We have been busy creating a range of 'Knowledge Organisers' for Key Stage Two. However, many teachers have contacted with us recently because they are not sure how best to use them in class. So, in true knowledge organiser fashion, and with the help of @gazdenman, we've created a simple 'How to' guide in the form of... (wait for it)... a knowledge organiser!
Many teachers are using the KO to focus on the core knowledge that they would like children to learn for each topic. We have produced a range of KOs for science, geography, history and music. Look at our samples here. Curriculum design and priorities for each year group are important in order to allow each KO to be studied one or two at a time over the course of a half term.
We have also developed fiction book knowledge organisers but these are used very differently as support tools for 'book talk' rather than information to be learned off-by-heart. Our blog on using these can be read here: https://www.mracdpresent.com/post/2019/04/07/book-knowledge-organisers
It is also important to recognise that using a KO in class is not a silver bullet for the difficulties a knowledge-based curriculum has brought about. It might help children learn the core knowledge in order to make further links and deepen their understanding of a topic, but without the deeper discussions in class, the enrichment, the exploration and the broader learning about humanity and the world, it cannot lead to a necessarily richer curriculum. It is however, a valuable starting point for planning and for developing a curriculum.
There is also no absolute right or wrong way of using a KO but to get the best out of them, it is important to ensure children have plenty of opportunities read, learn and retrieve the information. This can be done in a variety of ways from mini-quizzing, filling in blanked sections or memory games. There are endless ways to help children learn the information but returning to it regularly is key.
Rather than repeat what has already been written about knowledge organisers, here are some great blogs to get you started:
Chartered College of Teaching - https://impact.chartered.college/article/organising-knowledge-purpose-pedagogy-knowledge-organisers/
Third Space Learning - https://thirdspacelearning.com/blog/knowledge-organisers/
This is how we use them. Feel free to share what you do as we will be updating and amending this document as we go. Some of you might find that it serves as a useful starting point or perhaps something to share with colleagues.