Here's how to incorporate one minute of retrieval practice on day one of class

How can we boost learning, even on the first day of class?

School's back and we know there's a lot to accomplish in the first hour, first day, and first week of class: building relationships, developing a class culture, or maybe just making sure the coffee pot's full.

With all that going on, here's how to fit just one minute of retrieval into the first day of class. No planning and no grading – just learning. 

One Minute of Retrieval for Day One

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Here are three retrieval strategies you can use on the first day of class – in one minute or less.

  1. Warm Ups: Ice breakers are okay, but Retrieval Warm Ups are better. Students retrieve their own knowledge and experiences with fun prompts that spark a one minute conversation or class vote. Download our list of Retrieval Warm Ups, which are great for K-12, higher ed, and even fellow faculty over coffee (can you tell we like coffee?).

  2. Two Things: Ask students to retrieve and write down two things from a prior course, two things they learned this summer, or two things they already know about the topics you'll cover in class.

  3. Brain dumps: In one minute, have students write down everything they can retrieve or remember about a specific topic. Even though it's the first day of class, students can write about a prior or upcoming topic. For example, if students are in a World History course, ask them to write down everything they already know about Ancient China.

Discussion following these activities provides feedback, which is important for learning, but scientists have also demonstrated that retrieval improves learning – even for related information that wasn't yet retrieved. So jump in and engage students in retrieval practice on day one, in one minute or less.