I am a huge fan of sci-fi shows and movies, and one of the most interesting plot points is time travel. It is so much fun to consider what it would be like to travel backward or forward in time. Many of us have regrets and wish we could go back and do certain things over. As a teacher I often wish I could have carried out a lesson a little differently or covered material in some other way. But, alas, we cannot go back in time. Or can we?
One of the most crucial activities in education is that of review. We teachers will mention it a lot. We will tell our students that it should be done. We even tell them that they should review their notes, etc. on a regular if not daily basis in order to be successful. The truth is that they won’t do it unless we make it part of our regular class time. If review is done the right way, it can be “almost” like going back in time.
I suggest giving students some practice each week that helps them to review earlier concepts. You know the old saying. If you don’t use it, you lose it! However, even weekly may not be enough. Daily review would also be helpful, but it is hard to work it into the schedule. I tried for several years to include review questions at the end of regular assignments. I also included review questions at the end of quizzes and unit tests, but I found that it was more of a chore for me and a stressful thing for them. I had many questions for myself. What do I add? Do I tell them which concepts will be reviewed on the assessments? Do they count? How much? It was neverending.
I have finally decided that the best way to review on a regular basis is to supplement the weekly review assignments with daily bellringers (warmups) that cover whatever concepts I want. It is a short, but consistent, way to begin each class that is also low pressure, efficient, and effective. My students have shown an increased retention and a more organized approach. I hope this helps you “turn back time”, too! (Sneaky Hint: This is also a way to “turn time forward” by giving students a preview of upcoming material. This sometimes works well near the end of the course to “cover” material that I just won’t have time to get to or even content that was skipped because we fell behind.)
I have included the links to a couple of my products that help me do this. Whether you use mine or not, I hope you will incorporate regular review in your class that will help your students keep the content with them long term.
Hindsight is 20/20!