Teachers had given children rough books and/or splitting pages for notes on one side. Children refer back to these while working.
Prior knowledge starters tune children and teachers in.
Success criteria break down instructions and supports children who get stuck or are going off track.
Talk 4 writing eases the cognitive load by using story maps and visual actions – making it easier to remember.
Maths lessons have been broken into parts by one teacher who described, for every maths lesson:
- A hook;
- My turn your turn;
- Team time; and
- On my own
These parts of the lesson meant every child was focused as each part was short and focused. Children were more attentive, engaged and confident to make mistakes. Knowing the structure of the lesson helps their cognitive load.
One school has children run a ‘daily mile’ which has led to better concentration in the next sessions. They are calmer and happier.
“Independently, two Year 3 children started to make their own jottings. One of them explained ‘When I draw diagrams or jot down my thoughts I remember what to do.’ “
Michelle Coleman — Peterhouse C of E Primary Academy
All teachers were showing children examples of good ones during mid lesson learning stops which has made it clearer for them to see what it means to be successful. The co-construction of success criteria has also eased the cognitive load.
They have also adapted PowerPoint teaching material to make them more visual and accessible. This has allowed children to make links and children know where to find information.
Teachers all said learning is now more focused via learning intentions and success criteria so children’s focus is directed. Learning is succinct and they are not overwhelmed by learning intentions that are too wordy or confusing.
“A new child started in P2 (5/6 yrs) and began his time in the play based P1/2 classroom. He was going through the process of an ASD diagnosis based on the challenges he faced in social situations.
“It became apparent quite quickly that the classroom environment was too over stimulating and overwhelming. Due to similar levels and groups across the P1/2 and P3/4 classes in relation to Read Write Inc phonics, he was able to join a class where the lessons were structured around Literacy activities – reading, writing, listening and talking.
“Children spend no longer than 15 minutes in one area, which allowed him the opportunity to stay engaged for short times and be successful in expected tasks. Read Write Inc for phonics teaching means there are short bursts of learning, repetition of activities and application to different areas. Children move around between groups and activities so they do not overwhelm their working memories.
“The quick change over prevents him getting distracted and hurting others (which was an increasing issue before). The partner reading and talking allows him the opportunity to have positive interactions with his peers. The result from all this is that he is seeing success in his learning and is happy in school. His parents and an educational psychologist have also commented on the improvement.”
North Wales 1
All teachers used working walls as a reference of key information as a memory aid and to focus children’s thinking. The walls are added to throughout the week after first going up on a flip chart. The maths working wall shows the methods. Children refer back to help recall previous learning. Notes are also shared with children.
North Wales 2
One school had introduced jotters from Years 1-6 for children to take notes. Children say they like this and being able to refer back to their notes
One teacher used Seesaw to share the PowerPoint slides with the children. Children said they were able to refer back during the task and this has led to higher quality work.
Working walls were used by most teachers, again providing a point of reference for children rather than trying to recall important things such as success criteria, vocabulary, examples of goof ones etc.