8.21.2011

Test Review Cube

Hello TSKB Readers-

In school, we spend a whole day reviewing for tests. In my first year of teaching, I did Jeopardy initially, but I found that there wasn't enough individual accountability. Then I tried playing with whiteboards in groups, but that didn't work so well either.

During my second year of teaching, I saw a Spanish class play a game called "Steal the Bacon", which I liked but modified a bit. However, if it is a chapter that is difficult, or if students haven't properly studied yet, this game tends to be a drain on me.

For my third year of teaching, I decided to shake things up a bit. Instead of really focusing on one or two games throughout the year, I am leaving it up to chance. Enter the Test Review Cube




This was super easy to make. Each block is made separately using single crochet (the squares are about 3.5" across), and then whip-stitched together. Great stash buster! Mine looks a little soggy because I don't have any filling on hand at the moment to give it a good stuff. But I will soon.

The way I plan to have this work is post a chart in the back of the room with a key for the review options. I usually announce a test a week in advance, and I will determine the review game at this time. It'll give me a whole week to work on the review. The nice thing is a few of the games require the same basic setup (a list of questions with a key for myself).

So here are the games:

RED: Jeopardy. Classic review game in which students are grouped up and are asked the answer and have to give the question. For time's sake we go straight to Double Jeopardy. To make my life more sane, we constantly rotate (even if the group gets the answer correct), and if the question is answered incorrectly, other groups are not allowed to raise their hands until I ask for the PEANUT GALLERY to comment. If they raise their hand before that, they are disqualified for that question. There are many Jeopardy review templates online, but I always try to make mine more pretty than the classic blue and yellow version.

ORANGE: Review chart. This is more like solo or paired Jeopardy. The same questions are used (I usually add another category or another row), but it is placed in an Excel Spreadsheet. The students have the class period to fill out 50-75% (I make that determination) by the end of the class period. A matching blank Excel Spreadsheet is on the back for them to fill in the answers.

YELLOW: Whiteboards. I went to Lowe's a while back to purchase a sheet of tile board, which they cut down for me into a class set of whiteboards. They are a little heavier than the ones you can purchase, but they are much cheaper this way. I have students keep points honors system, and sometimes give out a prize or just bragging rights. I try to have them draw as well as write answers, or do some problem solving, and I'll usually throw in a random fun question just 'cause.

GREEN: Practice Test. I will give them an old test version that I don't use (or I could make one up!), and they have almost the entire period to work on the test. We then go over it (but I collect the tests back).

BLUE: Color Number Smackdown. A fun (but potentially hazardous) game that is very competitive. I would -not- do this initially or if you have a particularly rowdy class. You make a set of cards with at least 1 card for each student (I made 28 because science classrooms capped at 28 last year). The cards have a color on them and a number on them (hence the name). Here are three sample cards.

Have students push alllll of the desks into a circle around the perimeter of the room. In the center place a stool with some object (I typically use a foam ball, but I may use my review cube from now on). All of the students sit on desks facing the center. What I do is read a question out loud for the students (I do not repeat the question under any circumstance). Then I call from a master deck I have made (I shuffle them so it's random) either a color or a number. It should be set up so that two people should have the same number or two people should have the same number (with an odd number of students, I made an extra card that would allow triplicates of one color and number).  Whoever has the color or number that I call has to be the first person to get up, run to the center, and grab the object. So for example, if I called out "RED" after reading the question "how many chambers are in a reptile's heart", two people (RED 1 and RED 8) should run up. If they answer correctly, "3.5 chambers", they get a point. If they don't. it defaults to their competitor for the same number of points. Then we go to the next question. After I circulate through my master deck, I have all students get up and switch cards with someone else to mix it up.

PURPLE: Run to the board review. I have students break into two teams and form two lines. There is a place they have to stand behind, but once I finish the question, they have to be the first person to correctly write / draw the answer to get a point for their team. This I also keep score and often award a bonus point. No peanut gallery on this. It forces all kids to at least try.

How did you like to review for tests when you were in school? Or if you teach, what do you do to review for tests?

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