Tag Archives: games

School Certificate English Exam revision games, NSW

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While we are celebrating the demise of the external exams as of 2012, we still have to get this lot through the exams for 2011.  I have been using games (mostly online freely available fun) over the last few years to keep Year 10 going when their minds are already fast forwarding to jobs, maybe HSC, car licenses, work experience, big Year 10 final overnight excursion to fantastic resort(!), leaving school early and summer holidays.

I have been using a Literary Terms jeopardy game I first found through Jefferson County Schools website and I sincerely thank whoever created it! We have played the Literary Terms Jeopardy game throughout the year, usually after lunch period on Friday afternoon, or whenever it was our faculty’s turn  to look after the ‘remainders’ when the rest of Year 10 were off doing something wildly exciting. While there were some aspects of the game that were useful to revise student knowledge for the Literacy exam, there was other material, relevant to our course, but not really useful for this exam. So I finally got around to creating a few more. I know – the exams aren’t on next year, but I figure some of it will still be needed for students entering HSC and we will still have bored kids left at school on Friday afternoons.

First I googled making jeopardy games and found Jeopardy lab – great site. It’s an online web template, free, and very quick and easy to use – make sure you don’t forget the password you used to create it! So I did one on language devices. Literacy exam revision is aimed more at reminding kids of the kinds of things they need to write about in both the short answer and should use in their own writing in the Writing section of the paper. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the previous game but still easy to set up, and quick. Once created you can send the url to the kids and they can do it on their own, in groups or as a class. It also has a handy scoring tool – adds and subtracts for you.

I also checked back to the original site where I had found the Literary terms games. Turns out there was a whole lot of templates you can use to create a variety of PowerpointGames The advantage of the Power point game is that you can add your own “bells and whistles” and there are some good tutorials out there for creating games. Powerpoint 2007 Hints helped me solve the problem of showing what questions had been already selected and I also experimented with downloading ‘wav’ files (legally) that could be added as sound animations to keep them interested and laughing. I set up another game based on the “language features” questions in the multiple choice section using terms that had appeared in the exam papers for the last two years, SC Language features jeopardy.

I think I can take this further by getting the kids to create their own games, of different kinds. They do seem to enjoy this approach to revision and they do learn the material – they get better each time we play!

Do let me know if you try any of these games in class, or create something to share.

Revisit! review! reteach! revise!

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As a professional learning task this year our principal asked that we explore Close the Achievement Gap (from the In a Nutshell series, Hawker Brownlow).  I led the discussion on Chapter 4: Revisit! review! reteach! revise!. The chapter explores the concept of ‘leaving nothing to chance’.  For me it was a recognition that I had been leaving revision to chance.

So this year I have consciously revisited, reviewed, retaught and revised. I discovered that a quick quiz at the end of a lesson or a week later was a powerful learning tool, that there are lots of different ways to improve recall, that they have to know the story of a Shakespearian play really well to understand anything else about it, that kids need serious memory training and that ‘re-teaching’ needs to be programmed explicitly.

With this aim in mind I have been working on a ‘jeopardy’ game using a ‘flipchart’ on Yeats’ poetry and ‘memory’ games on key words and concepts.

I used a  ‘memory’ game on language devices with year 10 who are in the final preparation stage for their SC Literacy test. Who would think that a simple memory game (turning cards over and matching a device with an example) would generate so much enthusiasm from a bunch of Year 10 boys? The whole group of boys became totally involved in the game shouting instructions to the kids whose turn it was at the board. Amazing! Then they wanted to play another one!