Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Review Fun: It’s in the Cards

By Jeff Burns

When the time comes each year to review for AP tests, end of course tests, and final exams, I, like many teachers, try to find as many varied ways of reviewing content as I can.  This year, I put together a couple of quick review card games which fit the bill.  They covered content.  Students were engaged and got competitive about it, and they enjoyed it. 

There are directions floating around for making your own version (or having students make versions) of Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity for history, but this is even simpler.  All you do is make or use pre-existing powerpoint presentations or flash cards.  For AP US History, I used one covering the major events of each president’s term, and a review powerpoint  of some 250 important concepts and events, both of which were created and shared by other teachers or their students.  You might also use powerpoints covering art movements, literature, or any topic you wish. The key is to make sure the slides have a visual and brief information points on them.

I then printed the powerpoints on cardstock, six slides per page, enough for several decks.  Then comes the hard part:  cutting.  If at all possible, use a paper cutter and do a few sheets at a time.  You can see from my cards that I could have taken more time.

My students sat in small groups, and I gave each group a deck of cards.  It becomes a grouping and matching game.  You can ask them to use the cards to complete several tasks and circulate to supervise and review their work.  Even if you don’t, they will make it competitive by trying to finish correctly first.

With the presidents deck, I did these things:
1.       Arrange in chronological order by presidency
2.      Group by party
3.      Which presidents’ terms were marked by war?
4.      Which presidents are known for specific domestic or foreign policy programs?,
5.      Select the three most effective, least effective, worst, best presidents, etc.

With the events/concepts deck, I asked them to pull out 5 or 10 cards that dealt with each of the following:
1.       Immigration
2.      Migration
3.      Labor
4.      Big Business/Industrialization
5.      Civil Rights
6.      Reform
7.      Economic Policy, etc.  You can use any subject or any theme you can think of.

Playing with the cards really made them think quickly and review things they’ve learned all year, and it forced them to make connections and to reflect on change and continuity over time.