Clear the Cobwebs!
Subjects: All Subjects
Grades: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
This lesson is most effective after a weekend or a holiday. It actively involves students in a review of material already covered.
- Students will become involved in a review of material already covered in an active and positive way.
review, contest, cooperative learning, test, competition
- teacher-created work sheet on any topic for review
- prizes (I usually give an option of candy or 5 points on the next test.)
Have students split up into pairs or small groups. Explain the activity based on the material being reviewed; the following instructions might serve as a guide:
"In order to clear the cobwebs from your mind, we are going to have a little competition. You and your partner will work together to complete a review sheet on material we covered last week. You may use your book and notes. You and your partner must agree on all answers. Everyone should complete a work sheet. When you have answered all the questions, bring one paper to me. You will have five minutes to finish the work sheet."
As each pair or group of students turns in a work sheet, number the paper. Write the numeral 1 on the work sheet from the first group to finish, write 2 on the work sheet completed by the second group to finish, and so on.
When time is up and you have a paper from each pair or group, return a work sheet to each pair or group. (The students should not correct their own work.) Review the answers as students correct the papers. Award the prize to the group that gets the most right; in case of a tie, award the prize to the group that handed in the paper first.
For example, four groups missed only one question. Refer to the numeral you wrote on the paper as it was handed in. If the group to finish the work third did better than the groups that finished first and second, the third group is the winner.
- This activity encourages success and promotes diligence. The last time I did the activity, I provided 22 questions of varying difficulty and gave students 15 minutes to complete the questions. The time limit encouraged concentration and a sense of competition. All students had a chance to complete the sheet without making those who completed it first wait too long.
- Each student should keep his or her own completed paper; the completed and corrected work sheet serves as a good study tool for a unit test.
- When I first did this activity, I ran into a problem: Sometimes the two students in the pair did not have the same answers. That is why I require the students to agree on their answers.
- I have students "sign up" for a prize before the competition; that seems to add some spirit to the activity.
- If I have an odd number of students, I divide them into groups of three or five.
- I found that 99 percent of my students actively pursued correct answers. I was truly surprised by how well this worked!
See Lesson Plan section for instructions on awarding a prize to the competition winner.
Pam Gregory, Enfield (Connecticut) High School
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