You always wonder when a new idea is just another gimmick, for the sake of novelty, or whether it really does deepen and improve the quality of pupils’ learning. As with all things, the intention behind knowledge organisers was very worthy and there are some great example out there. Unfortunately too many that we see are simply fact sheets packed with information but serving what purpose. Are they a proxy for learning? Is it assumed that the mere possession of them will mean that pupils know their contents?

To be truly useful they need to be as interactive as possible so that pupils see the need to USE them. Pupils will need to refer quite frequently to the timeline and often to a map. Having the keywords in alphabetical order with simple definitions is also key. I favour having the key enquiries that pupils are undertaking listed, as well as the ‘top takeaways’- the main learning points pupils need to have mastered by the end of the topic. This is a far cry from many knowledge organisers which simply list name of Greek Gods or Victorian inventions.

There is nothing sacrosanct about what KOs need to contain but one thing I’m sure of and that is YOU need to know how YOUR pupils will USE them. Simply copying other schools’ versions certainly saves time but can you be sure they are aimed at the same age group as your pupils when they study the topic and will their prior learning be the same. These are important considerations.

As always, we’d appreciate your feedback on how useful they were and how they could be improved. After all, no plan survives its first encounter with ‘the enemy’!

3 queens knowledge organiser
When three queens ruled knowledge organiser – KS1

In this topic you are going to find out about three of the most famous queens that each ruled this…

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seaside knowledge organiser
Seaside knowledge organiser – KS1

You are learning about this topic to help you to understand how different life was over the last 100 years….

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Columbus knowledge organiser – KS1

Columbus is a world-famous navigator and explorer whose daring voyages in search of the Indies led to the opening of…

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scott knowledge organiser
Scott of the Antarctic knowledge organiser – KS1

You are learning about Scott as he was one of Britain’s most famous explorers. Perhaps you are studying other explorers…

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grace darling knowledge organiser
Grace Darling knowledge organiser – KS1

You are learning about Grace Darling because at a young age she carried out a brave rescue and saved 9…

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mary seacole knowledge organiser
Mary Seacole knowledge organiser – KS1

Mary was a remarkable lady best remembered for her work during the Crimean war (1853-1856) where she helped injured soldiers,…

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wright brothers knowledge organiser
Wright brothers knowledge organiser – KS1

For centuries, man had dreamed of flying like birds. By the end of the 19th century, men could rise into…

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moon landing
Moon landing knowledge organiser – KS1

This event captured the attention of the whole world with hundreds of millions, perhaps 1 in every 5 people, watching…

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titanic knowledge organiser
Sinking of the Titainic knowledge organiser – KS1

In this topic you are going to find out about the most famous ship, at the time the biggest ever…

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florence nightingale knowledge organiser
Florence Nightingale Knowledge Organiser – KS1

Florence Nightingale Knowledge Organiser – In their study of Florence Nightingale, often compared to the lesser-known Mary Seacole, pupils learn…

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great fire knowledge organiser
Great Fire of London knowledge organiser – KS1

The Great Fire of 1666 is an event that most people know about today not least because it changed the…

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