‘knowledge becomes ‘sticky’ – the more you know, the more you learn’
Sean Harford Ofsted
Knowledge (and skills) progression are integral to a coherent curriculum. Knowledge organisers are key to this. They are the tools to help children gain, retain and build knowledge and skills.
What is a knowledge organiser?
A knowledge organiser is a document, usually one side of A4, that contains key facts and information that children need to have a basic knowledge and understanding of a topic or unit of work. The contents of a knowledge organiser are subject and year group dependent. The information is broken down into easily digestible chunks. Therefore, knowledge organisers provide a coherent and sequenced curriculum that is mapped out over the years. This allows new knowledge to ‘stick’ to prior knowledge. The expectation for what should be learnt, and in what year group, is clear to pupils, teachers, leaders and parents.
How are they used in the classroom?
A planning tool:
A knowledge organiser can be used as a planning tool, setting out all of the core, foundational facts that must be learnt to understand and master a particular topic or unit of work.
An assessment tool:
It is also a useful assessment tool, allowing the teacher throughout the unit of work to quickly check that pupils are learning exactly what they hoped they would.
A retrieval tool:
Knowledge organisers can be used as a quizzing tool, helping pupils to recall at lightning speed the key information needed to make sense of a topic.
How can they be used at home?
Teachers can use knowledge organisers to set homework tasks.
Parents can use knowledge organisers as a guided reading text. Read it with your child and check they understand it.
Use them as a vocabulary and spelling tool. Can your child explain the meaning of the different words and spell them?
Make links to prior knowledge organisers. Explore with your child how their knowledge is growing, how it links to and builds on prior knowledge.
On a regular basis, encourage your child to tell you as much information as they can remember from a knowledge organiser, if they are able encourage them to write it down.