Cumulative Review Game

As the school year winds down, many are probably searching for ways to remind students what they have learned.  I know that I was just a few weeks ago.  In addition to wanting to show students how much progress they made, I wanted to have students think about all that they had learned, but it was important to keep such a review student-centered.

Of course, there are the old standards, Jeopardy and Password.   These have been pretty successful in previous semesters.  But, this May, I was searching for something different. I needed something else--the class had entered in January with virtually no English.  After speaking to Maggie Courtright, my reading component leader, I had a solid plan for a review lesson.

Do you remember the game Outburst?  Well, this happens to lend itself very well to the language class.  It might actually work in several content areas.  The idea is simple. The instructor makes cards with different categories on top.  These categories ideally come from readings or units students have studied. Then, students are divided into teams and given cards.  They need to generate the words that they want to correspond with the title of the card.  After a card is filled out by the students, the other team is told the title of the card, and they have to shout out any of the words that they think might be included.  If they are correct, and the words they guessed match the words that the other team has written on the card, they get a point.  It's best to put a time limit on this. (I limited beginning students to 1 minute.)

 An example of the "Outburst" card I made to use with beginning ESL students.

An example of the "Outburst" card I made to use with beginning ESL students.

I think that the reason why this is effective is because students are generating the content in addition to just playing the game. They are active in almost all parts, aside from making the card categories.  Students have some ownership of this game.  If students spend more time writing the game cards instead of playing, that's okay.  The review is the most important part here.  Of course, with more advanced students, you can have them generate ten words instead of five.

That's it.  I was thrilled with this new way to do a cumulative review, and there's no doubt I'll be using it again in class.

Are there any other ways you like to review?  How do you remind students about what they have learned?