Megan Smith, an assistant Professor at Rhode Island College and a cognitive psychology expert, offers four tips for teachers to space out materials over time, which will help students learn more. Fortunately, EMC’s Passport has a variety of tools to help both students and teachers spread out practice materials over time.

Smith’s first suggestion is to help students plan out a study schedule. One way teachers can do this with Passport is that they can choose a start and end time for when students can complete an assignment. Many of us teachers like to plan ahead, especially if we are using a backwards design model. As a result, we may know the dozens of activities we are going to complete with our students over the course of a unit. By setting a start date for these activities, students can complete them when the teacher decides is the appropriate time during the course of the unit instead of feeling overwhelmed by seeing so many activities posted all at once at the start of the unit.

The second suggestion is to revisit old topics in class.  Not only are EMC’s language programs designed to scaffold and spiral to build on previous learning, but teachers can give students access to previous levels of our book series, so that if students in levels 2, 3, or 4 need review on a previous topic, even from a previous year, they have access to those materials!

Smith also suggests giving frequent low stakes quizzes.  All of the units in EMC’s language programs are divided into smaller lessons to allow for smaller, more focused instruction. With Passport, students have access to a wide variety of activities that range from cloze passages and multiple choice to more open-ended speaking and writing activities. Teachers are able set the number of attempts students can make before they see the answer key all the while providing feedback on the student’s answers.  Teachers can also set if the activity will be graded or simply practice, which lowers the stakes and stress level for students doing the activities.

Finally, Smith suggests giving quality homework. Besides assigning homework in the eBooks, teachers can assign questions in Flipgrid, which allows students to post video recordings and allows them to interact and collaborate with their classmates, or Avenue, which allows teachers to create multimedia performance-based language tasks.  Teachers can also assign an activity from iCulture, an immersive language experience that exposes students to authentic news articles, videos, and songs.

Students Learn More when Spacing Out Materials in Class

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