Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What is "The Cube", Alex?

What’s your favorite review strategy? Flashcards? Digital flashcards? Jeopardy review?

What is "a great review strategy, Alex"?

There are a ton of great review strategies and review games. Most of the good ones do the same thing well: reinforce terms and vocabulary.

Terms and vocab are pretty important. Actually, they’re huge and essential.

So let me applaud you! The review strategies you use for general review work well. Your kids do pretty well, overall, at the level one and level two questions.

Now that you and your kids feel solid about the Level One and Level Two questions on their impending EOC or Final Exam, let’s take it to the next level.

Because it’s still our Level Three questions where our students continue to struggle.

I know, I know. Of course they struggle with Level 3 -- it’s SUPPOSED to be complex!

That’s absolutely true. But let’s give our kids more tools and more prep to attack those questions as they come up.

Here’s one more tool for your toolbox. What is “the cube”, Alex?

Many of you have used the cube in the past. You know the one. Not Ice Cube, the rapper. The paper cube.

I have seen teachers use it as a way of looking at the different dimensions of a civilization. I have seen teachers use it as a way of looking for certain features of a document.

I’d like to suggest that you try the cube as a review strategy for terms.

Purpose: This activity will challenge students to dig deeper into review terms, based on a variety of analysis questions while student groups compete for the highest points.
¨  List of review terms, as cards
¨  Review Block (print and cut it out and have a kid tape it together. I don’t recommend glue.)
¨  Point Tracking Sheet
¨  Student Instructions
1.      Break students into small groups.
2.      Announce to the groups to flip over one card.  
3.      Decide how groups will earn points for accurate answers. Groups could roll a die to determine the points they earn for each turn. Or, each question on the Block could count for a certain amount of points.
        1 point:  What?                                                       
        1 point:  Why?                                                         
        2 points: Cause(s)?                                                  
        2 points: Effects(s)?                                                 
        3 points: Make a connection to another topic                               
        3 points: Give an example or a NON-example of the term
4.      Instruct groups to roll their Review Block.
5.      Explain to groups they will explain the term on the Block based on the question rolled and discuss an answer.
6.      Use a timer and select an appropriate amount of time students have to discuss an answer.
7.      Once time is up, a spokesperson from each group will share their answer with the class.
8.      Award points to groups based on accurate answers.
9.      Instruct a recorder from each group to write down the following on their tracking sheet:
·         The term
·         The question rolled
·         The answer the group decided
·         The points earned
10.  The group with the most points based on accurate answers at the end of the allotted time wins! The duration of the game can be an entire class period or a given amount of time decided by the teacher.

Why does this strategy work? It makes kids think about several facets to a term or vocabulary word. It makes kids connect one term to another. It makes kids work in teams and discuss.

It makes kids use higher-order thinking about their terms. Hopefully, on a good day, it preps them for some of those higher-order questions on their EOCs or Final Exams.

Give it a try and let me know how it works. The Review Cube, not Ice Cube.  

What is “review strategies that really work”, Alex?

Email me, as always!

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