Friday, April 8, 2011

Quick and easy game to promote retention

I gathered up some practice for students and was thinking about how I could get them to do some revision.  I hated revision as a student as I had a quick memory and remembered things fairly easily.

It's not true of all students though.  So I found 300 questions on the topic (simplifying and balancing equations) and made up an A5 booklet of 12 pages.  Then I made up some little reward packs and said that the first three students that completed page 1 with 100% accuracy would get a pack. Whatever revision work was left at the end of the period would be done for homework over the next week (to give encouragement for those that for a second considered loafing).

In the past marking of each page has been an issue.  To get over this I combined two of students favourite things - writing on the white board and finding errors in each others work.  Students wrote their name on the board and had to mark the work of the previous name on the board. Five students (randomly chosen from the rest) that had completed a page of work and had marked another students work would also get a reward.

We all had a laugh when the last and hardest question was repeatedly incorrect so that the 3rd place prize was ultimately won at student 15.  The random draw was good incentive to keep going.

All in all students completed about 75 questions each in an hour (writing the question and answer for each sum).  At the end of the lesson we talked about how it was important to develop concentration for the full 60 minutes in preparation for 2 hour exams later in the term and the need to strengthen muscles in the hand to withstand the onslaught of essay writing.

I tried it with both 9's and 10's and had success in both classes with 90% of students engaged and only a couple of students needing to "have words" with at the end of the lesson.  Many students asked if they could complete the remaining questions over the weekend and I supplied answers for them to check as they progressed.

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