I spent much of the first semester agonizing over the grades my seventh grade science class earned. Half the class approached failing on every test and the students were clearly not reviewing the material or ineffectively studying. As a first year, untrained teacher, I was scrambling for a means of helping them. Could I exhort them to study more? Lectures produced few results. Should I remind them that we are uncovering the secrets of the natural world and learning of God in this pursuit? When I did, those students who already performed brilliantly smiled and the apathetic ones wondered what was wrong with me.

Late last semester, my husband suggested that I give the students daily quizzes. These mini-quizzes forces the students to nightly review the material and begin the memorize it days before the test. I have noticed significant improvement in the students’ grades thanks to these quizzes. I can also diagnose a difficult topic or notice a struggling student long before test day. Parents could be enlisted to enforce study times and the students will have something pressing to study.
I have also increased the time between giving the material to the students and testing them. I typically have three days of review before a test. On the first day, the students will have a creative project. Last chapter they designed and built models of skeletal joints. This chapter, they are writing a short story, poem or song about their favorite food’s journey through their digestive system. The creative work must incorporate all the organs of the digestive system and their functions. I found the writing project to be especially beneficial because my students had to retrieve their notes, review organ functions and then write about the organ functions — all great ways of apprehending knowledge.
The next day, I have them complete study guide questions in class. I will walk around and help them address various difficulties they might encounter while answering the questions. On the day before the test, we play a review game – often Jeporady or Buzz. I invented buzz as a competition between two teams of students. One student from each team will compete at a time to answer a question posed by me. They are required to “buzz” in by yelling “buzz” before being allowed to answer. The students enjoy the competition and I can gage how much they know.

About beewhisper

Christian, Mama, Wife, Gardener, Beekeeper
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