Monday, May 25, 2015

How to make unit reviews exciting

Do you ever think about unique ways to make end-of-unit reviews interesting?  I attended a CTA conference a while back and I got this awesome idea for reviewing learned concepts in the classroom. The presenter was named Big Al and this is a variation on his math game "Facts in Five" that he modeled for us.  You may use this free template/organizer for any subject matter.

I use this organizer to review and practice all the time.  Students are always engaged; some have even designed their own templates.

I created an end of the year organizer shown below.  I placed science, math, writing, social studies and language arts words in the various quadrants.

This is how the game works:

  • The teacher or game leader pre-selects a theme, word, or category 
  • Individual students call out a word
  • Students are given yes or no answers if their guesses fit the theme, word, or category
    • "Is the word in quadrant 3?"
    • "No."
    • "Is the word in quadrant 1?"
    • "No."
    • "Is the word in quadrant 4?"
    • "Yes."
    • "Is 'desert' the word"
    • "No."
    • "Is the word 'orbit'?"
    • "Yes
  • I would then continue the game with other items related to the solar system.

You can play this game several ways.  You can get the students to guess the classification of things. For example, a student selects snow, farm, rain and circle.  You inform the students he/she was correct. Next, the student has to make an educated guess as to what you are looking for in your thinking. They respond with, "I think they are multiple meaning words." I let him/her know that I indeed was was looking for terms that have multiple meanings. Ideally, you want the students to review concepts in an out of the box way.

This pattern is strictly up to you and what you want the students to focus on.  Sometimes the game will move quickly and sometimes it takes several terms to come to the correct answer.

In the end, your class will be using learned vocabulary and everyone gets to participate.  Once the class understands how to play this game, they will get the opportunity to come up and have the class guess their line of thinking.  The excitement will be high!

This year's class recently came up with the following ideas:
proper nouns
solar system
writing terms
things to do with math
words with multiple vowels
words with double consonants
multisyllabic terms


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