Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Reviewing for a Test

Before a unit test, we always do a review. I create a Study Guide from the test. We have assigned them as homework, include them in rotations, small group, etc... I have tried mixing it up.

We have played games, done races, etc... There are great resources out there to make it more than a boring worksheet and more than ME going over the answers.

Last week, I asked my ELL coach for a new idea. She shared that the kids need to be talking MATH more. Yes, I know that, but how? And, how can I do this effectively?

First, they received the study guide last week and completed it with a shoulder partner. (My students sits in twos). Then, I had the answers taped around the room and after both partners had all their questions completed, they went and checked them. This way they have the correct answers to study from. We have done this method a lot. They knew exactly what was expected. This was a two day process by the way.

The test is tomorrow. So, today....
In groups of 4, I assigned them one of the questions from the study guide. They had to complete a chart explaining how they solved the problem.

I showed them two examples. I gave them a sentence starter: "To solve this problem, first I," Then I discussed sequence words and showed them how to use them to continue with the steps. They only had a short time (8-10minutes) to complete their chart.

I explained how each of them had to know the steps because they would be teaching the other students how they got the answer.

Next, I numbered each group 1-4. I had the #1's stay and the others moved to the next chart. The #1, taught the #2-#4 their problem. They had 2-3 minutes to do this.

Then, I had #3 stay and #1, 2, and 4 moved. Number 3 did not make this poster, but had to know how to explain it to the other students coming for review. This ensured that they were having to pay attention.

We were able to do this for 3 rotations, based on time. I didn't go in number order on purpose, I just wanted to mix it up and not let them think they knew what I was going to say.

Of course, how they do on the test will determine if this was successful or not.

I liked it because it forced them to MATH TALK. My goal is to talk less and make them talk MATH more.

Here's a few pics of some of the charts they made and shared. They aren't great, but for the first time doing this, I was happy with their work. Well, most of them at least.

As I look them over, I think next time I will have the question glued to the top of the chart. Each of the students had a study guide though, so they had the question in front of them.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that it actually pays off when t hey take their test.


  1. I think that is a great idea for review. By explaining the concepts, the kids really understand them. I also think sometimes kids are better able to explain things to each other in their "kid language" than I could!

    Eclectic Educating

  2. My upcoming exams make me want to curl in a ball and cry.