The Rabbit Hole

I have fallen down a rabbit hole.

I know that there is a saying that goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, meaning that small changes over a long period of time is what makes something great. It is said to impatient people.

I know in my head this is true, but I have recently found several podcasts, blogs, and books about pedagogy and I am beyond anxious to incorporate my new-found knowledge into the classroom.

I had to tell my students what was going on, because my classroom relies on routine and I was about to stomp all over it. I explained that I had been learning about new ways to be a better teacher and that I would appreciate their feedback on the changes I am making.

One such change has been the introduction of “Throwback Thursday” in my Spanish classes. According to Jennifer Gonzalez’s podcast episode and blog post “Retrieval Practice: The Most Powerful Learning Strategy You’re Not Using”
published September 24, 2017, retrieval practice is extremely useful in creating long term knowledge.

On Thursdays, my Spanish classes will have “quizzes” about past vocabulary and grammar. These “quizzes” are in quotations because I am not grading their answers. They get a grade for trying to answer the questions. I only take away points if they leave an answer blank or write, “I don’t know.”

According to Gonzalez, giving students the opportunity to identify gaps in their knowledge (metacognition), and providing quick feedback, students will be more likely to remember the material they learned previously.

So, every Thursday, students have a quiz on GoogleForms where they can check the answers once their quiz is submitted. I’ve only done one so far, but I already see students making better connections to current material.

Unfortunately, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and there’s only so many changes I can make mid-year. It’s been frustrating having to wait because I know that the changes I could make would be beneficial to my students. I want them to have the best instruction I can give them.

Impatiently Yours,
Mrs. White In Middle School

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