Teachers and students like to revise in interesting ways! Over years and 3 schools I have used the wiki feature in Moodle to ask teachers to share their favourite revision techniques. When you use ICT to collate lots of information we call it crowd sourcing………….you may find some useful tips in here for your classes. If you use these tips please note that standard creative commons rules apply.
- Get the students to add key words to the Moodle glossary (make sure they don’t include the concept in the definition and make sure you have set it so that you approve them first) – then create hangman and crosswords
- Send out “6 hard questions” each week. Use the fruit machine to select a student (I find this process easiest if I have the link in a block in moodle and the students names in a webpage created in Moodle? which I have “closed the eye” on. You can find the fruit machine at http://classtools.net/education-games-php/fruit_machine/. I then display the questions. We throw the dice to pick the question, then use the fruit machine (this gives time for all to ponder the answer).
- Students make hotpotato quizzes (best if multiple choice or short answer – combos give trouble in Moodle) – import them into moodle and get them to take each others. Both the making and taking of the quizzes is good for revision. I have now learned how to give students editing rights to make Moodle quizzes too and am happy to show you how to sort it out.
- Students answer questions in wikis and then edit each others responses. A good twist on this is to give out exam questions which you paste into the wiki – and tell the students to make 2 deliberate mistakes. Then the next night the “peer” checks the answer and “corrects” the mistake. You will need to get the pair together to check that they have spotted the “correct” mistake.
- Simple flash cards where the students write the concept on one side the definition on the other and then with a partner they either test the partner on the what is the word or what is the definition.
- The workshop module in moodle allows for magnificent opportunities for peer anonymous assessment! You have to set up the rubric but for older students it foucses them in to the criteria.
- Put pupils into pairs and allocate them a topic that you have studied making sure that each pair works on a different topic. The pupils then create a revision page with key facts / quotes etc on it. The criteria for the pupils is to make a revision page that will help auditory, kinaesthetic and visual learners to revise so the the pupils will have to think of different ideas for each type of learner. Once this is complete the pupils can scan their revision sheet and add it to moodle or you can photocopy all of the topics so that each member of the class has a full set. A way to make sure all learners have some input into this is to set up peer assessment of the revision sheet during each stage of planning so that the whole group is able to give feedback on how useful the information is and what else might be included.
- For subjects with calculation questions: photocopy lots of questions onto coloured paper, enough copies for the students to work in groups of 2 or 3. It’s easier for you if each group has their own colour. Cut them up into individual questions. Students come and get one question at a time, solve it, and bring it back so they can collect the next one. You mark them and keep a tally of each group’s score on the board. They love it cos it’s a race, they work together so they are discussing and sharing knowledge, and you end up with a clear picture of which students can and can’t do which questions.
- Produce all the key words from a topic on pieces of card and blutack them all over the board. Teach the topic using these, moving them around and drawing links between them as you go. Then ask the students to recreate the mind map themselves.
- Write key words or concepts onto large sheets of paper and spread them around the room. Each student writes their best definition / example / equations onto a post it and sticks it onto the key word. Then give the sheets with all the postits to a pair of students and ask them to create one superb definition using all the info. Discuss these with the whole class and then let students write them down (or scan them in to moodle).
- Photocopy exam questions big and get students to write in the answers but they only have 30 seconds per question before they have to move on.
- Instead of revising by topic, go over how to answer a particular style of question (eg explanations / calculations / definitions). Then choose practice questions from the whole specificaiton that fit the style and use one of the fun ways of trying to answer them. Or give the students an answer and ask them which style of question it came from, or give them a topic and ask them to write questions of the relevant style for each other to answer.
- Play the post-it note game – write key words onto postit notes, stick them onto the students’ foreheads and they have to find out what they are asking only yes/no questions
- An extension to the flash cards idea above (no 5) – get students to write taboo cards: the key word on one side, definition on the back, but under the key word add three closely linked ‘taboo’ words. For example if the key word is Harrow the ‘taboo’ words could be school, lion and Matthew Farthing. Then play taboo – shuffle everyone’s cards together, one student gets them all, he has one minute to describe as many cards as possible with all theothers guessing but he must not say the key word or the taboo words in his description. Each student gets points for the number of words they manage to correctly describe.
- Learning mats. For subjects which have any requirement to comment on set/prepared or unprepared texts, learning mats can be a useful variant on mind-maps. The student takes a sheet of A3 paper and draws an A4 rectangle in the middle. They then map out all the techniques, themes, key questions they need to remember around the A4 rectangle. As with mind maps, symbols, colour coding, links and arrows are all very helpful, especially for prodominantly visual learners. The idea is then that you can place any A4 text in the middle and use the learning mat to help you look for the right sort of things. You can make them double sided (I have covered poetry on one side, non-fiction prose on the other, for example) and laminate them for students to take home.
