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7 Review Games that Won’t Waste Your Time

7 Review Games

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Can we play a game!!??

If your students are anything like mine, you hear this question about a million gazillion times a week.

In the whiniest voices possible.

With the clear undertone that if you don’t we are going to make you regret it!!!

And while I love a good review game as much as the next person, when it comes time to review, I’m much more concerned about the review than I am about the game.

Too often review games are a huge waste of time. You spend the majority of the class period explaining the rules, trying to keep order, and watching kids run around the room with erasers on their heads.

They’re having a blast, but all too soon the bell rings and you’ve only reviewed 1/2 of what you needed to.

And then your kids bomb the test.

Fortunately, review games don’t have to be a waste of time. By choosing games that focus on the questions themselves while spending minimal time on the “game” part, you can add some excitement into your test prep without sacrificing the actual review.

Review Games that Use Time Effectively:

  1. Just give points: Divide the class into two (or more) teams and start asking questions. Call on the first hand raised, and if s/he’s right, give his team a point. If s/he’s wrong, the other teams get a chance to answer. Keep a tally on the board, and the team with the most points at the end wins.
  2. Personal whiteboards: If you’re able to invest a little money, purchase mini whiteboards (like these) and dry erase markers, enough for each student. You ask questions out loud, and the students write the answers on their boards and hold them up. The first correct answer wins a point for their team. This game wastes almost no time, and the kids love it.

    If you want to save money, you can create your own whiteboards by laminating sheets of cardboard or cardstock. Students would then write with wet-erase markers.
  3. Race at the board: Divide the class into two or three teams. One representative from each team comes to the board. You ask a question or give a problem, and the first person to write the correct answer on the board wins a point for his/her team. The catch: the students at the board only get one try. If they all miss the question, you take the answer from the first person in the audience who raises his hand. Be sure to keep this game moving to minimize wasted time from students moving to and from the board.
  4. Group work contest: Assign a set of questions or problems to be answered by the group in a set amount of time. The group with the most correct answers wins. You’re really just adding a contest to a regular assignment, but the students appreciate the twist, especially if it comes with a prize such as bonus points, a homework pass, or candy.
  5. Un-Wheel of Fortune: This is Wheel of Fortune without the wheel. Have a phrase for the students to solve (preferably a key term or concept you are studying). Divide the class into two teams and ask questions to each student, going back and forth between the teams. Tally points for each team as follows: If the student answers correctly, give one point and allow him/her to choose a letter. Award additional points for each time the letter appears. (For example, if Gavin guesses E and there are 3 E‘s, he gets 4 points: 1 for the correct answer and 3 for the 3 E‘s.) The student can then try to guess the puzzle. Award 5 points to the team that solves the puzzle.
  6. Game Show (i.e. Jeopardy): While you may think this game requires lots of pre-class prep work, it doesn’t have to. Yes, you need to set up some type of game board, but other than that all you need to do is choose categories based on the topics you want to review. When a student chooses “State capitals for 200” simply glance through your notes for an easier question. “Verbs for 2000”? Just ask a harder question.
    Click here to get a FREE digital game board.
  7. Around the World: This classic individual game still works so well! The first two students pair off against each other. You ask a question, and whoever shouts the answer first wins. The winner stands and moves to the next contestant. The goal is to move as many seats as possible before losing, at which point the losing student sits in the seat of the person who bested him. The game ideally continues until one student makes it “around the world” and gets all the way back to his own seat. Often, though, the game simply ends when time is up, and the person who traveled the farthest wins.
  8. Bonus Activity- Kahoot: Students get to be in their own game show by answering live questions on their own devices. Teachers first need to create an account at kahoot.com and then they can either use another teacher’s Kahoot! quiz or create their own. Teachers will get a game pin number to pass onto the students so everyone is playing the same game at the same time. Students love this fast-paced, exciting game!

So next time those little voices whine “can we play a game!?” you can give an excited SURE! – without the fear or guilt that you’re neglecting their education in the process.

Did you get your FREE Game Show (like Jeopardy) Game Board ?

Click here to request your free game board.

review game show board

Ensure their behavior's on point so you can play the game!

If you're feeling stressed by negative behavior and students who aren't listening (let alone trying to do a whole review game), we have a free 1-hour training that you won't want to miss.

In this free training, you'll discover how to....

  • Avoid 3 common mistakes that lead to chaos and confusion
  • Reduce chatter & blurting so your students can focus and learn
  • Handle misbehavior & discipline without feeling stressed or anxious
  • Get your students to follow procedures  
  • Do more engaging activities and group work, without all the negative behavior
  • Enjoy learning together with your students
  • And more!

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  • I just found your blog and am SO glad I did!!! I too am a Christian and view my job – as a high school English teacher – as part of my calling and ministry. I was thinking about writing a post similar to this, but you did it SO well, I think I will just share your ideas (with credit of course) instead! Thanks for such a useful post!!

    I’d love for you to check out my blog – http://www.samandscout.com – if you have a chance!
    So happy to find you!

