It’s finals time! I teach mostly freshmen, so I wanted to help them prepare for their Geometry final. Many students have a tough time studying for a math test, and this one covers an entire semester plus of material. Geometry is full of things to know as well, like properties of your favorite shapes, everything you never wanted to know about triangles and circles, and finding areas and volumes of anything and everything.
I created a Study Guide Assignment to help them. I gave them an outline of the topics the exam would cover, and a rubric on how I would grade it. I gave out the assignment a week before our two in-class review days, with the study guide being due at the beginning of class on the first review day. I emphasized that they needed to create a study guide that would help THEM. They did not have to do it any certain way. They could take notes, use index cards, make a booklet, do it on their computer, any way they wanted!
Today students shared their study guides with the class. They were very creative! A few students went all out and created a brand new binder for their study guides. They created page dividers for each chapter. On the page dividers, they attached note cards where they had written the notes from the chapter. In each section they included the most important notes (foldables), study guides, problem sets and assessments for that chapter. One student even put every page in a page protector!
Here are some of the other things they created. Below is a gallery of pictures I took today.
- A binder with dividers, one for each chapter. Notecards attached to the divider, then all quizzes, tests and problem sets from the chapter in the sections.
- A section in their INB, so they would have their notes all together with their notes from the year.
- Index cards, love the “again” card one student created so she would go through them “again”.
- LARGE index cards (from half sheets of paper)
- Booklets, like the ones we make in class to review
- A word document (the student even learned to use equation editor – impressive)
The students did an amazing job and most students told me that it took them a couple of hours or more to do this assignment. Yesterday many were mad at me (as they were finishing them up the assignment), but today they said, “Wow, this should really help me on the exam.” Exams are still a week away, so hopefully getting this work “out of the way” should give them a huge head start on their studying.
I feel that their study guides are already effective and helping them. Today, after they shared their study guides, I let them work with other students if they were missing sections on their study guides. Afterwards, I gave them an exam review packet of problems and was happy to see many students flipping through their own study guides to get help on the problems instead of asking me immediately. Seriously, I should do this before every test. Success!
Grading Side Note – I didn’t want to have to grade ANOTHER project before exams, so I had them self score the rubric. Then, I scored their rubric as they presented. It counted as a small quiz grade so I graded it pretty easy. The main point was that they were organizing and re-writing many of their notes. And most of my students could use a small good grade this time of year.
Great idea! Exam review will start next week for my sixth graders. It is their first experience with exams, and for many of my students math is a challenge. I wonder how implementing this personalized approach will affect studying/review/success. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
What a great idea!! You’ve taught them a lifelong skill about how to go through notes, synthesize and prioritize about what they need to study. I really like how it helped them develop a resource they will refer to before running to you immediately for help!
I’m going to try this. Thanks for sharing.
I think I LOVE this!! Especially with State EOC’s. Each topic can have a page. I also like the creativity some of the kids had. It is a very valuable tool which, if I do it in December for the first semester, I can keep it and use it in May!
Thank you for all you do to help us.
This is great! Wonder what kind of scaffolding would be helpful when working with middle schoolers. And here I thought my review packets were the bomb.com : http://wp.me/p3LdGY-9M
Julie, love this idea. How do your students take notes throughout the year? Do you give them fill-in-the-blank notes sheets, or do they copy down whatever you put on the board? I start off every year having them take notes, then find it just takes them soooo long to copy everything, so I give up. This year we went 1:1 Chromebooks, so I started off the year with them taking note in Google Docs, but with math it’s difficult. I had them use a whiteboard app to do drawings and insert them into the Doc, but it’s very time consuming. Some units I have the fill-in-the-blank notes sheets, but they end up losing them because they’re not in their notebooks. I’m trying to find a better system. Anyone have any great note-taking ideas to share?
I love this idea! My students are working on it right now:) Just wondering if you let them use it for the final?
No, I don’t let them use the actual notes for the final. I hope that the act of deciding what is the most important to write, then actually writing it down will help them remember it.
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