted for a wide range of things.

1.1 Tic Tac Know

1.1 Board Rush Question Version

1.2 CV System 12 Minute Knowledge Recall

Writer’s palette

This week’s tip has come from the book ‘Make Every Lesson Count’ which is excellent and well worth dipping into.

The writer’s palette is a simple strategy that can be put in place to challenge students to produce better writing.  It can include key terms and definitions which some students tend to omit from their answers, resulting in a loss of marks for AO1.  It could also be used with some anonymised papers.

The authors talk about the re-drafting process and the positive effect it can have, but that it can sometimes become just a tidy version of the original.  They write about ‘layered writing’ which I am sure is not new to most people.  Each layer slowly increases the quality of the written response.

There are English examples shown in the book that can be easily adapted to suit the needs of any subject area.  Students check through their work crossing off the points that they think they have covered.  It provides scaffolding and extension to develop their work.   Following this they redraft their work.