Adventures in my classroom 6 Revision strategies

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Revision strategies in MFL

It’s that time again when controlled assessment has been marked, moderated and checked as there are less that 4 weeks left until we all dutifully post it off to examiners and moderators. So all that should be left to do is revise, well more revision, or to squeeze another spoken slot for that very borderline student just in case this is the task that finally brings the best out of them language-wise.
Two final assessments on the same day in the same session. One bite at the cherry and it’ll be done for another year. Brilliant yet terrifying!
We were invited to speak at pedagogy briefing last Friday about our MFL revision strategies to get the best out of students so here they are: 
  1. Revision T-shirts
  2. Top 100 exam fail words using Wordle or Tagxedo 
  3. Quizlet
  4. 9 questions (thanks @misskmcd)
  5. Postcards
See previous blog Adventures in my classroom 4.
In addition to this we have shared @andyphillipday ‘s revision preparation plan with students, to prepare the body and the mind, and have completed an Easter revision project using the amazing collection of resources on @gcsepod , @thisislanguage.com as well as issuing reading and listening papers created through Edexcel’s exam wizard since December so students are fully prepared for May 12th or May 15th! 
I also spent some time playing with the @photofunia app (check it out if you haven’t yet) and have created some fab postcards and posters. In addition to the constant verbal reminder we have decided to reinforce the revision message with fab posters which the school will be imminently poster bombed with. The first round of postcards went in the post yesterday with a general message for each student to ‘get to it’ and a more personal directed message based on the data and their performance to date. We have two more postcards motivators to go home between now and the exam. I hope they give students the lift, support or direction they might need across the two weeks over the Easter holidays. As they need to dig deep and get on with it. 
  
The Easter revision project was launched with them this week to complete and I know that some of them have already started as they can choose what they want to do. Choose which skill to develop and which components to complete after another self review using the exam syllabus so they know where their gaps are. And they are absolutely crystal clear that they have to do something about it. Little and often with review, chunking in to edible bites with 100% focus so no phones, music, background gaming, tweeting or social media-ing with a positive ‘I can do it, I am doing it right now’ mindset.
  
This week I also ditched the planned lessons to trial a new activity, following a swift phonecall with a friend. I gave them all an exam paper, a listening – the skill they seem to find the most challenging and frustrating. They all had the same tier, the challenge being issued that they need to get 80% of the marks. They were raring to go however I made them wait pondering the question ‘what advice they would give each other if I wasn’t there to direct and remind them with a pep talk in May 12th?’ They fell silent and I left them to think. While they thought about the question time was ticking away and I was willing them to not be in silence for much longer. But thinking takes time, and after a few minutes they started. Talking to each other about how to complete the paper and how to best use the 5 minute reading time they will have on May 12th. It was music to my ears as they were discussing how best to tackle this and to ‘do it like a boss’. They gave superb advice to each other and we collated it to remind ourselves:
  • read the questions, so you know what to anticipate and so you know exactly what’s coming
  • write as much as you can 
  • listen for gist but also the entire text
  • listen for negatives and little words like sans, sauf, tot, tard
  • write when you want at any point in the exam
  • review your answers 
  • think about word families, cognates and false friends for unknown elements
  • check what the example answer is
  • know how many marks there are attached to the question and make sure you provide the correct number of answers, the right quality of answers, in the correct language
  • always, always write an answer, never ever leave a gap
It’s not a groundbreaking list but they know it, exactly what they have to do and that’s the most important thing. 
So they completed the paper as per requirements with reading time and they asked when I would mark the papers to give them feedback. I had no intention of marking the papers, I had decided that the other year 11 group would be doing it. They were shocked. I repeated the activity with the other group and on Thursday distributed papers, green pens and the mark scheme asking them to get their ‘teacher on’. They duly got on with the task, checking responses and totaling up taking this extremely seriously. I then shared the Examiners Report with them detailing the successes and pitfalls of each of the questions completed. Some admitted they had fallen in to the ‘traps’ and they were very aware if the other students had too. Still with green pen in hand I asked the students to write some advice to their peer based on the performance, their experience and the examiners report highlighting 
what areas they should seek to develop. 
Yesterday students received their papers back and all of them glanced at the score and then turned to the advice written on the back page. Students were delighted with the feedback given, it was clear, precise and fair and gave them direction highlighting the next step. This process has been really illuminating, I would normally have marked their papers and given feedback but they seemed to really appreciate the feedback from their peers as were really motivated to act upon this. 
  
I can’t commend highly enough this process and I know time is very precious but it is absolutely worth it students were highly motivated and raring to go with increased vigour and  conviction.  It was an ace idea shared by a dear friend and one that I shall be repeating. 
Ultimately as @ictevangelist posted recently, there are no lifelines in the exam all so we have to do everything we can to help them to help themselves to do their absolute best. 

  Image thanks to @ictevangelist 

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3 thoughts on “Adventures in my classroom 6 Revision strategies

  1. Mark Anderson

    A message ingrained by the culture and vision at Clevedon is that you should “never leave your success to chance”. A mantra I definitely agree with. A great post again Crista.

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