Creative Ideas for Reviewing Content
Reviewing content is an important activity in any secondary classroom; however, it isn’t always the most exciting or fun part of a student’s or teacher’s week. It may be time to spice up your review sessions. Use one of the activities presented this week to help students review course content.
This Week's Tips
Make Mnemonics to Help Memory (Monday)
Ask students to create mnemonics or mental memory houses to recall factual course material that must be memorized. Mnemonic devices are especially useful for ordered material that must be committed to memory, such as the order of the planets in the solar system (“My Very Easy Method: Just Set Up Nine Planets”). Students should create their own mnemonics and determine whether the mnemonic is easier to remember than the sequence of items by themselves. Mental memory houses use a visual memorization strategy that requires students to create a mental image of a house and place pieces of information in different rooms in the house. When they are ready to recall the information, they imagine they are walking through the memory house.
Enlist Student Help to Develop Academic Games and Puzzles (Tuesday)
Have students create their own games and crossword puzzles as review tools. Students should be asked to rewrite vocabulary definitions in their own words or to find synonyms. To play a “Jeopardy!” style game, have students from different classes create index cards with answers on one side and the correct term, event, or procedure name on the other. Exchange the cards with a different class and use these as the material for the game. For crossword puzzle activities, keep in mind that these are challenging to create and may require work out of class to complete. The actual creation of the materials serves as a review tool. The game itself can simply be fun.
Find Pattern Sleuthing Activities (Wednesday)
Challenge students to find patterns in the material they study. Ask them to create a web or graphic organizer to document the relationships that they see among ideas that have been discussed in the course so far or to relate new content to previous knowledge. Encourage students to look for examples of the patterns they identify in current events or in the world around them. Further their application of course knowledge by asking them to write about the implications of pattern recognition in the field of study.
Design Activities That Engage Students Physically (Thursday)
Design review activities to include dynamic methods of information processing and recall. Students can benefit from working with information in a physical way in all areas of study. One activity that facilitates this involves recording chunked pieces of related information on note cards or large poster sized pieces of paper and distributing them to groups of students. The information can cover any subject area, such as dates of an historical event, steps in a mathematical or scientific process, or even parts of an essay. Each group then must work together to arrange the note cards or, if they are holding the poster sized pieces, arrange themselves in the proper order. Make a competition of it and it becomes a fast-paced, fun activity that helps students connect with information in a new way.
Create Multimedia Presentations (Friday)
Have students create a multimedia presentation about a facet of the content. The end goal should be to present and teach the information to someone who doesn’t know anything about the subject. Students will need to identify an audience for their presentation and the scope of information to be presented. Chose a medium of presentation that students are familiar with so that they don’t spend excess time learning a new software program.