storyboard sample

Increasing Student Retention

If you’re as interested in learning as I am, I’m sure you have wondered about student retention.  

Donald Clark wrote an excellent article on spaced practice as a prime method to increase retention anywhere from 200-700%.

I’d like to further the list with 3 more ways to increase student retention as well as a giving you a practical activity for the upper primary and middle years.

The 3 ways to increase retention are:

  • Storyboards
  • Talk and share
  • The Y chart review

Here is a 5 step method of using these items in a structured way to increase retention around a core subject:

  1. Storyboard – Using symbols, color, images and words, students record their insights, learning and ideas from the lesson.

    This is a 15 Years olds notes from a session I did on changing habits and listening

  2. Talk and Share – Debrief the lesson with paired or triad share.  Have each partner share their storyboard and add one thing to their board from their partner’s insights and ideas.
  3. Y Review – Within 24-48 hours have students work in teams on a piece of butcher paper.  Ask them to make a Y chart with ideas, insights and learning in each of the different areas. Debrief with full room share.
  4. Placemat Team – 52-72 hours later have students work in teams to do a placemat activity review on butcher paper.  The four areas might be: ideas, insights, learning, link to other learning.
  5. Weekly Popper – At the end of the week throw a ‘popper’ or pop quiz without the word ‘quiz’.  Hand out blank storyboards and ask students to fill in the nine boxes with nine ideas, insights, learning, links to other learning, and other items of choice.

Here are some sample Y Charts and Placemats that go along with these activities.


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