Forget about study guides. Use Retrieval Guides instead.

Do you use study guides in your classroom, where students are presented with key information in outline form and students fill in the blanks during a lesson?

A quick tip from Powerful Teaching co-author, Patrice Bain: turn study guides into Retrieval Guides. No prep and no grading with our free Retrieval Guide Template. Just powerful retrieval practice for successful long-term learning.

P.S. Listen and learn about more strategies from Powerful Teaching at the Cult of Pedagogy.


Turn Study Guides Into Retrieval Guides


Typically, "study guides" are outlines of key concepts created by the teacher and handed out to students to fill in during a lesson or while reading for class. But with a simple twist, turn study guides into powerful Retrieval Guides.

Here's how: In Patrice Bain's classroom, veteran K-12 teacher and co-author of Powerful Teaching, students read from a social studies textbook aloud. Critically, during the read aloud, all pencils are down. After reading a few paragraphs, Patrice pauses her lesson and gives students time to retrieve, filling in the blanks from what they just learned. This is followed by a brief pause or discussion for feedback, and the class moves on.

By switching the timing from filling in a study guide during the read aloud to retrieving after the read aloud, Patrice offers students a no-stakes opportunity and models retrieval practice – without any additional prep or grading. Download our free Retrieval Guide template and comment below to share how it’s going in your classroom.


Featuring Patrice M. Bain, Ed.S.


If you're familiar with the IES Practice Guide, Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning, then you already know veteran K-12 teacher Patrice M. Bain, Ed.S. Patrice was the only classroom teacher on the panel that created the IES Practice Guide. For more than 15 years, she has been actively sharing the science of learning with educators and also sharing her powerful teaching strategies with researchers.

Patrice co-authored Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning and she speaks with educators, students, and parents around the world. In Powerful Teaching, Patrice shares her research-based strategies including Retrieval Guides, Four Steps of Metacognition, and Power Tickets.

As a finalist for Illinois Teacher of the Year and a Fulbright Scholar in Russia, Patrice has been featured in podcasts and popular press, including NOVA and Scientific American. Watch how Patrice sets up her students for success, read how she leads conversations about learning with her students, and follow her on Twitter @PatriceBain1.

At a recent workshop at Carl Sandburg High School near Chicago, Illinois, Patrice modeled Retrieval Guides for teachers. Attendees received a printed Retrieval Guide with blanks and throughout the workshop, Patrice paused, provided question prompts, and gave teachers the opportunity to reflect and retrieve. That’s Powerful Teaching!


Join Our Powerful Teaching Facebook Group


Join our Powerful Teaching Facebook Group! More than 600 educators from around the world are sharing their strategies, insights, and questions about the science of learning on Facebook. Download free templates directly from our Facebook group (including Retrieval Guides) and get exclusive access to announcements about Powerful Teaching.