Thursday, 19 September 2019


Has spaced repetition helped my boys master vocabulary and improve writing skills? I am convinced, both in the way my boys react positively to writing as well as the results that are coming from the tests, that it has made a significant impact.
Spaced repetition has become a part of my teaching strategy across the curriculum as students understand content better if it repeated a few times, rather than just being exposed to it once. I know teachers try their best to make learning interesting, but if that content is not repeated in different ways, there is less chances that it might be understood and remembered.

Sunday, 15 September 2019


I recorded and analysed the attitude of my students towards writing from the easTTle writing test. Certainly I could tell that there was a huge improvement, but was there true evidence of that?

I also recorded and analysed the writing scores from the easTTle writing tests over the past 3 terms and this is what I found.

I was really pleased that the entire class showed a greater level of excitement when  spaced repetition was used.
The level of engagement in the lesson was much better.
The ability of the students to set learning goals based on where they are at, as compared to where they should be with their learning was much better. They could all tell you the curriculum level they should be at, at the end of the year for Y5/6, and they could also tell you where they are at present.
Having them graph their results over the past 3 terms made it clear as to where they are, and how far off they are from the curriculum level they should be at.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

How would I monitor shifts in my students' learning?

My inquiry focus was to find out if spaced repetition of vocabulary building led to improved outcomes for boys' writing.

I will use the following to monitor shifts :

  • Record and analyse students' writing data (easTTle)
  • Record and analyse students' spelling data ( Spelling list no. 1-9)
  • Record and analyse students'  attitude towards writing (easTTle writing  attitude)
  • Record and analyse students vocabulary knowledge through multiple choice questions
On a lesson by lesson basis, I will closely monitor:
  • the level of excitement among students when  spaced repetition is used
  • the level of engagement in the lesson
  • the ability of the students to set learning goals based on where they are at, as compared to where they should be with their learning


It's time to celebrate the success in writing my boys achieved over the past 2 terms, but the cherry on top for me was to celebrate the fact that one of my students(HP) who hated writing in March,(someone who refused to write his e-asTTle test in March in my class , and who had to do it under the guidance of the team leader) actually enjoys it now. He made progress up 2 levels in his writing from 2B in March to 3B in July. HP loves writing sentences using vocabulary words. There were days HP would refuse to go out for a soccer game( something he loves doing) just to complete writing his sentences. Another thing he loves doing is writing short paragraphs rather than long stories. By listening to my students , I have been flexible in allowing them to do work on paragraphs at a time and finally put them together. It has worked and it's such a great success story.


I was blown away at the huge progress in writing over the previous terms. It was something I could feel as pupils were happier to write, but to see the shift in writing levels, this was just so rewarding. The use of rich vocabulary( many from the list we worked on) was truly evident in the recounts they had written. 3 boys went up 1 level, another 3 boys went up 2 levels and finally 1 boy went up 4 levels. Full credit to the change in my teaching towards a spaced repetition method focusing on vocabulary building. I will wait anxiously to compare the improvement in vocabulary from the first test in March with the last one in November. Watch this space.


I looked at the data from my PAT vocabulary tests and seeing that my students didn't do well, I thought that I should look at the PAT reports and use the list of words from the test as a starting point.

I know that my focus is vocabulary, but now I am going to use spaced repetition to get my students successfully knowing what those words mean.

I created large flash cards with the words, and had sentences on another card. We would work each day with 5 words, making sure students could easily match word with meaning. I would then put them up on the classroom wall,(large enough for students to read) so that they has access to those words whenever they wanted to. Before introducing the new words, we would go over the previous day's words, and with smiles on faces, students would be thrilled to participate.

I worked through the Y5 vocab list first.

Once I was happy that my students showed confidence in the y5 list, I did the same with the Y6 list.

Furthermore, students had access to images and vocabulary prior to writing on topics as shown below.

Monday, 29 July 2019


 Using Spaced repetition with ESL students
by Steven Williams
How my approach to teaching vocab has evolved
Since coming to Spain two years ago (for my first non-summer school teaching job) my thinking about how we teach and learn vocab has been heavily influenced by two main sources. The first was Catherine Morley’s great talk ‘Bags of fun with vocabulary’ at the TESOL Spain conference in Seville last year, after which I introduced (and became entirely evangelic about) vocabulary bags into several of my classes. These are basically a way to ensure vocab is constantly revised in class, rather than consigned to a vocab notebook and left to rust, and also a great way to cut down on preparation time for warmers!  
by Steven Williams
I have also spoken to Dr. Rae Sialata, my former TESSOL lecturer and when I mentioned to her that I was considering using spaced repetition in my class, she was thrilled and sent me some more information. This being one of the important TESSOL principles, can be used in all teaching areas. She also referred me to Paul Nation who talks about spaced repetition in vocabulary acquisition.