Final Exam review…this could potentially be one of the worst parts about being
a secondary teacher. This pressure is
especially amplified if your exam is a state standardized End of Course exam. Your principal is sending you “encouraging”
emails but they actually come out more job- and life-threatening. How on Earth are you supposed to keep
students engaged, go over all of the material, and not want to poke your
eyeballs out by the end of it all?
there has to be a balance and mixture of in your face content review and fun,
yet focused, games. I like to alternate
days – do a lecture review M/W/F and play vocabulary review games on T/TH. It’s also important that even when you are
lecturing, you embed sample questions throughout where you can draw names and
have students win candy or other small treats for correct answers.
do you lecture? For some
classes, like my biology students whose final exam is a standardized state EOC,
I go through a PowerPoint review of main ideas.
Lower level students get a print out of slides to annotate, high level
(honors) students have to fend for themselves for the note-taking.
Unfortunately so much weight is placed on EOC scores that I really have
to be invested in the review time to make sure they get all that they
need. Physical science though is not an
EOC, so I can put the review more onto the students. I give them a study guide with practice
questions that they get some class time to work on. I give them points for completing it and then
I draw student names to help me go over it in class. I highly suggest if you have a class like
this – whose exam is one you or your department writes and not the state – you
give students more responsibility in the review process. It will keep THEM more engaged and give YOU
more of a break! Really want to save
yourself time and energy? You can buy my
exam reviews (plus exams!) from my TpT store by clicking the pictures
about the games? A lot of my
students do a GREAT job focusing on concepts they need to study or skills they
need to acquire (like balancing an equation or completing a Punnett Square)
before an exam, but they just HATE sitting down to memorize vocabulary. This is a struggle too, because vocabulary is
so critical in student success on exams.
Because of this, I combine the worst part to review (vocabulary) with
the most fun type of review (GAMES!) All
of my review games are vocabulary centered.
I use two different variations to switch it up – a “Taboo” inspired
review game and a “Password” inspired review game.
inspired review game requires more work on the your part on the front end. You have to cut out and laminate the
vocabulary cards. On each card is one
vocabulary term and 4 taboo words. One
person from each team gets up front with a card. They have to describe the vocabulary term to
their teammates WITHOUT using the taboo words.
The 4th taboo word is a challenge word. I let lower level students say this word, but
not upper level. This makes it easier to
differentiate for different levels. This
game is fun because you can split the students up into small teams and have
them play in small groups and you can just monitor rather than having to lead
from up front! You can find this product
for physical science (with 251 vocabulary cards!) or biology (with 315
vocabulary cards!) by clicking the pictures below.
“Password” inspired review game requires no prep on the front end, but you have
to direct the game from up front. Your
class would get divided into 2-4 teams (depending on size). One team will send up a member. Their back is to the board and they are
facing the team. You click a slide and a
vocabulary word pops up. Their team has
to describe the word and get the person up front to guess it correctly before
the timer goes off. Each word a new team
sends up a member. You can find this
product for physical science or biology (FOR FREE!) by clicking the pictures
the year review can be a stressful time but it DOESN’T HAVE TO BE!! Do things
both you and your kids will enjoy and take advantage of the time and effort
other people have put in to making great resources. Let’s get rid of the woes of end of year review and replace them with wins for both us and our students!