Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Student-Created Test Review

I ran a test review in class today with my kids, and it went well - they were thinking and engaged in what they were doing. Plus, they created a giant collaborative review sheet to be used for studying for whenever they choose to take their unit test. I figured it would be useful to write it up and get it out there. A big thanks to Lisa Highfill - I took some ideas that I’ve seen her present at the Silicon Valley CUE conference and tweaked them for my 9th graders. I like how it turned out.

First, I identified the ‘big stuff’ from my unit: in my case it was a unit about the old democratic revolutions of the late 17th and 18th centuries. This list had about fifteen terms on it: revolutions (American, Glorious, and French), Enlightenment thinkers (Locke, Rousseau, etc), and documents (English Bill of Rights, US Constitution, etc).

Students were divided into groups of three or four. I did a bit of rearranging to make sure someone in each group had a public Instagram account to post pictures to while creating the groups. After choosing an initial term from the list above to create a picture of, they went off to various parts of campus to create their image. Each image was uploaded with a specific hashtag - in my case, #LShistory - so I could find their picture once it was posted. After their image was uploaded, groups completed the Google form - shown below - to explain what their picture was portraying as well as how their picture showed this thinker/document/revolution. As various groups finished at various times, I sent groups back out with another of the unclaimed terms to create another image.

We spent the last fifteen minutes of class with groups explaining their images to the rest of the class. I used Gramfeed to track pictures associated with the hashtag and show them to the class - a group’s picture would appear and they would explain how it showed the idea to the class. I also created another column on the spreadsheet the Google form was feeding into and added the link to the specific picture that each description was for. What came together was a spreadsheet that my students had created that grew as the day went on. I published this spreadsheet as a web page and gave all my students the link to it for perusal at their convenience to prep for the test. Check out the spreadsheet here.


  • I liked this activity. It was engaging, but it also made students think. How will I represent the Declaration of Independence in a picture? What about the French Revolution? The knowledge that had to show (or come up with) to understand the unit then compose the picture hopefully helped to solidify some of this information in their head.
  • The explanation portion was good for the students, but the questions they got from their peers about their pictures was even better. Groups were pushed to explain their pictures on a deeper level as their peers asked clarifying questions. Some groups even said they wanted to go and change their picture based on feedback from their peers - it was nice to see students really pushing other students to clarify the meaning behind their picture.
  • I liked this activity and will definitely do it again. I also want to incorporate video into this review activity. With the direct mobile upload that you can do with YouTube - log into YT then click ‘Upload’ then click ‘direct mobile upload’ for an email address that will send movie clips from mobile devices directly to your YT channel (see below) - at some point this year my students will make videos for concepts and upload them directly to my Youtube account for test review.