The Wonderful Power of “Name One Thing You Learned Today”

Recently, I have been re-reminded of the power of ending classes with a 5-10 minute discussion where each student names one thing they learned during the lesson that day. The only rule is they can’t name something another student has already mentioned.

Rather than doing this as a written quiz/writing assignment, I like to do this orally and make a list on the board. This approach helps remove pressure and allows the student to learn even more by hearing what really stood out to other students, too. After each student has gone at least once, we discuss why the things they learned are important, why they learned these things now, and/or as/if needed, we add other important items to the list.

I find again and again, that given a bit of agency and authority, students come up with really powerful and important understandings. 

Today in Texas History I showed the first part of the excellent documentary Remember The Alamo. While this is a History Channel production, the film is excellent. The film is not actually about the Alamo per se but the road to the Alamo specifically and Revolutionary Texas generally and the resulting historical memories. 

Below is the list of items students came up with at the end of class today in regard to “name one thing you learned today.” In addition to the advantages named above, such a list and discussion relieves students of trying to take as extremely detailed notes, per se, while seeing the film. Sometimes we get so involved in taking notes, we miss more than we write.