15 Creative and Fun Test Review Ideas
Over the years, I have gone back and forth about the necessity of review days. Sometimes they have felt like a cop-out or a waste of time, and sometimes, they have felt like a much-needed way to pull together the big picture from a long unit of study. Review days can also be a strategy for teaching students how to study, which they can then take into other courses. I think the keys to review days are:
- having a variety of strategies to pull from according to the subject, length of the unit, and type of upcoming assessment
- Keeping the goals in mind and avoiding busy work (Goals may be SAT vocab rote memorization, literary analysis essay preparation, or any other necessary pursuits)
In the spirit of adding to our collective review toolbox, I’m sharing 15 review techniques, and I would love to hear your additions and thoughts in the comment section below!
1. Create a timeline: This is especially effective for reviewing a novel or play. Students can work alone or in small groups. You can also include a requirement for properly cited quotes or visual aids.
2. Add a post-it: In this technique, the teacher places large poster boards around the room with topics to review, and then students add post-it notes about what they know from that topic with no repeats! For example, a 20th-century American poetry unit could have large poster titles: The Imagists, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, The Harlem Renaissance, and Robert Frost. After students add post-it notes, you can go over them as a class and organize them in ways that make sense. Students can write down the notes or take a picture at the end.
3. Silent ball: I love this game! There are many different versions of this game so you can decide how to best use it in your classroom!
4. Jeopardy and other game templates: These can be found in google presentations and be easily modified to fit your topic.
5. Student-created quizzes: Allow students to anticipate and prepare for questions on the test. This is an excellent strategy for students preparing for other classes and college.
6. Jigsaw presentations or gallery walks: In pairs, groups, or individuals, give students a part of the overall content and have them create presentations or visuals to help reinforce their concepts. For example, students each tackle a literary or poetic device.
7. Quizlet: This is especially powerful for studying vocabulary or sets of facts.
8. Quiz, Quiz, Trade: In this Kagan-inspired technique, students create flashcards and move around quizzing each other and trading cards. Something about moving while studying helps some students. I explain further here as part of my tips for spicing up summer school.
9. Graphic organizers: Challenge students to use a graphic organizer to make sense of their notes. On the board, draw examples of flow charts, Venn Diagrams, T charts, spider maps, and other organizers, and then let them use their own logic to create!
10. Map it out/Make connections: After I have done a few of my visual maps in earlier units, I challenge students to come up with the best map for a later unit.
11. Highlight important notes: It is a simple but lasting technique that students can do on their own time after walking through it once with a teacher. Some students would never think of this simple strategy for studying any subject.
12. Mnemonic Devices: Challenge students to create mnemonics in pictures, songs, acronyms, or other memory joggers. They can share them after creating them.
13. Text convos: It is a little silly, but students have fun using text language to write memorable dialogues between characters or using vocabulary words. The conversations should be laced with the information that they need to know.
14. Snowball fight: I have a co-worker who enjoys this game! It is a simple Kagan Strategy we frequently use!
15. Socratic Seminar: I find this especially helpful when students are preparing for essay examinations because it helps them see more perspectives outside of the obvious. I explain how the Socratic seminar works in my room in the post here.
What would you add to this list? We would love to keep this list going!