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Episode 34: The Primacy-Recency Effect

Description: This week, the Squad answers thought-provoking questions that will help guide the rest of the school year.


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Transcription: Hi, and welcome to episode 34 of season two of Self-Care for Educators. I'm your host, Tina Boogren. Before we jump into today's episode, I want to remind you that we have merch, and the merch is making a lot of us really happy. Oh, my heart just explodes when you send me or share on the Facebook group photos of you wearing your incredible t-shirts or putting your stickers on your water bottles or carrying your tote bags. Oh my gosh. I think it's just creating such a sense of connection and belonging of like, Yup, I see you! We are in this together! And, it's just kind of a, I don't know, like a tangible display of this group. Like ... just the incredible connections, positivity, support that we have built together. I mean, this community continues to blow me away on a daily basis, and I'm just so stinking grateful for you. And so, I just love seeing us just kind of taking pride--The Squad--by kind of sporting our own merchandise. Oh my God. It makes me so happy. And I love, I love that a portion of the proceeds go to creating real change in classrooms using donorschoose.com. So, it's, it's beyond just a sticker, right? There's a bigger purpose here. And, I so remember that we've got posted everywhere our link, that you can go straight to the site to check it out. It's through Tee Public. And, you're going to find that Bit.ly site. We're going to post it in the Show Notes. So, go get yourself a treat. Now to today's episode.


So, this week I want to talk about something called the primacy-recency effect. So, what we know about the primacy-recency effect is it's basically information that's presented at the beginning of something and at the end of something or what we retain more than what's in the middle. So, primacy-recency--primacy being the beginning, recency being the end. So, we tend to remember the beginning and the end of things. We think about this often in classrooms, right? This is why we talk about chunking, because we want to create kind of just these many, many lessons, so that students get multiple opportunities for that primacy-recency within one class period. We also think about primacy-recency in terms of, oftentimes they think of it like watching a movie. We remember how a movie starts, remember how it ends, and the middle is a little blurry. Same thing with a book. Right? Well, I've been thinking a lot about the idea of primacy-recency in terms of the school year, particularly this school year. Whew.


When we think about, as we are getting closer to the end of the school year, this is the legacy we're leaving. We talked about this last year, too, the importance of legacy any year, but in particular, in these ... in these ... what were ... We will forever classify as these COVID years. And, when students look back on this year, mostly, and when we look back on this year, most likely we're going to remember the start of the school year, especially this school year, because remember it was nuts. We thought things were going to start out kinda okay, and then everything fell apart right at the start of the school year. So, I have no doubt you will remember you have locked in the kind of, oh, really difficult started this school. And then, what's going to happen is we're going to remember the end as well.


See if this holds true for you as you think about last year, right? Like, Ooh, I feel like this is just kind of a universal thing. And so, in, in holding true to this theory of primacy-recency, I guess I want to talk about it this week--because I want us to be really thoughtful about how we end this school year, for ourselves, for our students--how do we want students to look back and remember this year? Because, we're building it literally in the moment right now. And, this is hard, you guys, because you're tired. God, you're so tired. Right? You're just, you are hanging on by your fingernails to get through this year. Like, well, I know ... Here's the deal like, oh, we're putting our hands on your back, and we are holding you up to keep going and really be explicit in how you approach these last few weeks. Don't stop now. Don't stop now. I know that temptation is like, Oh my God, we're just going to watch Disney movies for the next three weeks. But, the truth of the matter is we know that's actually miserable. Yeah, it just never goes well. Right?


Instead, I want to take a nice deep breath. I want you to revisit your, your purpose and your why. And, I want you to think about what is it that you want students to remember about this year, and then create that in these last few weeks. How do you want them to feel? What are the big lessons that you want them to hold on to? What are you hoping for in terms of your sense of community in your classroom? Think through very specific, very specifically ... Like, put yourself in your student's shoes and picture them, you know, go into the future 10 years from now where they're looking back on their seventh grade year or their third grade year or whatever it is that you teach and what is it, what are like the top three to five things that you want them to say that they remember about the year? What is it you want them to remember about it? Because, they're going to remember you for sure. Right? When we look back and think about our years in school, we always think about the teacher. At least I do, right? Like, Oh, third grade I had so-and-so. Fifth grade I had so-and-so. Right? So you're, you're going to be part of that memory.


And, what is it that you hope that they remember about you? What is it you hope that they remember about those big content pieces that they remember learning? What is it that you want them to remember about how they feel? When they were with you or they were in this particular grade at this school, and I want you to get real specific, and I want you to dig in, and I want you to create this. Remember primacy-recency effect. You're creating the legacy. They're going to remember this, right? Oh, This is important. And, in fact, we're going to kind of do a follow-up to this next week, but I think I'm going to pause right here. And, I think that that's enough to think about. I want you to just dig into that idea of primacy-recency. Primacy--that at the start of the school year. You created a legacy there, and you bang up job of doing that. So proud of you. You're still here. You're still in it now. Let's think about the end, the end. Oh, what is it that you want students to hold onto and remember? And, think about and reflect upon how we're going to end this school. Gosh, you are such a bad-ass squad. You're going to, oh, you're going to do amazing things. You were going to anyway. And now, boom, this is like that extra nudge get after it. So stinking proud.


As always a huge thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you to Brooke for making this happen. Thank you. Solution Tree and Marzano Resources for all the support for all, all of us, all of the educators doing this work and to you, my bad-ass Self-Care Squad. Have an amazing week. Treat yourselves to some new merge. That'll give you the little nudge as we move into these final weeks of the school year. I'm so stinking proud of you have an amazing week.

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