What is a knowledge organiser and how do we use it at Bisley?
A knowledge organiser (KO) is a document, usually no more than two sides of A4, that contains key facts and information that children need to have a basic knowledge and understanding of a topic. We will be trialing using them for science, history and geography and they will be created for your child’s particular age. We will also be creating a knowledge organiser for our whole school theme however this will be the same one across the school. Please keep in mind that there maybe more information than the younger children need and that older children will be adding to this outline.
Most knowledge organisers will include the essential facts about the topic, usually laid out in easy-to-digest chunks; key vocabulary or technical terms and their meanings; images such as maps or diagrams; and famous quotations, if relevant.
What a knowledge organiser includes will depend on the subject. For example, a ‘World War Two’ knowledge organiser and a ‘Rivers’ knowledge organiser would both include maps, but the former would also include a timeline, and the latter would need diagrams.
There are several ways that we can use knowledge organisers with children and it will depend on the subject and the children’s age.
Ø We will send the knowledge organiser home with the children at the start of a topic to encourage discussion and research.
Ø We may talk through the knowledge organiser at the beginning of the topic, asking the children what information has sparked their interest, and if they have any questions.
Ø We may use the knowledge organiser to identify knowledge gaps throughout the topic.
Ø It is possible to make links between knowledge organisers to help children understand how their learning connects. For example, we may remind the children of a previous year’s knowledge organiser and compare it with what they know now.
Ø We can use the knowledge organiser as a revision tool at school and home. This is best done as ‘low stakes’ quizzing during or at the end of a topic, rather than a formal test. Do the children know more than is included on the knowledge organiser? Can they add detail to it? This is the ideal scenario, as it means they have deepened their knowledge beyond the baseline outlined on the knowledge organiser.
Ø We will use the knowledge organiser as a handy spelling and vocabulary reminder.
As this is the first year we have used knowledge organisers we will monitor and review the impact of them and would welcome any feedback from children and parents.