Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My Favorite Self-Checking Review Activities

As we approach testing season every year, I start thinking about the ways that I can help my students review for their major tests- whether that is an AP/IB/AICE test, a state end of course exam, or just their finals in my classes. Over the past few years, I've tried many different strategies, but I always come back to the self-checking review strategies. These are great because students can see instantly whether they've completed an activity successfully! My favorite type of self-checking reviews are looping activities. Basically, students start with a card, chart, or task card that has a question and the answer to a different question. Once they think they've answered their question, they look through the other cards or charts to find the card that has their answer on it. If they can't find the answer, that means they did something wrong and they need to go back through their work. If they can find the answer, they start working on the question that is attached to that answer. If they've completed the loop correctly, they should end up back at their beginning card- if they don't, they've done something wrong and need to double-check their work. These activities are great because they allow students to be responsible for checking their own work. This gives you a chance to work with small groups or help students out independently, and also gives the students an opportunity to develop their self-reflective skills. Today, I'll be talking about my 3 favorite self-checking review opportunities: vocabulary stacks, dominoes, and scavenger hunts!

Vocabulary Stacks
A coworker introduced me to the idea of vocabulary stacks, and I am in love! Students start with a group of vocabulary cards laid out in front of them, vocabulary word up. Each word has the definition to a different term on the back. Students turn over one card, read the definition, and find the word that matches. They take that card and flip it over on top of their original definition, creating their "stack" and exposing a new definition. My kids enjoy these activities because they can see right away if they did something wrong- if they have a definition that they can't find a word for, that means they matched a word incorrectly earlier in the stack and they need to restart. As a teacher, it's easy to check because they should have a stack of cards on their table and the last definition should match a word that's face down on the table.

If you want to try a vocabulary stack activity, I have a FREE scientific method stack on my TPT store- click here to download it!

Scavenger Hunts
Scavenger hunt activities are an easy way to get students up and out of their seats to review. You hang a series of papers around the room that have a question and then an answer to a different question. Students start at one paper and read the question (in the case of the pictures below, they are trying to match the name of an acid to the formula of that acid). They look around the room to find the answer to that question. When they find the answer, they go to that paper and then try to answer the question that's there. They repeat this process until they end up at their original paper, completing the loop. I like to do this as a "lift the flap" activity. This prevents students from just sitting in their seats and looking around the room, and it also helps to reduce confusion between questions and answers, especially if the questions aren't written as typical questions.

I have a whole series of scavenger hunt activities here in my TPT store!


Domino activities are another great station activity. Each domino has a vocabulary word and a definition on it. When students have matched all of the vocabulary words with their definitions, the dominoes should connect in a loop. You can also do this with a "start" domino and an "end" domino instead of the loop. I love this because students have to think about multiple words and definitions at once.

I've included a FREE set of ecology vocabulary dominoes for you to use as a starting point- click here to access and print them on Google Drive!

I hope these activities give you a starting point to think about the self-review or looping activities you can use in your own classroom. In the comments below, let me know what your favorite type of review is!

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