Designed Learning & Designing Learning

Replications & Tessellations: Fun, learning & repetition! Part 2 of 5

by Dr Gail Brown | February 21, 2022
Replications & Tessellations:  Fun, learning & repetition! Part 2 of 5

This post continues on about the importance of repetition and practice, with some specific applications that are fun and motivating for you, as the teacher or parent, and your students or children.

Repetition is part of life, this is in the structures in our day - timetables, routines that we all do automatically, without thinking.

In fact, both teachers and students that I’ve been lucky enough to work with have loved many of Escher’s Tessellations. YOu can check out this short, 2 minute Youtube about Escher's work if you want? They are intricate and repetitive and also such fun to colour, create and just view them and how the images intertwine. A great learning activity about the importance of repetition and connection.

Often teachers have said to me things like: “I’ve taught that yesterday”; “It’s boring to teach it again, my students will turn off” and be “off with the pixies”. Well, in fact, some students might be – but MOST students will be keen to re-complete something, especially if they think they will be successful – so students actually enjoy repetition. More importantly, they benefit from repetition in so may ways.

Repetition is a part of deliberate practice, and an important stage in learning. We all learn everything the same way – we become accurate initially, then fluent, then we can transfer and generalize what we’ve learned. Repetition moves our learning from accurate to fluent – then automatic.

Teachers have commented on Repeated Reading, saying exactly that: “It’s boring to read the same text over and over.” Well, use a text they CAN read independently, add a partner giving them praise for their reading and a graph that provides concrete evidence of daily improvements – and you have a “recipe for reading success” using repetition.

I’ve been workshopping Repeated Reading for more than 20 years, and happy to come to your school and work with you in your classroom – or model this in a whole staff workshop. I’ve modelled this in an auditorium with 200 teachers – so, if I can do that, you can be successful in your classroom with your students. You just have to put in some time in preparation and assessment, and it’s a winning strategy. It’s not just the improvements in the graph – it’s the confidence and motivation that students get from that improvement. 

There are some “tricks of the trade” with Repeated Reading, which are part of my workshop, and difficult to explain in any manual. Repetitive BLAST From the past, again repeating a link to a post last year about Repeated Reading, supported by Tom Sherrington.

This repeated practice provides a foundation for automaticity – which means we have more “brain space” to learn more each day. Student have more capacity (brain space) for comprehension, when their decoding is so fluent that it’s automatic.

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