Review time is Brainstorm-Categorize time.

What is looks like!

Just a little break from my break to share!

Review season is on us once again…

One of my all time favorite review activities (and it is active) is brainstorm-categorize. At right is what you end up with, below I have outlined the possible and modifiable steps that we followed as a class.

The how to:

1. Ask students to brainstorm as many words as possible. This can be a good time for them to look over notes, old tests etc. and pull out words they struggled with. Today I gave them the added challenge to try to find 10 power words (words that are big and important) and then try to think of “smaller” words that belong to those big words.

2. Ask for student volunteers as follows:

  • 2 students to write the words on the board.
  • 2 students to record words on pre-cut strips of paper.
  • 1 student to type up words in a Google doc.
Students recording words on board.
Students recording words on board.

3. After some solid brainstorming, go around room and ask students to share their words aloud, as the transcribers record words in the various locations. I find having 2 students at the board allows for this share out part to go a little faster.

4. When you have shared out all the brainstormed words, have the 2 student recorders with the strips of paper to distribute strips (with words on) evenly to all students.

5. While they are doing this, I put masking tape strips sticky side out on the board.

Sticky side out.
Sticky side out.

6. Students then work as a class to negotiate categories to group words into. I try to encourage them to think outside of the obvious categories, but this usually fails as it did today. I want them to feel ownership of the words and feel that them deciding on categories helps.

Adding their words.
Adding their words.

7. We worked on one category at a time and then students add their words that fit into the category. This usually involves discussion amongst students as they give and ask each other for advice on whether or not their word belongs. Sometimes students will categorize words incorrectly, others will quickly pounce on their error, no teacher intervention needed. Depending on the class you might want to have students say the word aloud and explain why the word belongs in the specific category.

8. After a fair amount of noise and commotion you a lovely wall of categorized words!

photo (15)

9. I then posted the Google doc (all typed up nicely by a student) link to our Facebook page and students have a vocabulary list that they could categorize again on their own as a possible review activity.

After we are done students always say: that was fun or that really helped. I really enjoy the activity as it brings a sense of closure, is active and social. Review can get a little dull!

One thought on “Review time is Brainstorm-Categorize time.

  1. This is a fantastic consolidation activity! As an aspiring biology teacher, I appreciate you sharing ideas and activities you’ve tried with your students. I’m working through a 12U molecular unit and will be sure to try this out.

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