How do you make sure your students remember how to use the present perfect after they’ve learned the concept and seemingly mastered it? What about all those wonderfully planned lessons on when to use the simple past versus past perfect? You don’t want them to forget about it when you move on to the future perfect.
You want to do your best to help your students remember what they learn, so that a couple of months from now they can answer a questions based on what you’ve taught them today.
Here are some fun ideas to get you started on helping your students learn and remember:
It may seem easier to plan one lesson at a time as the school year goes on, but by planning an entire unit and connecting all of your lessons, you save yourself time and it’s much more beneficial for your students. This is why I favor planning backwards. By starting with overall objectives for the unit, you have a guideline to help you create a string of lesson plans. This means that it’s easier to loop and connect lessons to each other, and harder to forget what you’ve already done with your students.
Let’s take the example of simple past and past perfect. You could spend three lessons on simple past, then move on to the past perfect. Once your students have mastered both, spend another few lessons on mixing exercises that involve both tenses. Make sure each lesson is related to the one prior in some way, whether it’s starting with a quick two-minute review of what you did in the previous class or even incorporating some of the same questions from past lessons into future ones.
You want to keep it fresh on students’ minds even as you move on to the next topic.
End of Unit Review & Pop Up Contests
Jeopardy is always a fun game to play with all students. It allows you to see where your students are. Plus, if they know that at the end of the unit there is going to be a competition, they are more likely to try to remember what they are learning along the way. Though you don’t have to wait until the end of the unit. Do surprise pop-up contests throughout. If you are studying plants, three weeks in, have a pop up competition on the life cycle that you studied prior. Teams accumulate points throughout the unit, with the end of unit review being the final chance to earn points for their team.
Who doesn’t like boxes with secrets inside? Keep a box on your desk, or with you whenever you go into your classes, and have it filled with questions related to topics you’ve already covered. Incorporate it into your classroom routine by having a student pick a question from the box at the beginning of each class and answering it correctly. This can be done throughout the year, so that in May they may pick a question from something they’d studied in January. Great to keep students on their toes and encourage them to stretch the limits of their memories.
What do you do to make sure your students remember what they learn?