Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review Games

Reviewing material prior to an exam can sometimes mean I spend long hours making flashy presentations and modifying test questions so that the students can review material for the duration of class.  This type of review can be great to really help focus students on specific data I want them to hone in on.  However, there are a few different review games that I have been using for a while now that are more engaging, cover more material, and are student created.

Both review games operate on the same premise.  Students are given a list of topics that need to be reviewed.  Students then create a specific number of review questions and answers.  In class the next day students quiz each other using their questions.  Pretty simple.

For Tic-Tac-Toe Review, students will need to create nine unique questions with answers prior to class.

To begin, students should take a piece of notebook paper and fold it into thirds the long and short ways so that when the paper is unfolded there are nine sections to the paper.
The upper right corner is used for a heading and a final count of games played and won.  The additional eight squares are each for a different game of tic-tac-toe.  I have the students write vs. in each square as well to remind them to write down who they play.
Once students have created their boards, they are free to play each other. 
 The general rules include:
1. Find a free person - no waiting to play friends - and write the person's name on your paper
2. Play one round of rock-paper-scissors to determine who will go first.
3. The first student decides where they would like to place an 'x' or an 'o'.  Each spot on the tic-tac-toe board corresponds to a different question the student created.  The second student asks their 
 numbered question that corresponds with the space.  If the first student answers the question correctly, they take the square.  If the student gets the question wrong, the student who asked the question gets the square.
4. Questions that a student deems unfair may be brought to the teacher to see if they are appropriate or too nit-picky.
5. Games can end in a win, a loss, or a tie.  Students should write the outcome on the bottom of the square and move on to play another game.  Students cannot play the same student twice.

Jenga is very similar.  I have several versions of the game and have numbered the tiles.  Students write questions to match.  The first student pulls a tile and answers a question.  If they get it correct, they place their tile and play continues to the next student.  If the first student answers a question incorrectly they must continue selecting tiles until they correctly answer a question.  There are a lot of tiles that come with some versions.  To keep the kids from writing 56 (!) questions, I have each child write 14 and play in teams of four.

If a child doesn't have their questions done, they simply cannot play a game until they are ready.  Questions are turned in along with the game boards at the end of the class and I count this as a small homework assignment.  I also sometimes offer some extra credit points (1/2 point for each game played and an additional 1/2 point for each win) to additionally motivate students.

These are great review games because they engage all students throughout the period, get kids moving around the room, and allow students to take ownership of their learning.  I would love to hear how others engage their students in review!

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