8 Content Review Tips and Resource Articles

Are you looking for content review tips? As the world of standardized testing increases its focus on science (hello ACTs), teachers invest more class time on test preparation. Review can be one of the most mundane tasks your class engages in, boring both your students and you, the educator.

That’s why many teachers are looking for content review tips that make test prep fun and meaningful. In fact, many teachers use Legends of Learning’s thousands of games and assessment items for test prep. However, students often need more than one tool to help them lock in and review content day after day.

To help you in your efforts, check out these seven articles filled with tips and tools to strengthen your test prep/content review. Links are in the headlines:

1) Reviving Reviews: Refreshing Ideas Students Can’t Resist – Education World

Looking to end indifference this article asks? Then build a game for your classroom, which of course makes this article our favorite! Education World then links to five resources for teachers to download and use for in class content review.

2) Build Confidence – Edutopia

Did you know that teachers spend as much as 20-50 percent of their class time on test preparation? This article focuses on how to mix up your content review to make that time more useful. Our favorite tip is the last one: Using test preparation to build student confidence.

3) Spaced Learning – Harvard Magazine

You know it’s serious when Harvard is touting a technique. This article details how repeating content over an extended period of time significantly improves learning over the traditional “cram and test” model. Studies show an increase in knowledge by up to 50 percent, and strengthen retention for up to two years. It does take planning your test prep over a period of months instead of a week, but you would improve students’ subject mastery.

4) Turn Review into Play – Edutopia

Legends of Learning games in class.
Games can make test prep more enjoyable. Improve your classroom with game-based learning and other content review tips. - Gulfport Middle School, MS

Want to stop boring the snot out of kids with your test prep? Make it fun and turn exercises into play. We might have a few games for that (Sorry, we couldn’t resist).

5) Five Ways to Make Test Prep Meaningful and Fun – Kathleen Kryza

Don’t miss this article. Besides the usual fun exercises, Kathleen has one very unique tip: Examine your own feelings about the test. If you’re not thrilled about the exam or your class’s potential performance, then you are probably broadcasting negative vibes.

6) Fun In-Class Activities – Apperson

This edtech vendor blog has some great ideas to get students interacting in class during content review. From Jeopardy to a friendly game of Jenga, find fun ways to switch up your test prep.

7) Top 12 Ways to Rev Up Classroom Review Strategies – TeachHub

This is another list article filled with fun ways to mix up content review in class. What caught our eye was letting students serve as teachers and graders. How about a little role reversal to get students engaged?

8) Make Test Prep Meaningful! – Corkboard

This blog post has a singular focus: Have students create their own quizzes. This student-centered activity helps kids master their content while engaging in an authentic, meaningful exercise that has real purpose.

Do you have additional content review tips you would suggest? If so, please add them in the comments section.

Test Prep Webinar:
How Richard White
Makes the Most of Science Games

On November 29, STEM Certified leader Richard White delivered a Legends of Learning test prep webinar. Richard is a teacher leader at Griffin Middle School in Cobb County, Georgia, where he has worked for the past 6 years.

With December quickly approaching, many teachers will enter a review period for end-of-year testing. Richard’s webinar provides helpful tips for Legends of Learning teachers to use games for test prep as well as for enrichment, and offers tactics to deploy science games as an engagement technique for distracted students.

View Richard’s test prep webinar and associated PowerPoint presentation below:

Test Prep Webinar Video

Link to the full video of Richard White's Legends of Learning test prep webinar.

Test Prep PowerPoint Presentation

Link to the PowerPoint presentation recapping Richard White's Legends of Learning test prep webinar.

About Richard White

Test prep webinar host Richard White and his family.

Richard is passionate about teaching and learning, and believes that there is some way to reach every student that he encounters. He has presented professionally at several local conferences, and is responsible for helping to train new teachers at Griffin. Richard joined the Legends of Learning platform in November of last year as an ambassador, and began testing games with his students as soon as they were rolled out. He has also presented on LoL at local conferences.

