For me, planning and organising revision lessons is difficult. You end up with a classroom of students who range from the ‘I know all of my weaknesses’ to the ‘I don’t know where to start’. And of course once you get to the point that the students can identify their weaknesses (clue checklists, quizzes and Mindly) you then inevitably discover they all have different weaknesses. Here are some of my tried and tested methods to keep a bunch of stressed out teenagers engaged for an hour whilst actually boosting their knowledge.
- Apps – use a screen and instantly some of your kids will love the activity. Of course you need to make sure they are so engrossed because they just can’t get enough of Mindly and not because they are secretly playing Minecraft. But genuinely I got my Year 10 class to use Popplet last year and they were engrossed for 35 minutes. No one said a thing as they meticulously planned out their unit into a mind map complete with photos or their book work.
- Word games – all students struggle with the volume of key terms we are expecting them to remember. This is particularly the case in an international school science lesson. I get them to summarise processes in 5 words or less, draw diagrams to represent key terms or play the game where everyone write a key term on a whiteboard and someone has 1 minute to try to guess them all. All of my good revision lessons will have at least one word game in there.
- Exam questions – of course revision lessons need to have some exam questions in there but I think it’s really important to vary how they are delivered. This year I have had lots of questions printed out and laminated so the question is on one side and the answer is on the reverse. The students can then work through as many as possible. They could also peer mark, team mark given answers of a range of quality or create their own exam questions from scratch.
- Quizzes – online quizzes such as Kahoot and Socrative are great for a quick refresh. The students find them fun and it does give you a good idea of who needs extra help. You can also set up Quizlet to test you using flashcards which is great for checking those key terms and definitions.
- Other wacky things for days you have loads of energy – teachers I’ve worked with have brought in a range of totally random objects and asked the students to link them to the topic and explain how. They could role play something (actually anything, sometimes the more obscure the better!)