Being a middle school math teacher trying to get your students ready for the big state test is no easy task so let’s get into 3 engaging ideas for your end of the year review. These ideas range from simple to a little more complex in prep, but all of them will have your students hooked, focused, and engaged.
The Struggle Of End Of The Year Review
Let’s Set The Stage
As a fellow middle school teacher, I know very well the feelings of being burnt out, tired, but also motivated to review with your kids in those days or weeks leading up to state testing. It’s a weird season in the year because you’re done “teaching”, but still have to keep your kids focused in review and prep.
Believe me, I understand and deal with it every year. What I have found as the years pass is that there are some things that work better than others. So what I am saying is that I promise the 3 ideas I am sharing for your end of the year test review are engaging and actually beneficial.
One thing I do want to be clear about before diving in is that providing structure daily is super important. All day everyday can’t be all fun and games. There needs to be some type of routine still, or at least a plan of how you will keep students engaged in the review task or activity in a productive way.
Idea #1: Review Games
We’re starting with the most obvious, but also the lowest prep to do. Review games are my thing. If you follow me on social media, you know I am the queen of making review games out of everything and anything.
Review games at the end of the year are great because you can teach a mini-review lesson on a topic/skill(s) and then break students off into teams to play the review game. This is productive because you will be able to not only provide instructional minutes, but also have something to “hold over students’ heads” to work towards.
Literally I say, “We are going to do this mini lesson on _______ for 15 minutes and if everyone is focused and participating, you will get to play _______.” It works and gives students something to look forward to.
Review Game Ideas
There are so many different games you can utilize for end of the year review. Some are partner activities, some are team oriented, and some are whole class. I am going to list some below as well as some helpful links and resources.
- Math Lottery: Read the blog post and get the freebie HERE.
- Tumbling Towers: Read the blog post and find ready to go sets HERE.
- Blooket: Find the free website HERE.
- Outdoor Scavenger Hunt: Click HERE to see the Tiktok showing the activity.
Idea #2: Student Led Mini-Lessons
Student-led mini-lessons are a very effective and engaging way to push your students while reviewing for the end of the year testing. I basically have my students sign up to teach 2 mini-lessons to the class with a partner. You can have them do it individually but it is obviously a bit intimidating for a lot of students. It is a great learning experience on many levels though and really ups the DOK levels with students having to teach content to their peers.
Here’s What The Process Looked Like:
- I gave them a list of every topic/skill we learned this year.
- They signed up for 2 to teach with their partner.
- I provided them with a planning template and an expectations/grading handout.
- They developed a 5-6 minute mini-lesson to review/reteach with the class and an 5-8 minute activity for the class to practice the skill.
My students developed everything from Kahoots to worksheets and games. The buy-in and engagement your students will have with teaching mini-lessons is a meaningful and effective way to review at the end of the school year. If you’re interested in seeing more about the student-led mini-lessons and resources, you can find more information HERE.
Idea #3: Classroom Transformation
A fun tradition my partner teacher and I like to do is end our last day before state testing in a BIG and fun way. Testing is stressful and mindset matters so we try to do something that will be high energy, but still focused on reviewing. The solution for us every year is a classroom transformation.
If you’re new to classroom transformations, I will link some blogs, posts, and resources below, but basically they are a day where you transform your learning environment into something “different” and incorporate activities or tasks that match that theme.
The reason why a classroom transformation is a perfect option for your end of the year review is because it will allow for you to provide a meaningful, engaging, and targeted experience for your students to take part in a purposeful review of their learning.
Classroom transformations do take a bit more preparation compared to the other ideas, so if you decide to join the cool kids and try one, I would recommend planning/prepping in advance.
Classroom Transformation Resources:
- Fear Factory Day Blog Post: This is the classroom transformation that I used last school year (2021-2022) to end our review days and it was the most fun I have ever had. You can find the blog post HERE with details and links to resources to get you started easily.
- The Full Breakdown of Classroom Transformations Blog Post: New to classroom transformations? Read this blog post to get a full breakdown and planning templates for free- Click HERE.
- Glow Day Editable Template: Looking for a template with everything you need to make a Glow Day happen? Click HERE.
- Tiktok: I have a ton of videos on my Tiktok that show the process and all of my classroom transformations. Click HERE to watch them.
Engaging Ideas For Your End Of The Year Review
There are so many possibilities for your end of the year spiraling. These 3 engaging ideas for your end of the year review are my top 3 and I hope that you are able to pull them and make them your own with your students!