aka - "The Cheat-Sheet"


Information for Teachers & Parents

🪟What are Knowledge Organisers?

A knowledge organiser (KO) sets out the important, useful and powerful knowledge on a topic on a single page consisting of grids, each with a term and a short explanation, making it clear to the student as to what is essential to learn.

Knowledge organisers can be:

  • teacher generated

  • student generated using a template provided by the teacher

  • created by the student using their own unique / bespoke layout suited to the student's own learning style.

  • constructed as part of a groupwork exercise.

While teachers may provide templates to suit a specific subject, ideally a knowledge organiser should be created by the student to suit his/her learning style.

🎯To be effective, Knowledge Organisers need :

  • purpose (what is the point of a knowledge organiser?)

  • appropriate content (what should be included and how should it be presented?)

  • to have pedagogy (how can knowledge organisers become a practical tool used effectively by teachers and students?).


If Knowledge Organisers are to support learning and retention, subject departments and teachers must be very clear about their purpose and how to use them effectively. If used incorrectly, the Knowledge Organiser is reduced to little more than a list of disassociated facts.


When making decisions about what must be included we have to consider that not everything can be included on an A3 piece of paper.

We must balance the need to use concise space-saving key vocabulary, concepts and definitions while still including meaning enough for it to be useful.

The contents of a knowledge organiser are entirely subject dependent.

There is some information that may be found be found across knowledge organisers in all subjects. This may include:

  • key vocabulary / key words.

  • concepts

  • useful diagrams (as required for the topic)

  • key dates for a subject such as history would clearly also be included

  • key themes

  • important quotes (that demonstrate those themes)

  • key sentences

  • ...

🔅Key Skills

  • Managing Information & Thinking

  • Being literate

🖍️Required Resources

  • A3 sheets or an an opened-out foolscap sheet

  • Templates

  • Students: Multi-coloured pens, pencils, ruler, highlighters

  • and / or Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint or Publisher.

🪟Knowledge Organisers for Formative / Ongoing Assessment

  • Once the most important facts and concepts have been taught, the knowledge organiser can be used as the basis for retrieval practice.

  • In simple terms, retrieval practice involves using a cue – usually a question – to test previously covered material.

Information for Students

📝🖍️Creating your Knowledge Organiser

Use the arrow keys < > left and right to navigate the presentation shown below.

✍️💭What to include in your Knowledge Organiser - Some Suggestions by Subject.

Use the arrow keys < > left and right to navigate the presentation shown below.

✍️💭Using your Knowledge Organiser for Study & Revision

Use the arrow keys < > left and right to navigate the presentation shown below

🧱Further Resources

  • Strengthening the Students’ Toolbox‘. This excellent AFT article summarising Dunlosky et al. large scale research of effective study strategies – see HERE.

  • The Learning Scientists produced a range of very useful resources on ‘Elaboration‘ – see HERE.

  • It is important to probe the findings of cognitive science further to determine their application for the classroom. This article by Dr Alicia Shaw, from the IEE, helpfully analyses the evidence – see HERE.