3 of my Favorite Ways to Review a History Unit


3 of my favorite activities to review a unit

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I like to keep myself and my students on our toes by not getting into an activities rut.  Today I’m sharing 3 of my favorite ways to review a topic.  You can read about some of my other go-to “get students engaged” strategies and ideas HERE and HERE (both prior posts), and my post from last week on 3 of my favorite ways to introduce a unit HERE.

1. If there are 30 students in the class, I will print out 6 images from the unit. I cut the images into 5 puzzle piece type pieces and mix all 30 cut up puzzle pieces in a box/bag/hat. Each student picks out one puzzle piece without looking, and when all the puzzle pieces have been picked, the students walk around the room trying to find the other pieces to complete their image.  Once each image has been put back together, the group has a few minutes to brainstorm what they know about the image, and how it played into the unit they just studied. They then present their image and its significance to the rest of the class.

2. Every few units I group the students up and have them make sample tests. I tell them that I will choose one or two questions from each review test to include in the actual test. When the tests are completed (it usually takes a whole class period), the students exchange their group’s test with another group and they attempt to answer the questions. The original groups then correct the tests and they all get turned in.

3. One of the other more popular review tactics I’ve used is to have students cast and outline a movie for a given a topic such as The War of the Roses. The students are grouped up and (as a sample) have to address:

a. who would be cast as the main characters in a movie about the topic
b. which historical events/people/themes would the plot focus on and why
c. which worldwide locations would you use to film the movie
d. would there be any unexpected plot twists; what and why
e. in what ways would the movie become more “Hollywood” than “History”
f. what kind of reviews would your movie get from critics and from the general public, what about from historians

I also love having my students make pamphlets because they can be so personalized, and a new favorite is Historical Hollywood Bus Tours!  Do you have a go-to review activity?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Here’s a BONUS activity, “True, False, Fix!”

Too Many Penguins on the Iceberg

too many penguins

Why is it that when I come up with one teaching idea that I’m soooo excited about I come up with 4 others at the same time!?  Then I ping pong back and forth working on them and even though I love them and am excited about them it takes me foreeeeeever to finish any of them.  I have been working on an activity about the Tower of London for MONTHS!!!  MONTHS!!!  And even though it’s one of my favorite places to visit in the whole world I can’t seem to focus on it because I also have an Anne Boleyn activity I’m working on (ps yes I looooooove the Tudors), and I’m also trying to finish a second activity for President’s Day (yes I’m planning in advance) and I found a great speech by Teddy Roosevelt on the meatpacking industry so I’ve been making an analytical reading activity for that, plus I’m lesson planning for my day job (part time though it is), plus I have these grand ideas about meal planning in advance, so these ping pong balls are just bouncing around in my head, hitting each other, and I can’t catch any of them (I think this is the longest sentence I’ve ever written, pardon it’s out of control-ness).

This is all not to mention the other ideas for lessons and activities I want to make that have been sitting in a word doc for months as just an idea, maybe two extra sentences to help me remember what I had thought of when I go to flesh it out (1968 American Crisis of Confidence, Cuban Missile Crisis, Women of American Wars, Sewards Folly, and so so so so SO much more!!!  Now in the meantime, I’ve made some other activities and gotten them posted, but these few that I thought of foreeeeever ago and have been working on regularly, are still open on my computer shaming me with their lack of completion.

So how did I deal with this last yesterday?  Denial.  I put my head in the sand a la my favorite political cartoon of all time, and I watched tv during my daughter’s nap AND with my husband after we ate dinner (even though both times my computer was open on my lap, the Tower of London staring me in the face).  How am I dealing with this now?  Writing this blog post.  My daughter is asleep and my husband is out.  I have no excuse to not bust my butt and get ONE of them finished, but nooooo, I’m procrastinating with the hopes that someone might read this who has also been in this position and we can virtually eat some ice cream together and commiserate.  I’ll be on my couch with chocolate chip cookie dough.