Tara, Science in the City: I try to use a mixture of strategies to keep students engaged. There are a lot of students who think they are already done, give up, or don’t really know how to study. So…..I try to use the time in class to teach some study skills as well. I like to do stations that are a mixture of practice questions, vocabulary, study skills (practice using flashcards with a partner), etc. I also like to do this because they will have some success, and see progress, even if they aren’t always seeing that success on standardized test scores.
If we are reviewing for several days, I will mix in some other strategies like heterogeneous groupings to do practice questions, and review games.
Kimberly, OC Beach Teacher:Reviewing for assessments can be tedious, so I try to make it engaging whenever possible. For instance, in my English class we are using the Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary workshop. We complete a 20 word unit in a two-week time span. Typically, I give the post-assessment on the second Friday, so I spend part of the preceding Thursday reviewing for the vocabulary test. Sometimes we play vocabulary bingo. It’s easy because I simply give the students blank bingo boards, and they write the words randomly in the spaces. Then I read definitions, synonyms, and antonyms, and students mark the appropriate spaces. Other times I play vocabulary baseball. I post the bases around the classroom, and divide the students into two teams. Next I act as the “pitcher” and deliver the vocabulary words, which the students define, or provide synonyms/antonyms, or use correctly in sentences. No matter the game, I always try to make reviewing a fun activity!
Clair, High School English on a Shoestring Budget: I like to use review games. I bought a classroom set of 8×10 size whiteboards (specially for education so they’re durable!). I can do any type of question type with these boards– I’ve done grammar review where I display a sentence they either correct it or decide it is correct as written along with regular content review. I let students get in groups (and groups of 1 are acceptable) and they can work together. It’s NOT about which team/ student is the fastest, but I wait until all teams have an answer. Then every team with the correct answer gets points. Winning teams usually get extra credit and/ or candy (I usually let them pick.) My students are not motivated, so working as a class generally keeps them on task. Sometimes I get really competitive classes, which is actually really awesome– as they really do try harder to learn, even if just so they can win.
Jackie,Room 213:One question that always come up in the last few weeks of class is this: “When do we get a review?” When students ask this, they usually want to know when I am going to go over all the stuff they have to “know” for the final assessment; in other words, “what do we have to go home and memorize?” They want a handout with all of the information they need, so they can spend a few hours pouring over it, only to regurgitate and forget it immediately after the assessment is over. It’s not my idea of real learning.
First of all, I like to give final assessments that ask them to demonstrate the skills they have learned throughout the semester, using the content as a vehicle to do so, not as the end in itself. Because of this, my “reviews” ask them to focus on the skills I want them to use; I also like to put the review process in their hands, not mine. I want them to be active participants in the process, not passive ones. One of my favorite ways is to put up chart paper in various locations in the room titled “”what I know”” and “”what I need to know”” in regard to particular topics. Students use sticky notes to add details to the charts. After everyone has a chance to contribute, the students use graphic organizers to record the information that they need to direct their review. Another method I use is to assign groups a topic and have them do a review with the rest of the class.