Retrieval Practice

I recently came across #retrievalpractice on Twitter (as well as some great new follows: @anneagost, @PatriceBain1, @retrievelearnand @87history (thank you, @teachercoachlife). I have loved diving into the research about retrieval practice because I think it is so important to develop ways in which we can help students access prior knowledge, process information, and summarize their learning. The site,, has tons of strategies for this and many can immediately be incorporated into a lesson without any additional prep. Two of my favorites that help students’ metacognition and organization skills are:

  1. Free Recall (brain dump): During a lesson, pause, and ask students to jot down everything they can remember. It can be helpful to do a quick think-pair-share, then simply return back to the lesson.
  2. 2 Things: Similar to free recall, pause your lesson and ask students to jot down 2 things (2 things they learned so far, 2 takeaways, 2 connections you can make about today’s lesson and yesterday’s, etc.). Do this as a think-pair-share to quickly hear and learn from each other before returning back to the lesson.

As I dug deeper in the research and began thinking of specific content, I created some additional materials for teachers to use that are linked below.

Quadratics Retrieval Practice Grid: I created this retrieval grid after seeing an example my Twitter colleague, @anneagost, posted. It asks students to recall knowledge and make connections between the topics of quadratics. I love that retrieval grids incorporate declarative and procedural knowledge as well as spaced practice, ideas Kelly Harmon helped me think though. Thank you to Anne, Kelly, and all my Twitter colleagues who gave me feedback as you helped me analyze the specifics of this one! Click here for the Retrieval Practice Grid below: 

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 1.47.37 PM

Polynomials Brain Dump: After talking with Algebra I teachers about how to help students know when to use certain strategies for factoring trinomials vs. multiplying binomials, I created this brain dump. I know some brain dumps are not as specific, but I wanted to give sample problems as the brain dump to help students think through them to identify vocabulary and strategies needed before starting the math procedures. *The sentence stems and pictures are support, but students can definitely add their own. After doing the brain dump, we will have students share out and then do the practice problem associated with each. Click here for the the Brain Dump below

Screen Shot 2020-02-12 at 2.40.41 PM

Polynomials Venn Diagram: This is a bit different than the retrieval practices I’ve seen, but as I was making the brain dump above, I started thinking about all the connections between factoring, multiplying, and adding polynomials and came up with this. I think this version is a bit trickier than the one above, but could be a really cool way to display and structure students’ thinking. Click here for the Venn diagram below

Screen Shot 2020-02-12 at 9.09.17 AM

Follow me on Twitter or IG and tag me if you do any retrieval practice…I’d love to continue the conversation!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s