Only Review What Students Need You To Review

One of the most common times for students to be off task is when teachers (or other students) present solutions to class work or homework. A main cause of this is teachers assuming they should review something rather than assessing whether they should. That’s why many off-task students are those who’ve already completed an assignment successfully. Teachers, not intentionally but certainly effectively, are thus wasting these students’ time and stifling their academic progress. Who can blame students for then tuning out if not acting out?

Click here for more on why reviewing class work and homework can be counterproductive, and what you can do to make sure it isn’t.


2 Responses to Only Review What Students Need You To Review

  1. SK says:

    Do you have any strategies for helping teachers start class effectively by quickly getting students on task? Especially in a school where discipline is not very tight and the school culture doesn’t promote being on time to class since there are no consequences for tardiness. In particular, any suggestions for teachers who are having difficulty with getting students to open their notebooks and begin the warmup activity right away? Some of the things I’ve been recommending is to maybe use a participation grade that takes into account punctuality and beginning the problem of the day immediately and also using phone calls home for positive & negative behavior at the start of class. Do you have any other suggestions?

    • David Ginsburg says:

      Yes, let me elaborate on the Quick Quiz I referred to in this article. It’s a 5-7 minute 4-question quiz that you put on the overhead for students to start on as soon as the bell rings. In my class students’ Quick Quiz average counted as 25% of their overall grades, which meant I had a natural negative consequence of tardiness and other self-defeating behaviors. And more important, I had a natural positive consequence of self-serving behaviors, since Quick Quizzes were open-book, open-note. As for content, I’m a big fan of spiraled practice and assessment, so I recommend 1-2 questions on current material and 1-3 questions on anything and everything students have ever seen in your subject—not just your class, but your subject. (When I taught Geometry, for example, anything from Pre-Algebra and Algebra was fair game for Quick Quizzes.) Make sense?

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