Around May of each school year, I start thinking about US History EOC review activities to get my students ready for their state assessment.
No matter if you have a “high stakes” state test or local assessment, you’ll want to prepare a range of review games, activities, worksheets, study techniques and practice tests to get students ready for their end-of-year exam.
The most fun way to keep your students engaged is to use a variety of review games. It’s a great way to make reinforcing historical concepts enjoyable and interactive. Students are then more likely to retain the massive amount of content you cover in a year of US History.
Here are a few fun game ideas for your classroom:
Pictionary: This is always a lot of my students' favorites. Start with a list of vocabulary and break students into groups. Then, get volunteers to draw the vocabulary word on the board while the group guesses. Here’s a free list of over 350 vocabulary terms from US History you can use to get started.
Clue: I love using this game based on the popular board game and movie. People, places, and things take the place of suspect, location, and weapons. You can read more about review Clue in this blog post or download a pre-made set for US History here.
Jeopardy: Another classic classroom review. I like for students to work in teams to answer questions and earn points, encouraging a little competition and active participation. You can make games on PPT, online using Jeopardy Labs, or just draw a quick board on your whiteboard.
Kahoot, Quizziz, or Gimkit: These online platforms feature trivia games students access with phones or computers, making them an engaging way to review important content. You can make your own, search for pre-made games, or use the ones I have for each unit in my curriculum.
Timeline Race: Divide your class into teams and challenge them to create a timeline for your US History curriculum. I like to give them large butcher paper, a time proud to cover, and they have to pick 10 everts to add to their timelines. This encourages collaboration, critical thinking, and a deeper understanding of your content.
In addition to playing games, you need to also include some solid review resources, especially with vocabulary, people, and major concepts.
I love going back to my US History Review Packets for each unit in the curriculum. These 9-page packets are perfect for an EOC review because they include maps, vocabulary, people, images, timelines, and primary sources to analyze.
If you want to just focus on the important people students need to know, this 100 People to Know Review Guide is perfect for its thoroughness and simplicity.
A solid grasp of vocabulary is crucial for success on US History exams. Here are a few ideas to help students expand their vocabulary and improve comprehension.
Flashcards: Encourage students to create flashcards with historical terms on one side and their definitions on the other. They can review these flashcards individually or with a partner, testing their knowledge and reinforcing their understanding of key vocabulary. Quizlet is an awesome online resource for premade flashcards.
Word Games: Engage students in word games like crossword puzzles or word searches that incorporate historical terms. These make reviewing vocab a little more engaging and help students recall information more easily.
Vocab Quizzes: Create short quizzes or engage students in oral exercises where they must define key terms. This interactive approach ensures active learning and enables teachers to identify areas where students may need additional support. To make this a little more fun, you can turn it into a game like Vocabulary Football or Basketball.
Equipping students with effective study strategies is another super important way to get them ready for their US History EOC Exam. Here 's a few ideas to
Outlining: Encourage students to create concise outlines or summaries of each unit in your curriculum. This process helps them organize their thoughts and reinforce their understanding of the material.
If you prefer, I have this complete outline review packet which is 14 pages and covers the entire US History course. A word bank is included for each page that students use to complete the outline notes.
Mnemonic Devices: Introduce mnemonic devices, rhymes, or acrostics to help students remember info. For example, the acrostic, "My Nice New Car Needs Re-Painting. Maybe Dark Violet? No Shiny Gold!" is often used to remember the 13 Colonies.
Practice Tests: Provide students with practice exams that closely resemble the format and content of your end-of-year exam. This allows them to familiarize themselves with the types of questions they may encounter and practice managing their time effectively.
I have some pre-made final exams and practice tests that you can download here.
A fun way to make a practice test more engaging is to play "Good Cop/Bad Cop" or use my Beverly Hills Cop Test Review. This activity pairs students up. One is the "Good Cop" who wants to go through each question slowly and methodically to be sure the answer is correct. The other partner is the "Bad Cop" who wants to go with his or her gut and answer as quickly as possible.
Making sure your US History students are prepared for their end-of-year exam requires a multifaceted approach. It's best to combine fun games, straightforward worksheets and packets, vocabulary activities, and effective study strategies.
When you incorporate all of these into your classroom, students will be better prepared and more likely to succeed.
If you'd like lesson plans for each day plus TONS more resources for your US History classroom, check out my complete curriculum and you'll never have to stress about a lesson all year long!
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