Memory Matrix-CAT


Getting information on student understanding takes place throughout the length of the course in many different assessment processes. We all have lessons that we know create confusion or are a little more difficult for students to grasp. I have found that the memory matrix is a good tool to use to help reinforce what the class was focused on. It can be customized to any topic and allows the students to connect information that was presented in a practical manner. By putting a group discussion at the end of the activity it also allows for the students to understand the perspective other students brought to the topic and builds a larger knowledge base. By using this type of CAT I have noticed greater application of more confusing skills inside of my classes.

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Tell me what this “pill” is…………………………….

Introduction to Clinical Practice is the first nursing clinical that students will encounter in either the Practical or Associate Degree Nursing programs.  The setting for this clinical is the long-term care environment and often where students will encounter clients who may take a numerous amount of medications.  Nursing Pharmacology is taught in the first semester as well—–students will start with pharmacology and then move in to clinical once they have some information under their belts.  As instructors, we strive to bring the “classroom into the clinical”!  Last semester, I had the pleasure of taking over a Pharmacology classroom for a colleague while teaching the clinical associated with the pharmacology class.  LIGHTS BULBS WENT OFF! I knew students were struggling with pharmacology in the clinical setting as well as the classroom setting; how could I remedy this?  Well, let me tell you what I did!

While watching “Maleficent”, I decided to get my scrapbooking material out.  I had BRIGHT colored paper, my circle cutters, AND GLITTER GLUE!  Shiny object syndrome was in full affect for me.  I tend to recall things better with color and shininess (is that a word?), so maybe my students would too!  I began cutting multiple circles of many many different bright colors.  I grabbed my marker and started writing medication names on those circles.  Before I knew it, the glitter glue was on those circles as I traced the medication names with the glitter glue and my table was FULL of “pills”.  Once they dried, I punched holes in the top and put a ring through them.  I now had a “wheel of pills”.  So you are probably wondering, “what in the world are you going to do with those things?”  Well, let me tell you………………………………….

I carried this “wheel of pills” in my scrub pockets at clinical.  Randomly throughout clinical, I would pull out the “Wheel of pills”, approach a student and ask them to “pick a pill”.  I would then proceed to ask them to tell me what the medication was and what they know about that medication.  At first, students were panicked.  HOWEVER, eventually, the students started asking me to pull the “Wheel of pills” out and to ask them questions.  Towards the end of clinical near the end of the semester with a Pharmacology FINAL exam looming over them, students would play games with the “Wheel of Pills”.  It was great to see them accept this strategy so readily as was watching them bring that classroom learning into clinical AND clinical learning into the classroom!  It has been a HUGE success and I will for sure continue with it!

Motivating the “I Don’t Care” generation………

Well, I have started my class and it truly is amazing as well as everything that I have imagined!  I now know that in 4th grade when I said I was going to be a mom, a nurse, and a teacher when I grew up, I was right……I had it all figured out at the ripe old age of 10 years!  HAHA!  But, now that I have started teaching, I am posed with new problems that I never knew I would face.  After administering the first test and hearing each and everyone of the students complain about it, I couldn’t help but wonder……what did I do wrong?  I know it wasn’t me; I know the test was good and that the material was covered.  What was new to me was the fact that it appears some students are unmotivated or have the “I don’t care” attitude.  To be honest, this is shocking to me and I am wondering how I can motivate the “I don’t care” generation?  What techniques have any of you used to correct this?  What worked, what didn’t?  I am hoping to find references and answers from you, my colleagues, to help me move forward…………..hope to hear from you soon!