And it’s back to the usual routine of teaching kids. In the process of them learning loads and being enthused by science – stop laughing at the back – we of course need to prepare them for the exams they’ll have. In the case of my setting, this means AQA A followed by Additional for the vast majority, and a course which may only last for one cohort. Thank you, Mr Gove. The content isn’t bad, so I actually quite like the idea of terminal exams covering the ideas. Something I often do is to issue a revision checklist to the students. This has two purposes:
- So they can check their progress.
- To break it down into small headings so revision can be ‘chunked’.
I then ask them to produce revision materials (or even better, study materials from the very beginning of the course) which use the small sections to highlight key areas. This means they can organise their ideas quickly and simply – one less reason to procrastinate as the exam is approaching. I’ve blogged about this before, but a few quick thoughts on ways to use the headings (and of course explaining why these methods work ticks the L2L box):
- revision cards.
- cover and complete definitions.
- mind maps (paper or electronic).
- headings for a ‘blank’ power point that they then fill in and save to their phones.
- ‘If this is the answer what is the question?’
- how it works/how it’s used.
- Pictionary or Taboo cards.
- Cornell notes sections.
- pages for a wiki that the class then builds throughout the course.
I’m going to produce a summary sheet – probably about half an A4 page – which students will then be tested on. Simple recall, no applications or understanding at first. My plan is that after the first, they will work together to produce a similar amount of material every fortnight, and then I’ll test their recall of a random page weekly. This is following up the fourth #SciTeachJC article, a very interesting piece on how testing recall is better than rereading for retention. If I’m organised, I’ll post the summary pages here as well to build up a library for anyone who wants to try something similar.
I’m linking an editable version for anyone who wants to mess with it, and a pdf just because that’s how I normally do it. Please feel free to edit or adapt, but if so please remove the footer with my web address. If you’d like me to host equivalent checklists for other parts of the course (or other science ones I guess) I’m happy to, although I’d point out TES Resources or Guardian Teachers will get much more traffic (or start a blog and host it yourself).
I’d love to hear how useful you and your students have found it, if at all…