Topic Lists, Reprise: Obvious and yet, I never would have thought of it

This idea totally came from someone else, and I’m awful for not remembering who from the math-teacher-edu-blogosphere came up with it. But it’s just such an awesome idea, and I wanted to spread the love. If this is your idea, just throw the original post down in the comments, and I’ll be sure to add a huge giant link to it so you can have credit.

It could be really useful if you’re trying to help kids get organized for an end-of-year exam.

I wrote a while ago (causing some chafing for a few) about how I give my kids topic lists before major assessments.

They used to look like this:

Now, I’ve added a single image, in order to help students more effectively learn how to study:

So you can see what it looks like in it’s final glory…

It’s a little late in the year to make this effective, but I’m hoping it’s helped a few kids identify where they should focus their (precious and limited) time studying. If a student bombs an assessment, when I meet with them, I can ask them to pull out their topic list with these little boxes filled out, and we can start a conversation correlating their assessment with their filled out topic list.

(Of course, this is after the all important question: “Tell me how you prepared for the assessment. In detail. Don’t leave anything out.”)



  1. A little Vasoline did the trick for that chafing, thanks. ;-)

    I think if I had been doing SBG all along, this would just be a natural extension of it. I’m thinking about introducing some SBG concepts in my Advanced Topics class next year. Low-risk, and perhaps it will get attention (positive, hopefully) from my department. It’ll take a lot to steer this steamboat into such uncharted waters, but just call me Theodore Tugboat! TOOT TOOT!

    Wow I’m tired.

  2. First off – love your blog! Just started reading it the past few months and have really enjoyed it.

    Anyway – I have been doing something similar (borrowed it from someone else but can’t remember who) with my students to help organize their studying. I feel like just handing them a review sheet doesn’t really help those who need it. Inevitably they do all the easy questions and leave the hard ones blank – so they studied what they already knew. For the past few years my classes have been doing self-assessments for review. It has really helped them to see what they need to study to do well. If you want to see what it looks like go to the following link.

    Now – if I can only get my department to be okay with SBG and no grades for homework!

  3. Let the final glory roar!

    Hehe … “Kinda Know” … yep that should be enough to pass the test … studying done :P

    I think that it is great that you are guiding your students towards what they will be assessed on and thus what to study. Thanks for the recycle share … as I really like this 3-option button thingy … might cause the student to be a little more active as opposed to just an enumerated list.

    It is just feels reponsible to tell your students that they will be assessed on X, Y, and Z – regardless of the cognitive level you are assessing. Just because you keep the content on the assessement “a secret” does not necessarily imply that it magically becomes worthy of higher-level thinking critieria. … sorry I just felt bad about the chafting :P

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