Friday, 8 May 2009

Plenaries: 5-4-3-2-1

Consolidating what students learn is key for recalingl information in future lessons. On Fridays I also like to do a 'whole week' recap. We can then walk away feeling smug about how much we achieved.
A simple method to aid recap is 5-4-3-2-1. Thankfully it requires no preparation so it can be planned or you can use it when you have an extra 10 minutes to fill at the end of a lesson.

How does it work?
First, I ask students to draw a triangle and split it into 5 parts with lines across -- a bit like Maslow's hierarchy. I then ask for 5 somethings in the bottom box, 4 in the next one up, then 3 and so on.

For example, an end of the week reflection could use:
* 5 keywords
* 4 theorists
* 3 things you learned that you didn't know before
* 2 questions you still have on this topic
* 1 picture representing how confident you feel about this topic

Why does it work?
It's clear, students like having a fixed number of items to complete, it appeals to all different types of learners and it is surprisingly effective for recall.

Will it take a long time?
A 5-parter like this can take a while, maybe 20 minutes for younger groups. For a super quick version try a 3-part triangle and ask for keywords, things learned and a picture. It has the same recall effect and helps give the class something specific and measurable to focus on in the last 5 minutes of class.

It is particularly good for Friday afternoons!