Revision rebooted

When I started teaching, some of the lessons I put the most time into were revision lessons. Cards, podcasts, notes, I wrote them all.

While I’m aware that there a few places (particularly in the sixth form) that perhaps I still need to provide better quality revision notes, these days revision lessons are both far more frequent and far more about the students working, rather than me.

Take a recent yr 11 revision lesson.

I split the class in half and they had three minutes to write down all the topic areas they could remember on one of the papers. Points were awarded to the team with the most. And what do point mean? Well, nothing actually, but the competition itself seemed to help. While we were counting up the points, I ruled a few out of order (hopefully clarifying a few things in the process) and the teams copied down any missing points.

Part 2 – Add decades. Where several events happened in the same decade, students had to try and add a date, or at least get the order right. Most groups actually went much further, adding years and in some cases months

Part 3 – While they were doing this I created a quick graph, with decades along the bottom axis. These were handed out, and students quickly cut out the points from their notes (or in the case of one class, copied a few selected ones onto quickly cut up pieces of card. We then explored some of the final questions on the WJEC development study paper (in our case USA 1929-2000). They used the y axis to show change / progress depending on the question. This final discussion part made explplit both the fact that the students weren’t expected to write about everything, but choose the best examples to include in their answers, and that they had to make reference to the ‘y-axis’ in their answer.

One hour, great revision, virtually no prep. They were the ones that left exhausted. Not me. And that’s just how it should be!

Dave Stacey

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