What if your struggling students actually managed to write all the notes quickly and remembered the main idea of your lesson? What if students re-read their notes when it was time to study? What if they were able to explain concepts simply without misconceptions!
The rule of 7 is simple. Seven words, steps or points are the maximum for optimal memory retention. That means, quick definitions of vocabulary words need to have 7 words or less. Wilfong (2012) states that truncated definitions should be limited to 3-5 words.
Here’s the challenge…
Choose one lesson this week and apply the Rule of Seven.
Here are some steps to follow.
- Read and (if possible) re-write the lesson goal so it has 7 words or less. When doing this, consider the main idea of your lesson and what you want your students to remember next lesson.
- Review the learning activities that you have planned. How long will each activity last? 5-7 minutes of instructional time (that’s teacher talk) also applies. If you are planning to chalk and talk for 15 minutes you need to rethink how you are going to sequence the lesson. Split that 15 minutes into three 5 minute blocks or five 3 minute blocks or don’t divide it evenly at all.
- Last, but not least, review how much writing you are expecting your students to do. If you are asking students to copy notes in their books, keep it to 7 or less dot points. That doesn’t mean that each dot point can be a paragraph! If asking your students to write their own summary of the lesson, limit them to 7 words or less. It will challenge them.
There it is. The rule of 7 challenge. It is hard, but you can do it. I know you can. I would love to hear how you go. Let us know in the comments. How does this rule change how you plan? What happens in the classroom when you plan your lessons this way? Is it worth the extra effort? Is it easy or difficult for you? How do you make this challenge work for you and your students?
I can’t wait to hear from you!