90-Second Recap Activity

The energy levels in my classes—including my own energy level—have been pretty low this week, so yesterday I put a new spin on something we’ve done before.

At the beginning of each class, I displayed a simple 90-second timer that I had created in PowerPoint (by applying a wheel exit animation to a circle), along with a pair of key terms from our previous lesson. Then I asked everyone to grab a partner, get something to write on, and make a list of as many things as they could remember about each key term before the 90 seconds ended. “Annnd … go!”

A PowerPoint slide labeled "retrieval practice," with the terms "Qing Dynasty" and "Ottoman Empire" next to a blue circle that has a growing slice disappearing from it.

Afterward, I asked the groups to volunteer their list totals, and then to call out specific things they’d come up with.

This activity resulted in a lot of animated discussion. Better yet, the high energy carried over into other discussions later in the day’s new lesson.