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Engagement and Primacy Recency

Engagement and Primacy Recency

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Published by Linda Cordes
Tips for using the primacy recency effect to engage students. How to make the beginning and end of class sizzle!
Tips for using the primacy recency effect to engage students. How to make the beginning and end of class sizzle!

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Published by: Linda Cordes on Nov 06, 2010
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05/12/2014

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RED HotTeaching Tips
Reflect, Empower, & Do it! Teach on Purpose!
October 17, 2010
Linda the Math Coach
Author, Consultant, Speaker & Coach
Engagement with the Primacy Recency Effect
Begin with a BANG and End with Excitement
You are gonna fall in love with the Primacy Recency Effect this week! When youstart to apply it to every lesson, your students will sit up, take notice, and learn. Imean really learn. And remember. It’s easy to understand, simple to apply, andsoooo… powerful!The Primacy Recency Effect is a combination of two related cognitive biases.The Primacy Effect is the tendency to remember beginning events due to the factthat at the beginning there are less items to be processed at the time and moretime to review and relate them to the rest of the ideas presented. This allows for transferal of information from short term to long term memory.The Recency Effect is the tendency to remember ending events due to the factthey have occurred more recently than other events and have less conflictinginformation to replace the impact they may have created.Together, these two powerful effects can be used to captivate and drive homeimportant messages. You have no doubt experienced the application of thePrimacy Recency Effect in advertising, videos, your favorite songs, motivationalspeeches, etc. In fact, the reason you remember any type of presentation of thought is because it captured and kept your attention by starting off with a bangand ending with excitement.What does this mean for us as teachers?Simply stated, your students will be more likely to remember what occurs at thebeginning and end of your class, so apply this effect to grab attention and keep itup to the bell. Begin and end each lesson with meaningful activity related to your learning objective. Beginnings should excite and intrigue, drawing students intothinking about targeted concepts. Endings should provide closure and/or acompelling reason for further independent investigation or a compelling reason toreturn for the next lesson. You can also think in terms of segmenting your dailylesson into several distinct parts so you can work in multiple beginnings andendings.
 
Now are you ready to fire up and get RED Hot on purpose with this PrimacyRecency Effect? Cool!Let’s REFLECT, EMPOWER, and DO! It’s the RED Hot way!
REFLECT
Examine what’s happening in your classes now. Here are some questions tohelp you get started.How do I begin and end my classes?How many distinct parts do I have to my instruction or lessons?How do I begin and end each part of my lessons?What can I do differently to capitalize on the Primacy Recency Effect?
EMPOWER
Start collecting puzzles, brain teasers, comics, video clips, news paper clips,stories, games, etc. that relate to the major concepts you teach. Keep themorganized in a file where you can easily locate them to use as beginnings tolessons. Some people call these “engagers.”Make another collection of concluding activities that will draw closure to lessons.If you plan with a buddy teacher, combine your efforts. Show this newsletter toother teachers you work with in PD groups. Schedule one session where yousplit up the concepts you will teach and spend time just collecting all theengagers you can find. You’ll discover once you do this, you’ll start seeingengagers everywhere! Students will even start bringing them to you.If it seems too daunting to plan smashing beginnings and endings to everylesson every day, try to do it at the beginning and end of your week. Thenincrease it to more days as you get more comfortable with it.Here’s a major pointer. Avoid beginning or ending with a disciplinary action.Math class should always begin and end with a good feeling about math. (Let’sface it, we have enough resistance as it is. We don’t need to create any on our own!)Are you stuck by required tasks that you “have to do” at the beginning of class?Try to farm it out to a reliable student if you can. If this doesn’t work for you, justmake sure students are doing something meaningful while you do your thing.Then, have a distinct signal that clues students you are ready to begin class andstart off with a bang.
DO
Consider a topic you are currently teaching. Do an internet search for that topic.Find pictures, videos, interesting articles, quotes, etc. Here’s an example of whatI found for “fractions”
 
“Crazy fractions” turned up this site.http://www.ilovemath.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=13&dir=DESC&order=date&limit=10&limitstart=10Now, not only do you have lots of great ideas for fraction games, you have thiscool new website for other ideas!Keep a file on your computer desktop where you keep track of all these coolwebsites and what they are for! I like this better than book marking.Try to find at least 3 engagers to start your lessons next week. Before long your students will be coming to class just waiting for what might come next.Next week, we’ll look at more specific examples.Come to the RED Hot Huddle. We are here every Thursday (NOTICE THECHANGE FROM MONDAY TO THURSDAY!) addressing issues just as this andmany others that come up in the course of a school year.Have aRED Hotweek!!Your Coach,
 Linda
RED Hot Huddle
Every Thursday 8:00pm EST and 7:00pm CSTCall (641) 715 – 3300Access Code 916760#Meet with Linda the Math CoachAnd other RED Hotties like you!
People are askingWhat is this RED Hot Huddle anyway?
It’s a conference call where everyone dials in to the same number. You’llbe asked to enter the access code mentioned up above, and then you’ll jointhe conference. You can just listen in or participate. Usually I start off witha brief overview of the topic for the evening. Sometimes I have a guest“expert” on the line to speak with us. We almost always end up with anopen Q&A session. I’m getting comments each week about the great ideasthat are shared. Join us this week and see for yourself!

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