In this miniature series, I’m going to write a few posts on revision lessons, ideas and resources that I really like. They might not work for every group or subject, some of the ideas definitely aren’t mine and some of them aren’t the most groundbreaking, but I find revision hard to plan for and want to share some ideas with others who might feel that way too!

SPEED ENGLISHING
I have a feeling I nabbed this off of Twitter (what’s new?) well over a year and a half ago but ohmygosh I love it! It’s really speed dating but it sounds like a bit of a safeguarding thing if students shout that they went speed dating with Miss Hampshire-Dell across the playground, so I’ve settled for ‘speed englishing’ which grammatically, is awful. Please let me know if you have another suggestion!

WHAT IS IT?
You give students a post it note/bit of scrap paper and ask them to write three questions about a topic on the paper. They MUST know the answer and they MUST NOT show anybody else. Once they’re all done, you get them to line up in 2 rows facing each other and give them about 45 seconds-1 minute in each pair to ask and answer each other’s questions. One row moves on after each round until you’re back to the start.

WHY IS IT GOOD?
Firstly, any ability student can do this and it can work with however many students you have in a class. It’s brilliant to watch but even better to join in because they secretly want you to be wrong (it’s nice to reward whoever ‘beats’ you too!).
Secondly, depending on how many students you have, students are asking each other between 70 and 90 questions in an average class. There is no way you could ask all 24 of your Year 11s 90 questions each in under 20 minutes. It’s brilliant for showing strengths but more importantly, gaps in knowledge and weak areas (if they’re struggling to even write the questions, that tells you before the activity has even begun that they’re not confident. It really helps planning).
Thirdly It is a fast interactive way to get all of the class involved in recalling key knowledge about any topic. It also makes sure every child in the lesson is speaking and sometimes, if we’re honest, that just doesn’t happen.
Finally, it can lead into all sorts of activities and plenaries. If they’ve written on post-it notes, it’s good to collate them somewhere afterwards, Allow students to take one with a question that they didn’t get correct or struggled with and get them to revise that area. They can swap post-its and write short GCSE style responses using the ideas that their peers had in their questions. If you do theme based questions, get them to group themselves and produce a class revision page on it. Get students to write down a question that they didn’t get and write a response using that information… There’s a lot you can do with these little chunks of information!

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE I DO THIS?
1. Reinforce that they must know the answer… I learnt this the hard way!

2. Ensure their questions aren’t opinion based. Once, a child was asking the entire class who his favourite character was and going bananas that we didn’t know it was Macbeth. Questions came from the text after that point!
3. Be flexible. Some groups whizz through and some need more thinking time. Don’t commit to a time and don’t let them chat in between – keep it buzzing for the right reason!

4. This is not a flash-in-the-pan activity. You can train students into developing all kinds of responses. It usually starts with basic comprehension and you can foster this into other variants including: fill in the quote, who said it, presentations of themes, linking and comparing poems, linking context to themes, presentation of characters… the ideas go on and on!

5. I know I’ve mentioned it already but do collate them at the end. It’s great for spotting weaknesses and strengths and you can group or pair students with similar strengths, weaknesses and ideas. It lends itself naturally to peer teaching and can help produce written responses with a few more ‘big ideas’ using nuggets of info that students may have long forgotten!

Let me know if you try this technique/if I stole it from you (thank you from the bottom of my heart!) and most importantly, if you have a better name!