Tuesday, December 1, 2015

How to Take the Pain Out of Reviewing For Final Examinations:)

Wow!  It is difficult to believe that the year is almost over.  A well-earned break is just around the corner for all teachersJ

So, this newsletter will be devoted to making those 3 or 4 weeks productive and fun for both teachers and students.  If final examinations are on the agenda for the end of December (or at the return to school in January), review of content material is a must.  However, the “drill and kill” format is generally the least effective.  Since the goal is to support students in preparing for final exams, teachers should look at creative ways to facilitate the process.

1.  Here from the University of Central Florida are 101 activities to support all learners in fine-tuning their knowledge in any content area.  Though this is aimed at university students, many of the review techniques are commonly used in grades K-12! 

My personal favorites are EMPTY OUTLINES (pass out an incomplete outline of the class material and then have students with partners complete the missing pieces—I also pass out different outlines to minimize copying), PICTURE PROMPTS (visuals stimulate student conversation and that especially helps English language learners in building both conversational English and deepening their knowledge of academic English), DRAWING FOR UNDERSTANDING (in K-12 this is called a “quick draw” and students thoroughly enjoy it since they don’t need to struggle with spelling and are allowed to work as a small team in completing their work), and TOURNAMENTS (competition is fun for everyone AND if there are prizes, all the better).

2.  From Intervention Central, there is a collection of games, contests, and puzzles that motivate students to enjoy the learning/review process.  Again, teachers should see which games they feel their students will feel most comfortable doing and use them. 

          My own favorites here are QUIZZES DEVELOPED BY STUDENT TEAMS.  Some of the questions developed are even more creative than my own.  With this activity, teachers navigate the room listening in on the conversations and providing feedback as needed (without giving answers  since it is the team’s responsibility to make sure the questions are valid ones).  Another favorite of     mine is REVIEW-QUESTION BINGO.  Students   work in small teams to mark their bingo cards (they are marking only  numbers).  Once completed, the tea teams are involved, the odds of arriving at the correct answer are increasedJ.  Last, having students create COMMERCIALS ON THEIR ASSIGNED TOPIC.  With Google Slide, students can do a power point.  If they have access to cameras, they can film a commercial.  Again, teachers navigate the room and interact with teams as needed.

3.  The last site I would like to share on this topic is from QUIZLET.  I have created review questions for students on a regular basis on this site.  Students enjoy the diversity of activities.  Flash cards pop up with visuals and definitions.  Students may also elect to hear the word pronounced (a must for ELLs).  Then students play games matching the word to the definitions.  There are also several “video-game like” activities that are always well received.  Teachers could also have student teams create games to stump fellow classmates.

Well, I hope you and your students enjoy the activities.  Have a great winter break!

Denise (denise@ellteacherpros.com)
Marnie (marnie@ellteacherpros.com)

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