This post was written by Martyn Beaumont @cantersno15.
Year 11 are now in to the home straight of GCSE PE and the relentless drive to cram in as much revision as possible has been in full swing for a good 10 weeks or so now. Being Head of KS4 as well as a PE teacher, it was becoming quite clear to me that pupils were starting to get to a point where revision was getting too much. I could see them walk into my lesson to complete some of the activities I had planned out for them and before we even started it was dead in the water. They are stressed, they are tired and they are getting close to burn out.
Sometimes as a teacher you have to take a step back and realise that may be just maybe there is another way to attack these boys that does not involve to much effort on their part (or yours), where they can have a fair bit of fun and continue to learn, revise and reinforce the subjects needed. I am a big supporter of the fact that just because pupils aren’t writing a lot, doing an all singing all dancing revision sessions does not mean they aren’t learning anything. If they can articulate what they want to say either in a relaxed manner or more importantly under pressure then this is at times more important than writing it.
Revision techniques such as board rush, table drawing, speed dating, blockbuster, million pound drop and the weakest link are all favourites of mine and are a regular part of my revision programme (not my original idea I would like to add). But lately I have been trying to find another way to get the pupils going when they clearly are starting to lack a little motivation or just had enough of revision. My school is an all-boys grammar school and I have noticed over the years that for some reason the break and lunchtime routines mainly consist of penalty shootouts and one touch, one bounce (being a rugby specialist this annoys me little!!). This was where I came up with my first revision idea:
I based this over the course of one week, which consisted of 3 lessons. Basically it was one big competition of exam question quizzes that cover all major topics in the syllabus but pupils never touch a pen or paper for the entire week (unless they wanted to add to their notes for particular topics).
The first competition was a very simple but very effective penalty shootout accumulator question challenge.
• Pupils were split in to 4 teams of 5. Each team member answers a series of questions on a variety of topics. Each question they get correct converts into a penalty.
• Once all rounds are complete a penalty shootout occurs with all team members taking it in turns to take the number of penalties accumulated from the quiz. Most penalties scored overall wins.
• At the insistence of the pupils we also added bonus balls and questions that were worth double points or took points/penalties away from particular teams.
• If a team missed a penalty or it was saved the goal keeper at the time (a member of a different team on rotation) was asked a bonus question to steal the points
Lots of fun and pupils really got into both parts of the challenge. Lots of revision was going ahead during and between rounds as pupils were swatting up on topics that had not been picked yet.
• Again 4 teams of 5
• Quite simply a series of cones were laid out in a zig-zag formation.
• Pupils had to dribble a football around them to various buckets full of questions (laminated). 5 buckets in total with varying question difficulty.
• Time limit was 5 minutes
• Once teams had collected as many questions as they could within the time limit they were then asked them in a quick fire quiz format. Most correct answers wins.
One Touch, One Bounce
This is an age old game that seems to be a playground favourite amongst our year 11 pupils. To incorporate it into a revision game was a little difficult, but we managed to incorporate none the less.
• Groups of 5 in a circle with one ball (groups were differentiated and so were the questions).
• One person in the group made question master (this rotated every 5 minutes). They were given a pack of questions and marks schemes to asked and check answer.
• Pupils play one touch one bounce trying to get pupils to mess up
• When this happened pupils had to answer a question. If they got it wrong they accumulated a letter. This is normally accompanied by the word ARSE and a game of it, but as it was a lesson I changed it to SCHOOL. If they got it right they did not get the letter and the game carried on.
• Interestingly some of the group changed the game (after asking) to a very similar version but had to hit the ball against a target on the wall. If they missed, the same sequence of events occurred.
We ended up with about 6 rounds in the lesson, but it was not without faults. The top end of the group games seem to go on for a very long time, but that meant more revision. Those that were not quite as good at football answered a lot of questions. This was counteracted by be randomly asking questions as times to make sure everyone got a decent amount of questions. Again good fun and the majority got really involved. Was it perfect, no, did it work, I think so.
Three lessons with lots of topics covered in a very informal but fun fashion. Pupils were revising without really realising and we had a lot of fun while doing it.
The last (and not linked to the football challenges) was my most surprising and easy revision game. Our school has terrible facilities, including technology in every way shape or form but I found a little gem hidden away amongst all of our staging and microphone equipment. A set of 10 working quiz buzzers and quiz station.
This was set up easily within a lesson with a buzzer on a table per pair.
Put simply I arranged the simplest of quizzes where I was the question master.
Pupils had to buzz in if they knew the correct answer, buzzers lit up and blocked other pupils from taking part.
There was a massive sense of urgency in all that we did and pupils were really concentrating on the questions and the answers. If answers were incorrect then the buzzers were reset and all started again to steal the question
To make it fairer and ensure everyone was taking part pupils were arranged into differentiated pairs.
One member of the pair was asked to revise a topic (which was going to be the next set of questions) while the other took part in the buzzer round.
We swapped over a number of times and also chucked in a couple of music rounds, guess who and famous quotes to keep it interesting.
I would highly recommend getting a set of buzzers (if possible) or working out a way of creating buzzers to add to the atmosphere of a normal quiz. Pupils seemed a lot more engaged, concentrated more and we were really trying hard to answer the questions. It was a massive surprise to me that it worked so well, with one of the more ‘difficult’ pupils even calling it ‘sick’. Another very simple but effective twist on a strategy, with lots of revision going on, even if they did not realise it.
If you have any questions regarding the above, then please feel free to contact me on @canterno15 or @pembeaumont