I love the first 5-10 minutes of lessons as I think it’s a really important time to do a number of things that can have a real impact on the rest of the lesson. In our CHACER lesson model, this is the first C – Consolidation.
This post will outline one of my favourite consolidation activities – the race to the front quiz. But before we outline the basics, let’s review three main goals of a good consolidation activity:
- Energy and enthusiasm: you want to start the lesson out in a fun and engaging way that gets students engaged and energetic. Adding a bit of a competitive element is great for this.
- Review: it can’t just be about fun, though. A good consolidation requires students actively thinking about what they’ve been learning and spending some time rehearsing the information to help ensure the knowledge is consolidated.
- Formative assessment: last (and definitely least) is the fact that we want to gauge how our students are progressing with the content and ideally plug any gaps in knowledge. I say this is the least important because it’s the hardest to implement.
The Race to the Front Quiz
- Write ten review questions on a PowerPoint and add animations so they appear one at a time. The questions should progress in difficulty (easy to difficult), but should be answerable in short answers (e.g. one word or phrase).
- Group students in pairs or threes, with one designated runner, one reader, and one writer.
- Each group has a piece of paper with the numbers 1-10 written down the side.
- When the question appears the reader reads it to their group, they all discuss the answer, the writer writes it down and the runner races to the front to show the teacher the answer. If they’re correct, the next question gets projected.
- The first team to get through all ten questions wins.
- After it’s finished, go through the answers as a class.
The late, great Paul Ginnis’ mantra when talking about lesson activities was “the devil is in the details” and boy is he right. This activity has never failed me to get everyone engaged and excited at the start of a lesson, but there are a few details that help:
- A buzzer: as each team gets a question right, I ring my hotel-receptionist bell with great vigour. It definitely helps add some excitement and really ups the tempo, especially with the boys.
- Qu’s appear one-by-one: As the quiz progresses the teams will be spread out and working on different questions. You could just have all ten questions projected from the start, but I find that putting them up one-by-one adds to the excitement.
- Easy-to-Hard: This is important as it builds all students confidence and also is a good indication of students’ level of understanding.
- Groupings: I like to have mixed ability groups, but not too mixed. For instance, I don’t want to have a student who really struggles with a student who aces everything because then there is limited discussion and the Ace just gives all the answers. But you want to have a mix so all students feel like they have a chance of winning.
- Assign Roles: You can also assign the roles to make sure that all students are contributing. Assigning a weaker student to the writer and the strongest student as the runner is a good idea.
I think every TSP we’ve produced has at least one Race-to-the-Front quiz, so you can find examples in there.