What would happen if you were to spend just one period and not even one full period on a recycling task six to eight weeks later after going through a unit of work?
Synaptic connections in your students’ memory would get reinforced and deep learning would occur.
On a metaphoric level, would you say that one coat of fresh paint on a wooden house would last forever? No, you wouldn’t and as a professional master painter, you would need to teach your apprentices to freshen up their house of learning.
Your students may not like the idea initially and that’s why you have to explain the purpose of it to them. It is to protect that what they’ve learnt is not going to fade away and face up the test of time. Memorization happens through repetition.
The recycling phase usually is a variation of the main task or an extension of the task and it has to include the recall of the focus on form and have a meaningful outcome.
Here are three examples for you now.
1) If the end product of your unit is “Find out in the class who did the same activities as you last week-end,” the recycling task can be to listen to recordings of older students doing the same task and ask your students to find out: “Who is the student you have shared the least activities with?”
As you can see, this recycling task is not the same as the main task but it is a variation.
Instead of finding someone in the class who did the same activities as you, it is about finding someone who did the most different activities from you.
2) If the end product of your unit is “Decide on the 5 most important objects for your survival in the Sahara desert and who has the same objects as you in the class,” the recycling task can be to list the 10 things you would want if you were lost in the New Zealand bush! Discussion with a write-pair-share followed by a report to the class.
3) If the end product of your unit is “Who has predicted the closest ending to a movie from watching a trailer,” the recycling task can be for your students in groups to prepare and perform a 2 minute process drama of what they’ve viewed from the movie and act out the main characters in their group.
Hopefully, you should start having an idea of what a recycling task can be by now.
- When you are creating a new unit, include a recycling task to do 6 to 8 weeks later