Four Review Activities for High School or Middle School - Help your Students Succeed

Four Review Activities for High School or Middle School - Help your Students Succeed
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Do you spend lots of time teaching material to students only to have them flunk tests? You need some good review activities that will help students master previously taught skills and succeed.

Review Activities for High School or Middle School Students

Ditch the “drill and kill” test preparation technique in favor of one of these less painful activities.

Matching - Card matching works exceptionally well for vocabulary:

  1. Grab a stack of index cards.
  2. Write one term on each card.
  3. Write one definition on each card (don’t write the definitions on the same cards as the terms).
  4. Give each student in the class at least one card.
  5. Students with a term card must find the card with the matching definition and vice versa. Talking is strictly prohibited.
  6. Each match must be returned to the teacher. The activity should be timed and made into a competition with other classes.
  7. Once all cards are returned, go over the matches (reinforcement).
  8. Talk trash about how good the other classes are and challenge them to do it again.
  9. This activity can also be used with historical figures, math equations, or any other topic that requires matching.

Crown the King or Queen

  1. Prepare questions in advance.
  2. Make one seat in the front row the castle where the king or queen resides.
  3. To begin the activity, ask the king or queen a question. If he or she gets it correct, nothing changes. If the king or queen misses the question, the next person in the row gets a chance to answer the same question. If he or she answers it correctly, that person becomes the king or queen. If he or she misses it, the next person in line is asked until someone gets the question correct. Once the questions is answered correctly, the person who gets it right moves into the spot of the first person who missed it and everyone who missed it moves back one spot.
  4. Play resumes with a new question to the person sitting one spot behind the last person to miss the question.

Chapter Section Presentations - This is more of a way to cover large amounts of material in a small amount of time than it is a review of previously learned items.

  1. Break students into groups of four.
  2. Assign each group a section to read.
  3. Each group has a predetermined amount of time to prepare a class presentation. The class presentation must be at least three minutes.
  4. It is critical to establish firm time guidelines in order to complete this activity in one class period. Writing a minute by minute schedule on the board is imperative. Those who fall short of the presentation time period must remain in the front of the room until their time is up.

Acting - This is similar to the chapter section presentations, but more of a review. It works best for History or English classes. I suppose it could be used for Science. I have no idea how you could use it for Math.

  1. Write events you need to review on separate slices of paper. You could include scenes, historical events, or processes.
  2. Break students into groups of 2-4.
  3. Have each group randomly choose a slice of paper.
  4. Have each group act out what’s on the paper.
  5. If you wish, turn it into a game and have the class try to guess what the scene is.


Reviews are by nature formative assessments and no grade should be given. The true assessment will occur with the test. If you wish to make it a summative assessment then don’t call it a review. If you choose to grade it, set forth a clear lists of objectives or goals you want each individual to master.

This post is part of the series: Differentiated Instruction

If you keep doing things the same way, you’re going to get the same results. These suggestions for differentiated instruction will make the transition possible.

  1. High School Grading Policies: Formative vs. Summative Assignments
  2. You Can Provide Individualized Instruction and Still Keep your Sanity!
  3. Four Successful Review Activities for Middle or High School Students
  4. Transform Your Teaching with Learner Focused Strategies