My goal this semester is to try a new strategy or technique once a unit in all of my classes. It’s a lofty goal but thanks to my teacher friends (some of whom have shared their ideas at the bottom of this post) and Pinterest I think I’ll be able to do it. The first one up was the review game, “I have, who has.” I always thought it was a little on the elementary side, but I also wanted to ease into this and start with something relatively easy to make (since my free time is pretty limited), so I figured I’d try it with my 6th graders first. If it went well I’d test it out on 7th grade, and if that went well I’d use it with my 8th graders too. What I found interesting was that regardless of the girls in each class, each grade level responded to this in mostly the same way.
One thing I did do for each set of review cards, was to add extension tasks so the girls have to apply what they learned, and not just match items up. Depending on the topic, the extension tasks include map work, timelines, historical dialogue, ranking systems, and more to really work with the material and make sure it’s fully grasped before moving on. So first I handed out all the cards, then the girls stood in a big circle in the middle of my room, and because most of them hadn’t played this before either I explained how it would work and how they’d know when it was their turn. Once we started they understood the concept pretty quickly.
—6th grade LOVED it! Since they’re a small group they each got 2 cards per so they had to stay focused a bit extra. I had them use it to review landforms our first day back after Christmas Break and it was such a hit that I started making sets for them to review the other topics we’ve studied and to have on hand for future topics.
—7th grade seemed to enjoy it, but their overall interest wasn’t held as long, so I think next time I’ll try one of three things: I’ll either give them 2 cards each like I did with 6th grade, or there will be some sort of motivation to pay attention (like 3 consecutive cards will be used as fill in the blanks on the test), or maybe they were just too stumped because I had also used it to review material from before Christmas Break so maybe if they’re not so frustrated in trying to remember the material they can have more fun with it next time.
—8th grade was totally not impressed. I got the feeling they thought it was too childish so I told them everything is a learning experience (especially when we do something for the first time), I would make a few changes, and they would give it one more shot. We’ll use it one more time to review the War of 1812 in a few weeks. If they still don’t like it then that’s fair, there are plenty of other review techniques out there I can use with them.
Click around in the links below to read other strategies and ideas from other history teachers!
Are you trying something new this year in your classroom? Was it an unexpected hit or miss? I’d love to hear about how it went in the comments 🙂