Someone asked for some revision suggestions recently. They were suddenly covering for an absent colleague with a few hours notice for a full day Y11 revision day. These are some of the techniques I’ve used which have earned their keep from one year to the next. The first two are for Geography GCSE groups. They may be adaptable to other subjects or they may kick off the odd idea or two. The second two are more generic.
A) Collaborative Summary Sheets
Give each pair of students a large sheet of sugar paper which you’ve already put headings on. You need as many headings as pairs of students (14 below – assuming class of 28) For our unit on Volcanoes I used:
- Tectonic pattern of global eruptions
- Causes of volcanic eruptions
- Warning signs of an imminent eruption
- Negative Effects of volcanic eruptions
- Positive Effects of volcanic eruptions
- Short-term Effects of volcanic eruptions
- Long-term Effects of volcanic eruptions
- MEDC case-study of an eruption
- LEDC case-study of an eruption
- Key volcanic terms
- Reducing the impact of volcanic eruptions
- Why eruptions are likely to impact on people on poorer countries than more affluent countries
- Why people often live close to volcanoes
- Possible exam questions on volcanoes
- Put a sheet on each desk (spread them out so ‘similar’ questions aren’t on adjacent desks.
- Give each pair a distinctive writing implement (colours / pens / felt tips / pencil….) and record which pair is using what colour.
- Allocate a period of time for each pair to write as much info on the sheet as possible (I start with 4 mins – then extend it as they go through the swaps as they need time to read previous contributions)
- Once time is up pairs pass sheet to next table in front / behind (snake a continuity around the room so you only have to take the one from one ‘end’ and give it to the ‘other’.
- Tell students they mustn’t repeat information already on the sheet from another pair – or lose points. (so they read what’s been written)
- Challenge students that there will be awards for the pair that puts a) most information b)most sophisticated information b)new information that you, the teacher, weren’t aware of…etc.
- Keep it going for as long as you can. Sometimes a class will persist with all 14 sheets going round the room till they have their original back, others – tend to draw it to a close when they look as if they’ve had enough.
- Pose an exam question on the topic at the end to see how much they’ve remembered and can apply.
- Students write a memo to themselves concerning their revision on the basis of the outcomes of the exercise.
B) Carousel Tables
This is what I set up on our residential for a 2-hour session. 6 tables that groups of 4-5 students move round to every 20 mins.
Table 1 : Mind maps. Students create a large mind map on a given topic. Provide A3 sheets and coloured pens and revision guides (or not)
Table 2 : Geography Dominos. You have to ‘prime’ this one. Take 10 or so blank cards, draw a line down the middle and put Q in top left and A in top right. Then pose 10 Qs on the top, one on each card. The students who come to the table then have to answer the 10 Qs set them, and on 10 new cards set 10 more Qs for the next group on a different topic. (a variation on this could be ‘if this is the answer, what’s the question? When you give the ‘answers’ on the right hand side, and students have to decide what the question must be to produce that answer).
Table 3 : Exam Marker – print off 3 exam answers from previous students – ‘high’ ‘mid’ and ‘low’ level. Leave them for students to work out which is which, and to highlight the parts of the answer that makes one better than another. Provide the exam mark-criteria for that question. Ask students to allocate marks to the 3 answers and justify. (This is the group I usually sit with for the last 10 mins to discuss what conclusions they’ve come to and why).
Table 4 : Revision flash cards. Like ‘Mind Maps’ – but bullet pointed cards. Allows students to see which type of note-making they personally find more effective.
Table 5 : Map Case-Study – on a map of the UK/World, students have to mark on where the case-studies they’ve learnt are located with some key features of the case-study. Provide pre-printed maps and Atlas/Globe
Table 6 : Consequence Chains: Pile of post-its of 2 colours. One is the ‘This is because…’ colour , the other is the ‘Because of this…..’ colour. Give students a list of key features of a topic (eg ‘Pyroclastic Cloud’) and they have to build up as long a chain of ‘causes’ and ‘consequences’ – each on a different post-it – as they can. You could do the same with ‘hexagons’ – making chains of consequences/causes.
C) Revision Speed-dating
Students challenge each other in competitive pairs to see who knows most on a given topic.
See my blog on this https://meridianvale.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/speed-dating-revision/
D ) Family Revision Day
Bringing parents and carers up to speed with what the household may be like in the months and weeks leading up to important exams is like finding an ally on the battlefield. This post describes our half-day Family Revision Event that brings parents and students together to form revision alliances by drawing up the battle-plan together: