How I Make Vocab & Content Review Engaging

Making Review Sessions Exciting!

I used to do this vocab and content review activity when I was teaching Special Day Classes (SDC) and the students really enjoyed it.  I haven’t done it so much in the pull-out classes these past few years while teaching abroad because we have so many things that we are working on that I always feel crunched for time.  But recently I had a student doing make-up time at lunch, or after school, and I wanted to make a deal to get his time taken off.  So I invented a game where I put a pen on it’s cap and the student had to knock it over in mid-air with another pen.  If he knocks it over before I do, taking turns, then he gets a bunch of time taken off his make-up time.

You should have seen this sullen student who was failing several classes start to become animated and almost giggling and smiling.  As soon as I saw that I was like, “You need to bring this energy into your pull-out class soon!”, and I thought “Basketball Vocab Review!”

So I adapted the old basketball vocabulary and content review game I used to do in SDC classes to fit into the unit study guide review process we were working on and it was a lot of fun!

Here’s how the Vocab Review works.

Step 0: Make sure students have the Unit Study guide (digital copy for math because they are so many pages!), or for vocab review we will have a word wall or word bank, etc.

Step 1: On the board the teacher draws the template with four boxes/quadrants of the paper labeled 1-4……make sure all students follow along.

Picture of how the whole basketball vocab review will look. It has four squares with each square numbered 1 to 4.
This is how their paper will look

Step 2:  To the right of your image you drew on the board, write:

Box 1:

Box 2:

Box 3:

Box 4:

Step 3: 

PROCESS-  Explain to the students that they will be directed to put a vocab word or math problem in Box 1, and then they will crumple the paper and take a shot in the recycling bin (or some type of box)

Then they will pick a paper up and do what Box 1 says on the board (i.e. draw the word, antonym, answer the question, etc.)

**This is where you walk around and give tips, scaffold, answer questions**

We will then get volunteers to share their answers.

Once they are done we will do the same process for the rest of the boxes.  The only difference is that I will work out the problems on the board real quick and get help from students who want to volunteer or just guide a bit.

            FINAL SHOT! 

The students have been shooting their crumpled papers into the bin, and that was fun, but to really get them energized is I give them a challenge at the end….. take a shot from across the room, and they win something if they make it.

Usually I will give them a pass (here’s a description of that system) Then I too take a shot and I usually do something like, the whole class has to stay after class for 5 minutes if I make it, but if I miss, they get 5 minutes free time (last time I made the shot I didn’t make them stay!).

Here’s an example of how it could look for the math review:

This is an image of the basketball vocab review worksheet and the instructions for the students
How it looks on the white board.

I love doing this vocabulary and content review game with the students from time to time to spice up the learning and I hope you get a chance to try it out.  This past year I did it a lot with students on my caseload that I was co-teaching in their math classes so that’s where these examples came from.  I wrote more about how I support students in the math push-in class HERE if you want to check that out…

If you have any thoughts or questions about it, or if you make any tweaks, please leave a comment below to expand that virtual PLN!


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