Mid-term exams for my classes were just last week, and one of the things I was most concerned with was properly reviewing the material learned so far this year. About a week and a half or two weeks before the mid-term, I gave the students a quiz, and after analyzing the data from the test results, I was not pleased. So it was back to the drawing board. I could not go over all the material covered in class thus far, but I had to go back and re-teach some important information.
As I was figuring out the best way to reteach, one of the things I kept telling myself is that I will need to take a new approach aesthetically to the way I reteach this material. So I broke it up into two review days devoted to major themes and material covered to that point in the course. The first day, we worked on major figures and terms from the time period by playing bingo. I realize that playing bingo has probably been done before, but it served as a great infusion of energy into some of the material and the class. The students really grasped on to the game and learning became the product of the fun we had.
The second review was a basic collaborative learning activity. I assigned a question or theme to groups of students in the class. They were to investigate their question or theme and create a colorful representation of that topic on a poster, with markers, and then present it to the class. It was a great way to access multiple intelligences in the classroom, either through writing, art, or the presentation of their topic. On top of that, it was a great way to have students review as I predetermined the groups with differentiated students. Those students in the groups that were stronger were able to review by helping along the students in the group that were a little weaker on the material.
In the end, everyone won. The scores on the mid-term exam were much better than on the previous quiz, and the students demonstrated an understanding of the material. In planning the two review days, I was not quite sure how they would go over, but I think it was an overall success. Students mentioned to me after the mid-term exam that the review was one of the things that really helped them on the exam.
I would not have put such an emphasis on the review though if I had not properly analyzed the data from the previous quiz and done a bell ringer that asked students some questions about their study habits. In realizing that most of my students do not do much homework at home, let alone study, it was increasingly evident that I needed to use the class time more effectively. Consequently, I realized the value of data analysis and having clear lines of communication with my students. In the end, we all benefited.