Test Preparation: Make it Legendary

We’re just about halfway through the fall term, which means one thing: test preparation. I’m sure you can already hear your students groaning.

There is good news for your students! One of the most popular ways to use Legends of Learning is to review content before a test. Building a playlist of games and assessment questions is like creating an animated study guide: you choose the content for students to review, and they see it in action. Meanwhile, realtime analytics let you evaluate how well they understand the material.

Let’s take a look at an example. Say you’re preparing for an upcoming test on photosynthesis.

Once you’ve started a new playlist draft within the Photosynthesis Learning Objective, click on a game and review its “Game Curriculum” tab before dragging it. That way you can quickly vet which ones best highlight your concepts of focus.

The discussion questions here are great for asking your students, whether for individual or group review. They challenge your students to think critically about the topic by situating games in the proper educational context, leading to a rich, engaging experience in the days before a test. Many teachers who use Legends of Learning love discussing these questions with a group of students. When students collaborate and get excited about learning through games, knowledge retention increases.

 

 

Placing assessment questions before and after gameplay give you great insight into how well your students comprehend the material. In this example, Ms. Rose and Photosynthesis! discusses the conditions necessary for photosynthesis to occur in plant cells. By comparing your students’ pre and post game answers, you immediately see how much further review students’ need on this concept.

Assessment question analytics are broken into both individual and class-wide data, so the scale of concept comprehension is apparent. If it appears from the post game questions that the entire class is struggling with the conditions surrounding photosynthesis, you have the ability to pause everyone’s games and discuss points of confusion. Class time is more efficient with your instruction becoming more targeted to the concepts that need more review.

 

 

The view below further illustrates this test prep tactic. In this example, only 30% of the students have correctly answered a question about where the energy for life on earth comes from, so you know to emphasize that concept more in future review.

 

 

After a playlist ends, all of its question data is automatically saved. Teachers use this feature to examine which topics individual students struggle with and curate upcoming review to meet their individual needs. Completed playlists can easily be cloned and adjusted to build upon past review. For optimizing individualized test preparation, teachers love to create multiple tracks within a playlist.

As an example, if one group of students has a solid grasp on the material, assign them to a track that only contains a couple of games and assessment items and leaves more time for free play of games within the learning objective. For other groups that need additional reinforcement, build tracks that include more directed games and assessments.

Playlists are a powerful, flexible tool for any stage of review. Use Legends of Learning for superpowered test preparation and watch as student performance improves by leaps and bounds.

Log in and take a fresh approach to science reviewing!

Top 7.5 Ways to Use
Legends of Learning Playlists

Game-based learning produces strong performance results and engagement. Playlists help teachers manage and deploy games for their classrooms to achieve those results. They are an incredibly versatile tool that provide strategic lesson plan architecture, real-time data and control, and performance analytics.

To help teachers we’ve compiled a list of the top seven (and a half) ways teachers can use playlists with their students:

1. Introduce science content – LoL playlists can provide a great introduction to new concepts. Each game contains a significant amount of content, so students can visualize new science concepts in a fun, interactive environment before listening to a lecture or opening a textbook.

2. Mid-unit refresh – After a few days of teaching the same topic, it can start to get stale for students. Reinforce and invigorate your lessons by deploying a playlist in the middle of the unit. Keep it fresh with a little fun!

3. Homework – Looking for take-home exercises that don’t involve a worksheet? Now you can build a playlist and set it to launch at a future date, for a set period of time. Your students might even want to do their homework!

4. Monday warm-up – It’s amazing how much students can forget content over the weekend. Use games and quiz questions in Legends of Learning playlists to ease them back into the swing of learning science for the week.

5. Assess progress – One of the best features playlists offer are assessment questions. This item lets you gage student knowledge and progress anywhere in a playlist; before, after, or in between games. You will know whether students are getting the larger lesson or not in real-time.

