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Automatic Recall of Core Information


Mathematics ELA: Reading All Ages Strategy


Working Memory Verbal Reasoning Verbal Memory Abstract Reasoning Processing Speed Visual Memory

Automatic Recall of Core Information

If your student has knowledge gaps in foundational skills such as math facts, formulas, sight words, or subject-specific vocabulary

Instruction And Practice

  1. Objective: Students will master core information (math facts, formulas, sight words, vocabulary), which will provide students with a strong foundation for learning, freeing up mental energy for more complex problem solving.
  2. Identify core information within academic topics and make sure the student has full automaticity, including math facts, formulas, sight words, key dates in history, and subject-specific vocabulary. Even students with strong reasoning skills need automaticity with core information to work efficiently.
  3. If a student struggles in a subject, consider having her memorize additional core information to make complex problem solving tasks easier.
  4. Focus practice on any knowledge gaps (e.g. 8's only in multiplication) or 1 step in a multi-step process (e.g. re-grouping in multiplication).
  5. Provide practice several times a week until the skill is mastered. Spaced repetition is key to long-term retention. Flashcards or fun games and apps are good options. Chart progress to identify gaps and show progress over time. Mastery charts can be a confidence booster for some students and discouraging for others, so be sensitive to student needs.
  6. After the student has mastered the information, find ways to aid retention by reviewing the material often and providing opportunities for students to revisit and solve previously learned material.
  7. If a student is reluctant, help them understand why mastering core information is so important. Providing purpose and context will help motivate them.
  8. Teachers Notes: Avoid timed tests. Consider extrinsic motivators for elementary students. While extrinsic rewards have limited (or negative value) beyond elementary school, they can help young children master essential skills when they are discouraged, or lack interest or motivation.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

According to research (Dunlosky et al., 2013), if students do not remember core ideas, facts, or concepts, applying them may prove difficult if not impossible. Having core information at one's fingertips reduces the load on working memory so students can engage in higher order reasoning tasks. While students do not need to memorize a lot of information, there is certain core information that all students should know without relying on a calculator, dictionary or spell check. Automaticity can be especially important for students who struggle with working memory, processing speed or critical reasoning.

Best-suited for students with weaker: Attention, Inhibition, Long-term Memory, Short-Term Memory, Processing Speed, Visual Processing (Source: Digital Promise Learner Variability Project)