Another tool I have found useful for revision is Word Clouds/Wordles/Tag Clouds call them what you will!
I have used them in a couple of ways in the last few weeks and shared these ideas when I met up with Rachael Stevens and Fran Nantongwe at the beginning if April and they were really positive about them.
Firstly I’ve used them to highlight key words from the exam specification. Each student had one in to stick in their books and we displayed it on the Interactive Board. I gave the class a few minutes to discuss the words and how we have encountered them already in our learning. Pupils were great in their feedback and I enhanced the discussion with clear explanations of what was expected of them in the different parts of the exams.
Secondly I have used them alongside the ‘reduction’ principle to help highlight key words from or about each chapter of ‘About a Boy’. For homework, I have years 10&11 chapter summaries for the 36 chapters of the novel. Their task was to highlight the key parts from the chapter summaries then reduce the main parts to 3-5 key words.
I then sifted through the pupils’ reductions and made a word cloud for each chapter.
It was quite a long process but worth it I think.
I then plan to upload these to the VTE for pupils to access and also print them off and display them around my classroom as a helpful visual aid. I love visual things but hopefully coupling this with the reduction principle will be helpful in getting pupils to remember key things from the chapters.
I wanted to try and make revision a little more fun so I am using some plastic eggs I found on sale in a super market so that I can hide discussion prompts inside to get pupils talking about the characters, themes, symbols, social context and different essay questions as part of their revision. I know hiding prompts in eggs isn’t revolutionary but I am hoping to make pupils have thoughtful conversations of the different areas we’ve been learning for Of Mice and Men; draw links between things and be able to discuss a range of difficult questions that are open ended so they have been encouraged to ‘think’ about their response and develop and answer that is thoughtful and personal.
The first stage of the lesson will focus on individual discussion prompts: character, themes and Sybil’s for the novella. Pupils pick an egg, open it, discuss what is inside and remember why that particular item is important in the novel. Through discussion their memories will be jogged and they will have hopefully shared ideas and picked up some things they’ve forgotten or not thought of from others in their group.
Secondly pupils will discuss key social context points but they must now develop their discussion to make links between Steinbeck’s intentions and how his writing reflects these elements of the social context.
Thirdly pupils will now pull all their leaning together by discussing very open essay questions. They will hunt for these as they’ll be hidden around the room (to get pupils moving and more active!). In small groups, pupils hunt for an egg, read the essay question discuss how they might tackle it and then repeat the process. I am trying to encourage my pupil to really develop a personal and critical response to the question they are given I the exam rather than just regurgitate what they have leant about the characters, setting, themes, symbols and social context. This activity will give pupils an opportunity to think and share ideas collaboratively and hopefully this will develop some confidence in being able to tackle more difficult questions.
Finally pupils will sum up their revision experience by filling in an exit ticket to show me and themselves what they’re most confident in and what they’d still like to work on; this will then inform my last revision session with them before the exam.
I hope this works as I know revision can often be dry but I wanted it to be active and verbal so hopefully pupils will remember it and the eggs, well they’re just to make it brighter and more fun!
Let me know if you have any thoughts/ suggestions.