6. Stations – If your students are rotating through stations, between labs and other activities, playlists are a perfect addition; you can build them to last as little as ten minutes. This is a good option for classrooms that do not have one-to-one device access.

7. Test Review – Study guides, jeopardy, and practice tests help students prepare for tests from many different angles. Playlists add another element, mixing engaging gameplay with strong subject matter review.

7.5. Past unit recall – In that same vein (thus, the 7.5), if your students need to review foundational concepts you taught them months ago, launch a playlist for their blast from the past! This can be particularly useful for highlighting NGSS Crosscutting Concepts (CCC), which you can read about on our blog.

You can learn more about playlists on our help site. Log in today, and create a playlist for your next lesson!

Personalize Your Test Prep with Science Games

Teachers, do you hear that? It’s the sound of summer. But before you get there, there is this little thing called testing that comes up in the spring. Did you know in spring testing is more common than flowers? A key to successful testing is preparing students so content is fresh and top of mind.

Nearly every school in the country is testing this week, tested in the last week couple weeks or is testing in the next couple weeks. For example, in Baltimore students are taking the PARCC exams for the next three weeks while in Virginia they will be tested on the SOL.

All of this makes testing at this time of year extremely challenging for teachers. Teachers have to find a way to keep students motivated and engaged in class so they do their best on exams.

The key to student success on exams depends a lot on how confident they feel in the material they are being tested on. That means practice. Students need to prepare for test taking in a way that’s fun and engaging so they aren’t wracked with nerves when they are taking the real test.

How can you achieve this worthy goal? By playing games of course!

It might sound crazy, but games are exactly the right tool to pull out of the tool belt right now. Think about it. Students are a little stir crazy. They can hear summer coming and spring break is either just around the corner or just gone by. Students really need some engagement, and science games offer just that.

In our pilot of short curricula games last year, our research statistically proved that when students learn with games they have higher levels of simple fact recall and are thus able to give more sophisticated answers to complex questions on tests.

But don’t take our word for it. We have a lot of teacher Ambassadors who have already thought of some great ways to use games to prep for their exams. Here are some of their suggestions:

Renee Ekhoff, Nebraska

Recently, we were studying adaptations and natural selection. We used the life science games — Walter’s Travels and Survival of the Fittest — to identify adaptations, both behavioral and physical. The students applied their practice to their review for the quiz and for the adaptation poster. It was awesome to see students using adaptations they had learned through the games on their projects! — Renee Ekhoff, Nebraska

Ann Pottebaum, Iowa

I have previewed the games and selected ones that best fit our learning objectives. I have projected the games up, and we have worked through them together to introduce the site/types of games available to study for exams.

The students thought they were great. What an interactive way to study and review as we finished our units on atoms, molecules, compounds and bonding! — Anne Pottebaum, Iowa

Caitlin Unterman, Virginia

We used the natural resources games to help review renewable vs nonrenewable sources. We also used the oceanography (weather and the ocean) to review ocean currents. — Caitlin Unterman, Virginia

Elizabeth Lewellen, California

LOL has been an invaluable tool for helping my students prepare for the state test. Students have been giving me personal requests for the topics they feel they need to review the most.

Every student is different. With LOL I just launch a playlist for the different topics requested, and in this way I’m differentiating the review practice for each student. It’s awesome. Its empowering for me and the students feel very catered to when they feel their personal needs for instructional focus are being met. — Elizabeth Lewellen, California

Mariana Garcia-Serrato, California

For test prep in 8th grade, I displayed the complete list of LOL learning objectives. Students were invited to peruse them and decide which ones each of them wanted to review.

Then I created different playlists for groups and individuals based on their perceived needs, with a couple of special invites for concepts that were covered in previous years. Having that list of discrete learning objectives proved an easy way for them to decide what to study! — Mariana Garcia-Serrato, California

If you want to play the games for yourself, sign up today on the Legends of Learning platform. To become an ambassador, visit our site and fill out this simple form (https://www.legendsoflearning.com/join-us/).

Good luck with testing and the rest of your school year!

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