How can teachers ensure that they offer revision activities that benefit a variety of skills and learning styles in their classroom?
Here are some tried and tested activities that I like to use to prepare my mixed ability class for Paper Two.
1. Poster making
Students create posters using drawings, quotes, summaries of themes, plot turning points, narrative devices or character overviews, etc. I use large butcher’s paper and display in the classroom in the weeks leading up exams. Students take photos and share then produce individual posters (one for each Part Three text) for viewing at home.
2. Shared notes
Ensure all students have access to quality notes by creating class notes on google docs. Pairing students with a ‘study buddy’ and placing more capable students with those that may find note-taking more challenging can be beneficial too.
3. Colour-coded annotations
Early in the course, I encourage students to design a personal color-coding system for categorising a range of different literary and structural devices in texts. Coupled with various underlining styles including wiggly or jagged lines, a wide range of techniques and themes can be grouped making revision much simpler.
4. Students teaching students
Writing practice essays invariably produces improvement in students. However, few of us has two-hour time slots in our timetable to allow classes to write complete essays. Instead, I place question stations around the classroom, questions are written on large paper and in mixed ability pairs students have 20 minutes to unpack the question writing a thesis statement, introduction and a brief plan including quotations. They then join another pair, and each teaches their response, justifying their line of argument. Asking students to teach their peers in small groups will improve both their confidence and understanding of concepts, after all, apparently, we learn 95% of what we teach!