I am always on the look out for new interventions to try! When I am not teaching middle school ELA or Learning Strategies, I am supporting students in their regular classrooms in both ELA and Math.
I have found that my students pay attention in Math class and can work the problems in class, but then forget it by the next day. The teachers tell the students to study, but they don't know what to study. After all, there are so many words on the page! And their "notes" are just scribbles of formulas in the margins of their workbooks.
So I went "old school" and made them some flashcards with the key words and ideas from the unit for them to study before they took their re-test.
To make these, I took the big ideas and broke them down into manageable "bites". The way I do it is to look at the end product and think backwards: What is the first step the students need to know to do this? Then what's the next and so on.
They were a hit! Both the teachers and students appreciated this very simple, yet effective intervention. It helped the students to know what to study and served as a kind of "cheat sheet" for the key ideas.
I plan to add to them as the year goes on and will replace the fancy yarn with binder rings. I also plan to involve the students in their construction by having them tell me what cards should be made and what the cards should say.
Most of my students do not have internet access at home, but if your students do, there's also a great little flashcard app called Quizlet where you can make digital flashcards. I have used Quizlet before and it's really great because, in addition to flashcards, there are games the students can play with the words. This might also be a nice intervention for my students if we can get some computer time at school.
What success have you had with flashcards? Share your ideas in the comments below.
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