As we approach the summer I find myself once again looking forward to well deserved holidays and the usual latest Marvel cinematic experience. For myself and many other teachers and learners it will also be the time to look towards ways of using the time effectively in the run up to the impending summer exams. As this time once again approaches, I find it only right to reflect on a really marvellous event that occurred in my Psychology classes during the last 4 weeks before the exams last year. I had previously ran a mini-revision showcase in December as it was roughly the half way point of the course and with an internal mock assessment looming when students got back in January a December Revision Showcase seemed well timed. So with the same motivation and drive by learners and myself, and just like a Marvel Cinematic movie sequel of blockbuster proportions (I’m thinking Avengers here!), we brought back the Revision Showcase for April to help prepare for the summer exams.
I organise 2 each year (December and April) for each class and there is no precise method of conducting the session. For my classes though it consisted of learners completing their revision notes and bringing them into the lesson; a type of show and tell. Learners would display their work in front of them on tables or posters on the wall. Learners demonstrate a variety of ideas in revision strategies and it is a real insight in how learners actively revise.
Some ideas learners showed: there were the usual condensed notes, typed up notes, cue cards, and mind and ideas map. What I was pleased to see were learners using a learning resource they have on them all the time: their mobile phones and tablets. With these devices some learners photographed their written or typed notes and kept them on their phones in their gallery to view at anytime, some learners presented their revision notes as a recorded audio notes on their phones that they would playback to themselves.
After learners had displayed their work, all learners were then given a few chocolates each and some pieces of paper or post-it notes. The activity involved learners moving around the class placing a chocolate on the revision notes that they liked most as well as also leaving positive notes on pieces of paper as to why they liked the revision notes. Some learners and with permission, also took pictures of notes they liked. It also gave me a chance to go round with my mark book, talk to each learner and make notes about each learner and their revision strategies and progress. All this took place with music being played in the background (my taste of Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles did not go down so well, so democratic process amongst the class meant current chart music is what the DJ had to add to the playlist). This took approximately 40 minutes and culminated in a wider feedback session at the end whereby each learner would be asked to pick out at least one idea to try out based on what they have seen during the activity.
I have found this activity serves several purposes:
(1) To encourage learners (and giving them a bit of a positive push) to get their revision notes completed nice and early so then they can revise directly from these and then focus on exam question practice.
(2) Giving learners the opportunity to learn from each other.
(3) Allowing learners to show off and showcase their efforts and work.
(4) To provide the teacher with an idea of how the learner revises and allows the teacher to check progress with regards to revision and offer further advice.
(5) Allow the teacher to discover the varied revision strategies students use.
(6) If timed well, it can be effective in preparing for an upcoming mock exam and would allow the learner to determine if their revision notes are good enough. Changes in revision strategies can then be made in preparation for their next mock or ‘actual’ exam.
As in any well made Marvel movie, the final result is a culmination of hard work and effort and ongoing testing and revision of strategies. Preparing and taking summer exams and the final result is no different.
Revision Showcase; if you have yet to try it, just give it a go, it may help learners work towards achieving their own summer blockbuster!