Knowledge Organisers and Sticky Facts
Knowledge Organisers (KOs)
Throughout the summer of 2021 and beyond, we have been implementing a new ‘Knowledge organiser’ (KO) methodology. They are A4 documents which the teaching teams use as planning tools for their units. They will teach their block of lessons whilst referring to the KO. At the start of any unit, teachers will hold a 'knowledge collection' where children share anything they know about the topic. At the end of the unit of teaching, a knowledge organiser, with blanked sections will be given out for KS2 children to fill in. This will be completed via an open-book assessment and/or collaboratively depending on need.
In KS1, this is competed as a whole class or in small groups. The completed KO is then inserted into topic books and floorbooks (depending on Key Stage), marked and the assessed by the classteacher. Children will be encouraged to re-visit their completed KO throughout the year and beyond in order for key ‘Sticky facts’ and knowledge to be retained. It was a joint decision with staff that we would not give the children their KO at the start of the unit as it would go against our ‘enquiry-led’ focus for lessons and, essentially, give the children the answers, information and facts before they start learning about it.
The benefits of using the KO methodology are linked to brain development and the basis of learning – if we revisit learning on a regular basis in an interesting way, then there is far more probability of information sticking and being retained. Staff will aim to make links between different subject areas in order to strengthen these connections.
Sticky facts are integral to the KO from the start and are then quizzed throughout the course of the half term and beyond. We are at a developmental stage with our Sticky facts with certain teachers trialling the most effective and efficient way of revisiting them in a fun and memorable way. The ultimate aim is for children to remember key facts and information in order for any subsequent knowledge to be built on.
A recent mini pupil-conference with Edward and Amelie from Year 2 highlighted the importance of the KO and the sticky facts – when quizzed about how the Great Fire of London started, how it was put out and other important historical figures from the time, their knowledge was excellent – they recalled that:
“…a spark started the fire at night; this made it spread easily as no one would have noticed as they would’ve been asleep…the wind helped the fire to spread too and also the closeness of the houses didn’t help… the fire-carts were useless and nothing like our engines today…”They also brought in their knowledge of ‘materials’ (see example from the floorbook) from their science unit they had completed in the past term. Perhaps more importantly, they recalled the vast majority of facts, showed passion and a real love for their learning which was a pleasure to see. Participation during these lessons must have been high, with the passion from the teaching team shining through.