1. Connect and smart consolidate
As students come into the room, there are 6 words on the board for them to translate into or from English. 2 of the words are from last term, 2 from last week, 2 from last lesson. No books allowed.
Why they work:
- The task is exactly the same every lesson, so I don’t have to spend time explaining what to do.
- They take seconds to mark.
- They are valuable low-stakes testing.
- Words can be selected to prepare students for the lesson as well as to remind them of previous words.
I finish the lesson 5 minutes before bell and on the board there are key words or sentences that test students on what has been learnt in the lesson. No books allowed.
What’s good about them:
- They show students what they key learning of that lesson was.
- They make students revisit the information and therefore they aid recall.
- They tell me how well students remember the learning.
- They show students they have made progress.
- They give students a sense of achievement.
2. Objectives slide
At the beginning of every lesson, I show students the objectives for the entire module. I talk them through what we have done and what we will be doing in future, with quick examples. There are many benefits to this, but memory is one of the main ones.
3. Objective recap
Before introducing new content, I go back through all previous objectives from the module.
For every objective I have a visual from the lesson where we learnt it. This visual has all the key language.
Students spend 30 seconds on each objective, testing each other in TL on words from the visual. They are taught to choose words that will challenge their partners.
4. Making connections sentences
Either after each previous objective or after all of them, students translate making connections sentences. There are always two of them. The first one is taken directly from the objective’s visual. The second one uses the objective’s grammar point in a context studied earlier in the year.
This acts as a useful reminder but crucially, it teaches students that grammar is transferable across topics.
5. Cumulative key tasks every 4-6 lessons
These are key assessed pieces that the whole department complete. As the module progresses, they include elements from all units. This example is from Key Task 4, which assesses knowledge from all units in the module.
Additionally, students are marked on the same 20 points of grammar every time they complete an assessment or a key task.
6. Vocab tests with every key task and assessment
Every key task or assessment comes with a 20-word vocab test, containing words from all modules studied so far.
7. Cumulative Quizlet vocab lists
In order to prepare students for their vocab tests, I have created Quizlet vocabulary lists that include all vocab learnt so far, but no future vocab. Students are asked to spend 5 or ten minutes a day studying this vocab, independently of their homework.
8. Throwback homework
This is simply homework tasks belonging to previous topics.
9. Repetition activities for the classroom
Self-explanatory, really. These are my favourite 5:
- Partner A thinks of a sentence from a sentence builder.
- Partner B guesses the sentence with 2 rules.
- They can only guess one column at a time
- Whether they get the guess right or wrong, they will have to start their next guess from the beginning of the sentence
- Partner A is the judge.
- Partner B has to say a sentence from a complex sentence builder without looking at the board/sheet.
- Partner A says NO (or makes a buzzer sound) every time partner B makes any mistake.
- Partner B can peek before trying again but must always start from the beginning.
- Partner A says a phrase from the board (chosen randomly).
- Partner B repeats that phrase and adds one.
- Partner A repeats all sentences said so far and adds another one, etc.
- Partner A is a referee and has the answers.
- Partner B translates sentence one. If they get it right, they move on. If they get it wrong, they lose their turn and Partner C has a go.
- Students always have to go back to sentence 1.
Use Insert – SmartArt on Word to get this editable template.
- A complex sentence is on the board. Students read it out loud.
- A word turns into a gap. Students read the whole sentence out loud.
- Another word turns into a gap. Students read the sentence, and so on.
This can be differentiated by showing the English version of the sentence.
10. Online self-testing
Quizlet, Memrise and other similar testing apps are great for memory and can be used in a variety of ways.
I love using the Learn option of Quizlet, answers in Spanish and only multiple choice. Students respond to this quiz by writing a number from 1-4 on scrap paper.
I also make Quizlet vocab lists with whole sentences and ask students to go on the write option, answers in Spanish. The aim is to keep going until they get all the sentences perfectly right. This works particularly well if the sentences are complex and few.
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