- This sounds a bit cheesy but I like it!. “Who wants to be a Millionaire” is a pretty quick and easy way to embed some basic facts/explanations/theories into brains. Make your questions progressively harder so that the first student doesn’t get through then just keep picking different students to run through the same questions until someone “wins”. By the time you’ve finished the game you’ve probably run through the same questions 3,4 or 5 times and whilst q1-10 seem repetitive, by the end you know that all students know the answer to all of those questions. Plus – as an added bonus, the students love it! (rgr) . To add to this if you create 15 multiple choice questions in a moodle quiz you can turn it into a “Who wants to be a millionaire quiz at the touch of a button”. The beauty of this is that rather than do it with the powerpoint template where its a whole class activity each student can complete it on Moodle.
- Question loops! These help with revision and are also good for speaking and listening skills. The basic template is a table with 2 columns and lots of rows. In the first row of the SECOND column, write START and then a question. Write the answer in the second row, first column. Then write another (unrelated) quetion in the second row, second column and so on. The final question gets written in the first row, first column, so the loop can be as long as you like.
|Last answer here||START: first question here|
|First answer here||Next question here etc…|
You need enough questions for everyone in the class to have at least one. Cut out the table in rows (do NOT divide the columns). Randomly give out the strips. Find out who has START. They ask their question out loud, and whoever has the answer shouts ‘Ohhh, me!’ and then answers the question, then reads the question that is written next to the answer and so on. It is a good idea to have a non chopped up version of the loop handy, in case the students get stuck and to check that they don’t make mistakes as this mucks it all up. Once the students have done one loop, you can get them to design their own and then you can have lots to play with (good idea to photocopy each loop on to a different coloured piece of paper, as the strips can get muddled and are then useless). You’ll probably have to edit the students’ questions (and make sure that none of the answers are the same as this messes it up).
- Moving about activity like the one above – basically get a piece of narrative text that has a definite order (works well in history) – give each of the class half a sentence and they have to stand up and walk around to find their partner (make them memorise it rather than showing each other). Once they have found the partner read out as a class to check. Then they should order themselves as a class i.e. sit in the correct chronological order (this might be different depending on the text – could be order of importance etc). Then they read it out and tick or cross on the board if they are in the right position. This is quite active and a good ten or fifteen minute starter.
- Before answering a question try to unpack the question by examining the verb used ( Explain, Justify, Compare etc) work out exactly what is required by the verb and the knowledge requirement before attempting to answer. Plan the response so that strategies are used to make sure the question actually gets answered in the manner given by the specific verb in the question.
- I use PQE sheets to help students summarise their essays. Instead of learning off tracts of text on Hamlet, Macbeth, poetry etc, they brainstorm the key points for each esay and decide on a key quote to support their point. They then chart their ideas on a standard PQE (point, quote, explain) sheet. Bullet points and key quotes are much easier to digest than a full essay. I also fing the ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ strategy very effective. The students really enjoy it. They become very competitive and are almost tricked into revision
- I believe that vocabulary has to be learned off. When giving vocab (small amount) for homework, class in groups of 3 with vocab on sheet/board or textbook in front of them, I give two minutes for all to try and memorise the words. Then very quickly a member of each group will attempt to give back the vocab to me. Another member may answer if first fails. This means vocab has been heard maybe 8/9 times at speed and homework is virtually done in under ten minutes
- I think this may have been mentioned above but I used group revision with my grammar class very effectively last Christmas. Each member of a group of three hd a specific topic to prepare including resources (flash cards/notes/ppt…) and they then had to “teach” to the rest of the group. I got them to reflect on their own prep and each others’ teaching!
- Instead of a fomal class test, I used a table quiz on a specific topic to help revision. Weaker kids got a lot out of it and learned from peers and bright kids got validation and a confidence boost
- When settin a revision exercise on a specific exam question i Gave the class a Liosta seiceála (check list) before writing their answer. For example if they were given an eachtra to write the had to include (and highlight) maybe 10 past tense verbs, 10 phrases that we covered in class, include their closing line, write a page and a half etc). they had to go through check list again at end and make sure they included all – it really helped them remember what was required and to optomise marks
- Using a forum (question and answer) on moodle would be helpful revision for first years)
- The teacher sets out a structure for the students to follow. Using this structure, students then write an essay where they develop their points. This is then examined in following class. Students can self correct using given structure.
- when given homework, students are given a marking scheme and key points. they then peer correct their work and grade the work. They must give a mark and then give comments on what was missing. This gives an understanding on how essays are corrected.
- I use Drivel Sheets in Rhetoric to encourage students to write short and accurate sentences and to discourage them from writing ‘drivel’. I take up a homework, mark it and comment upon it. I select one ‘drivel’ sentence from each student’s work and I print it on a sheet. Just before I give back the homework I give out the Drivel Sheet with the sentences and I allocate one sentence to each person in the room to correct. The first time I do it I call the sheet no name no shame i.e. the sentence is not followed by the name of the person who wrote it. The second time I do it I call the sheet name and shame i.e. the sentence is followed by the name of the person who wrote it. There is a sense of drama and fun about it because the students tend to get very competitive and they are desperate to complete a piece of work without drivel sentences. BOS asked me to do something exam technique-ish for my peer observation class and I did this and I think he saw a value in it. If interested, please feel free to talk to me anytime about it.