It’s the end of the unit or quarter and…you guessed it…time for “review.” I put “review” in quotation marks because, if you’re like me, you cringe at the sound of it.
“There’s a test tomorrow? But we didn’t review!”
“When are you going to review on the board?”
“Is there a review packet?”
My students chirp these lines like baby birds waiting to be fed. They want lectures where I re-state all the information they’ve studied, packets where I re-type all the possible content they need to know, and fun Jeopardy or charades matches where they race to remember surface-level details we covered in class. Review. Ugh.
It’s not their fault — somehow school has taught them that studying is a mindless activity where the teacher does most of the thinking. No longer! An amazing teacher friend and former colleague shared this “review” activity, which turns “review” into the active processing activity it should be:
1) Ask students to generate a list of the major concepts from the unit/quarter and list each one on a notecard
2) Ask students to brainstorm as many minor concepts or details from the unit and list each one on smaller notecards — they may need to sift through old assignments, their notes, or textbook for this. 
3) Assign teams of 3 and ask students to map the story of the unit. They should arrange the concepts and details in a way that shows their relationship to one another (expect linear progressions, webs, double-bubbles, hierarchies, pyramids, venn diagrams, etc.). Every card must be included and must be connected to the other ideas of the unit — no “floaters.”
5) Do a gallery walk where students get a chance to see the posters their peers have created.
6) Ask each student to write a comparison between the map their group made and one other map in the room.
Wow, right? No packets. No exhausting lectures. And most importantly, no mindless “review.”
A special thanks to Laura Honeywood for this idea!