6 Tips for Ongoing Content Review with Study Island
There are some concepts—such as main idea, summarization, or multiplication and division—that once students have learned, they know for good because those concepts are foundational skills that students use over and over again in their studies. But, for other concepts, especially those that are more discrete and only used in certain contexts, it can be difficult for students to retain what they’ve learned and demonstrate mastery months or even weeks later.
So, how can educators ensure that the concepts they’ve previously taught stay fresh in students’ minds, as learning moves forward? Enter Study Island, Edmentum’s standards-based formative assessment and practice program, to provide ongoing content review and practice. It incorporates the two most effective learning techniques, distributed practice and practice testing, making it the perfect tool for standards-based review. Check out the ideas below for ways that you can incorporate consistent review into the activities that you are already doing in your classroom:
Incorporate Bell Ringers/Warm-Ups
Bell ringers or warm-ups are a great opportunity to incorporate additional practice over previously taught concepts into the school day. To use Study Island as a bell ringer, simply assign your students a particular topic to work on independently or utilize the game-based Group Session tool. With this popular feature, you can select the exact questions across multiple topics that you want students to work on and then allow students to have fun competing against each other, earning points for answering the most questions correctly in the shortest amount of time. Once students have completed the bell ringer, take a few minutes to go over the questions and answers to make sure that students are able to address misconceptions and deepen their understanding.
Use Exit Tickets
Traditionally, an exit ticket is used as a way for students to demonstrate that they have achieved the day's learning goal. But, exit tickets can also be used to review previous topics. Similar to bell ringers, a quick and easy way to use Study Island for an exit ticket is through a Group Session. Simply select most of the questions from the topic students learned that day, and then add one or two other topics from previous lessons. You can use Checkpoint mode for a noncompetitive session or choose Challenge or Race Mode to end the class on an exciting note. No matter which mode you choose, all of the data is saved in Study Island so that you know which students have mastered the concept and which will need additional practice or instruction.
While homework isn’t always a popular activity with students, it is an effective way to provide an opportunity for students to practice and build their confidence in previously learned material this school year. To use Study Island for homework review, simply assign students a topic to work on. Be sure to tell students to begin by reviewing the lesson for the topic—which can include videos, concept summaries, and sample problems with explanations—before they work on problems. As students work in Study Island, they receive immediate feedback to let them know whether they answered correctly or incorrectly and an explanation so that they understand why the correct answer is correct. If students don't have access to devices or the Internet at home, Study Island also allows educators to print out worksheets, giving every student access to the material. Then, students can go over their homework when they return to class the next day.
As you begin to strategically embed ongoing content review into your day-to-day instruction, here are a few tips to help things run smoothly.
Depending on your students' previous educational experiences, they may have a preconceived notion that they only need to retain knowledge up until the test and then can forget it and move on. Be sure to set the expectation early on that students must retain what they are learning because what they learn in the future will build upon it. Let students know that they will have to show their mastery on state assessments at the end of the year—and for middle and high school students, final exams as well. Being candid with students about why they need to retain what they have learned will allow them to see the value in the review activities.
Develop a Plan
The best way to make sure that all concepts are being reviewed regularly is by planning out which topics you will review and when you will review them. There may be a few concepts that, because of the level of difficulty or prevalence on state exams, need to be reviewed at least once a week and others that only need to come up every few weeks. A well-laid-out plan will make sure that every topic is considered appropriately and that nothing falls through the cracks. Also, be sure that your plan is flexible enough to allow for additional review for the topics in which your find your students need some extra support. For example, if your data show that students struggled with a specific topic throughout the week, you could build in extra practice on Friday to ensure that everyone can master that skill.
Make It Fun
Children, as well as adults, are more engaged (and remember things better) when they are having fun. Look for ways to spice up review so that students will look forward to it and want to give their best effort. You can utilize Study Island's Group Sessions or allow students to work in game mode when working in Study Island independently.
Ready to get started? If your school or district already uses Study Island, simply log in and head to the Help Center for resources to help you get started or head to the Getting Started Resources page to learn more. If you're not a current Study Island user but want to learn more, sign up for a free trial!
This post was originally published in January 2019 by Regina Waddell and has been updated.