A problem I have had the last few years is how to motivate students to study for a test. When I first started teaching (12 years ago) I would just tell students that we were having a test, and expect them to study for it adequately. Well, that never happened, of course. Over the years I have tried several different things, but nothing ever really worked. The "good" students would often confess to me that they never really study for tests. So if I can't motivate them, how am I supposed to motivate the "at-risk" students with the same techniques?
This year I am going to try the Universal Homework Model from WBT. I am calling it Super Star Homework. Students will fill out one sheet each day for the 4-5 days before a unit test. There will be three different options each day, worth 1-3 stars. Each class period will accumulate stars, worth minutes for the review game we will play before a test.
Here's the one I will use for my first unit. I will see how this one goes, and revise as necessary for my second unit in October. To start, I am including one star activities that most students will feel comfortable with. Activities such as reviewing with flashcards (that will be contained in the “study bucket” of their interactive notebook”), as well as reading over a study guide for a specific number of minutes will both earn one star. As we continue to use this activity throughout the year my plan is to take the students outside of their comfort zone and do things that they wouldn’t normally do. Including techniques that include critical thinking as well as multiple intelligences will hopefully help to teach students that they need to study smarter, not longer, to increase their understanding, memory, and test score.