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Saturday, May 4, 2013

11 Fun, Fully Engaging, and Motivating Approaches to Get Students Ready for Assessments/Examinations:)

 
Isn't it hard to believe that another year is quickly coming to a close?  Well, to support students in preparing for end of year assessments, we have decided to bring in some non-traditional approaches to running final exam review sessions.  These activities are fun and highly engaging for all (including the teacher)!


Why not let students lead the review activities?  Why not provide them with some ownership in the review process?  Why not bring in academic games?  How about having students create game-like venues of their own to review?  What about asking kids how they would like to have the reviews conducted--they might surprise you with some very creative ideas? Ever think about having students create review test questions for classmates to answer?

To "start the ball rolling", here are some websites with suggestions:

TOOLS FOR TEACHERS--you will find a wide variety of ideas:  rubric generators, quizstar, academic skills builders, PBL (project based learning) checklists, kid videos (support for including kid video projects), and much more.  Everything is free.

FAKE FACEBOOK -- I must say that this is still one of my favorites.  Almost everyone is  involved in some way or another with this social medium so it is familiar territory.  What about having students create conversations with famous historical figures?  One student could be the historical figure and a second student could take the role of a contemporary of that figure OR be a student from 2013 with many unanswered questions? 

BRAINFLIPS--here students may join study groups or create them.  They may create flash cards or use ones already available.  Take the tour and see how the site might make test review less overwhelming for students.

PURPOSE GAMES--many of the games already up are related to education.  However, students (or teachers) can create their own games as well.  Such a site might inspire even the strugglers to actively take part in the academic game creation and this should lead to these students doing better than expected on the examination.  Of course, the site is also free:)

SUPER TEACHER TOOLS -- this site does charge; however, if you like game shows, but don't want to spend hours creating them, this may be the site for you.  There also other features like a classroom seating organizer, and a randomizer app (students never know when they will be called on in class---suspense with accountability). 

MOTIVATE YOUR STUDENTS -- last but not least, here are some gentle reminders on motivating students.  The vast majority wants to do well in school, but sometimes feel lost.  The tips here are reminders on why each of us became teachers:)

Last, but not least, here are some other approaches to support students in preparing for any exam. 

1.  Let them use their binder/notebooks for the test.  If they have been meticulously maintaing them throughout the year, this would be a well-deserved reward.

2.  Assign key sections to small groups and then have them conduct the review sessions for the class.  Let them be teachers for part of the period.

3.  Have students in either small groups or with a partner create multiple choice questions for the class. Teachers can use those questions (after being checked for accuracy) in a class competition with the class being broke up into teams with no more than 3 or 4 members in each.  Offer class participation points to winners.

4.  Assign groups of 4 the task of summarizing key points of a topic in posters.  Students will then explain to the class how their poster captures all the necessary sections of the lesson.  The rest of the lass will rate the posters and the presentations for accuracy.

5.   Provide students with a mock pre-test.  Let them work with a partner in completing it.  This would be especially helpful for English language learners since they would have several opportunities to process both the academic language and the content before the actual test.  Students could then as a class review the answers and discuss any issues that surfaced in taking the mock test.

The bottom line here is to build student confidence in going into the final exam (or any exam).  Keep it light, but academic, and you will see grades improve on the actual final assessment.


Hope your students like the sites:)

Denise

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