Content review is a vital part of the classroom, but it doesn't have to be boring and repetitive. Here's how to engage more students.
Once students are taught what they need to know, content review is essential. Repetition instills lessons, but after children get the basic understanding of the lesson and move on, reviews are necessary to encourage continuous knowledge connections. Despite this, returning to previous material often frustrates students. Because of this many teachers are seeking out new options to reinforce material in fun and engaging ways.
Content review doesn’t have to be boring. Children are active people. They like to move around and play games. Just offering a change of pace sparks heightened interest.
Pairing students off and allowing them to grade each other’s work has been a commonly used teaching tactic for years. Adding in the ability to use colorful pens offers just enough change to make content review more interesting. So do 60-second reviews at the start of class, which serve to just refresh students from the start, but what children really enjoy are learning games and humor.
Depending on the school type and class size, schools and even small homeschooling co-ops can encourage teachers to engage the entire room by playing a game-show type content review. Breaking students off into groups and allowing them to mimic popular structured shows like Family Feud, Jeopardy, or Who Wants to be A Millionaire. Academic Bingo, Playing Catch to ask questions, or bringing in a wheel of questions that students must spin in order to answer and win a prize draws students into an activity that makes them feel more invested in the review. In order to offer a competitive edge and give students the incentive to really pick their brains and explore what they’ve learned, offering a prize like candy or small desk trinkets is fun and exciting.
Teaching songs that incorporate lessons also improves children’s ability to remember what they learned, as does making up dances correlated to math problems or other information. Music is pattern based and since pattern recognition is a basic human skill, most students benefit from incorporating music into content reviews, and classroom teaching in general. Music is known to reduce anxiety, improve focus and brain functions, and better connect memory patterns. Plus, students are more likely to want to sing or dance than sit at home studying a textbook, so it holds the potential to encourage more independent study as well.
Humor is another great teaching tool that not enough educators utilize. Most every student and former student has that one favorite teacher, the one that made them laugh and enjoy learning. Using popular modern means like memes and age-appropriate/school-friendly viral videos to ease the pressure of tests, papers, and school, in general, eases the stress of content review and reminds children that learning can lead to laughter and many successes.
No matter where students are taught, how they gain information is almost as important as what they are learning. Education comes in many forms. Offering more engaging options with actions that get students away from their desks and interested in their schoolwork has many benefits. Whether playing games, singing songs, dancing, or instigating laughter, teachers can make content reviews more enjoyable while having fun themselves, in the process.