I have decided to start a regular feature on Wednesdays during term time, dealing with a particular teaching strategy that has worked well/has been suggested to me. We usually share good practice in our department meetings on a Wednesday also if I get any good ideas from these I will let you know!
I discovered memrise.com at a recent OCR GCSE Latin inset day. These days are always brilliant. Memrise is run by a ‘memory grandmaster’ who has appeared in the Guardian and the Sunday Times with his fantastic memory techniques.
You start by selecting the language you want to learn – only vocabulary at the moment, no grammar. They have both Latin and Classical Greek. In each language there are a number of courses you can follow, AS and GCSE vocab lists feature in each language.
The theory is that you treat words as ‘plants’, and you ‘grow’ them by doing various exercises to try and memorise the words. When you first start, they also flash up the meanings of the words with different mnemonics submitted by users (you can rate these in case you think they’re terrible!).
Your ‘plants’ start off in the ‘greenhouse’ where you can ‘grow’ them or ‘plant’ more (ie add more words to your vocabulary). If you get something wrong, the ‘growing’ time increases. Once fully ‘grown’, they ‘harvest’ and get moved to the ‘garden’ where they still need ‘watering’…hopefully you’re getting the hang of this analogy by now…
Eventually you will get to through all the words on a particular vocabulary list. I don’t know how long that takes with regular use but they do email you (which you can change if you get fed up!) to remind you to water/grow/plant etc.
Last week I made my Year 10 set all sign up for an account – I had told them about the site in the previous lesson and two had already signed up! They can sign up with their school email address or a private one if they are comfortable with that. A great idea, an awesome analogy and hopefully something you could use with your pupils.
Let me know how you get on! I’m going to see that set tomorrow so will let you know how they’ve been doing with the website.
Any questions about the site, drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below!