  • I don’t think she was claiming any of these games were her original ideas. I’ve been teaching a long time, and I’ve heard of/played almost all of these games, including a couple of different versions of a football game.

    Thanks for the ideas, Linda!

  • Good ideas, however, many of them have to do with speed. I do not want my students to worry about going fast, to compete with the other team, or whatever. It is more important they understand and are able to get the answer.
    Kahoot is a good online one if your students have access to technology. …Just turn off the crazy panic music!
    I play “mathketball” where each kid answers questions on a sheet of paper and then gets to “shoot” (basketball style) their piece of paper crumpled up into a bucket. Then we go through the correct answer and anybody that made a shot gets a point for their team.
    Another one I use I call the “dice game”. Students are in groups using whiteboards (you could just do paper or iPads too) and they answer the questions individually then when “times up” (a few min for each set of problems) go through the correct answer, then each group has one dice “di” and if that person got the right answer they roll the dice. Tally scores for each group. Can keep adding rolls, or subtract one time, or multiply. If the student who had the dice got it wrong, they pass the dice to another group member who did get the correct answer.

  • I teach Spanish and do Fun Day Friday with my students – all review games. At the beginning of the year, it is mostly just vocabulary Bingo, but as we learn more, there are more game options I use. I use sheet protectors with plain pieces of white paper in them for my white boards. This also works for Bingo – the kids fill the vocabulary in a Bingo board template I give them, then slip them into the sheet protectors and use dry erase markers to mark the vocabulary they have.

  • I am a 5-8 math and 6th grade reading teacher. I found Plickers and the kids loved it! Need the cards printed (free) and an iPad or smart phone to download app. Then create the questions on the website. You log on and open app and the question can be displayed by give them by mimio, smart board, or projection. I give them some time then scan the cards using iPad. The results go right on the board. I make it interesting and do groups and give points to whichever group gets it all right.

  • Skittle bingo is awesome! Play bingo using skittles and the kids can eat them after…not great for teeth, but they love it!

  • I like https://quizizz.com/ better than Kahoot, but kids really like both. I always want to choose an activity that will gets the most kids actively engaged. I don’t feel that activities that have students taking turns provides the best reviews for all students.

    I have made personal white board with a page protector. Just put a piece of card stock in it to make it sturdier. Kids can use a dry erase marker to write on. Swifters or a piece of felt work great to use as an eraser.

  • I use tic tac toe, with a twist. After being divided into two teams, the questions begin. If some one on the “X” gets it right, they can either put an “X” or erase an “O”. Another version is to put a number in each space of the board, 1-9. Then have each number on an index card. Turn the numbers upside down. If the student gets the question correct, they turn over a card and place the “X” or “O” in the corresponding space.

  • Love these ideas and can’t wait to try them in class because my students take me to task every Friday. So I can totally relate.
    Thanks Linda.

  • I love these ideas. Reviewing with games takes the stress of the test away but yet holding them accountable ensures that their take away is meaningful. I’m excited to implement some of your ideas into my teaching.

  • Thanks for the game ideas. This is the first year I have taught 5th grade, so I needed some ideas for that age group. I usually teach 7th – HS. I am going to try the “Race at the Board” to review for our first Science quiz. I too am a Christian and teach at a Christian School.

  • Quizizz.com is great for teaching multiple kids. You can create your own quiz and have them compete online against eachother.They also have quizzes that other people made up that you can use. It’s great fun.

  • I played unwheel of fortune with my kids yesterday and they LOVED It!!! It was so fun and just made it a bit more interesting than regular teams. I made a science saying and that made it more fun. There was yelling, almost fights as the board as they competed to finish and they were soooo into it trying to win! Thank you!

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  • Tip: For personal white boards, stores like Lowes and Home Depot sell some kind of white board in lumber. It’s a panel about 4 x 8 ft. Then they’ll cut it for you. You can make 32 12 x 12 in boards for your students for about $15.

  • Great ideas to keep students busy and happy at the same time. Children like to play games no matter how the technology is effecting this kind of games, they just love to play games. I’ll try to play at least one of these games with my students.

  • I LOVE THESE IDEAS! I have two main games that I rotate during the year that my students REALLY love. One is called “Hotseat!” (adapted from my high school history teacher years ago!) and the other is called “Kings & Queens”.

    Hotseat involves student teams and rapid-fire questions related to the unit. SUPER fun and high energy!

    Kings and Queens involves students creating mini-tests ahead of time, then trying to stump one another as they sit in the front of the classroom on a “throne”. A slower-paced game but still fun and always one of my students’ favorites.

    If you (or anyone else reading this) is interested in checking them out, I’ll link them below.



    Thanks for this great post!

    In Christ,

  • I like these math activities, and I think these math activities would be able to give kids math inspiration thus leading them to learn better in school. Also math worksheets would be able to help students in practicing math, and it is a plus to students. My son does plenty of free math worksheets via Beestar, and his math grade is getting better and better.

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