Make “IT” Stick


This time of year, we are engaging students in many activities; trying to review information, create new connections and most of all MAKE “IT” STICK.  Helping students to find wonder, graphics, student interaction, and movement all help increase student engagement and increase the ability to process information.  Using what we know about the brain helps us plan lessons to optimally produce student learning.

Two Facts about the Brain

  • Learning engages the entire body and physiology. Increasing active movement will increase engagement and neural activity.  Increase student to student interaction to increase listening and speaking while reading and writing which will boost sensory input. Engaging students in movement, gestures, games, etc. will increase their neural input and increase the brain’s ability to put the information in long term memory.
  • Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat. We must challenge our students with complex text and content but remember that scaffolding them and supporting them will keep the threats limited and engagement guaranteed.  (Keep the carrot dangling in front of them)

Explicit instructions and modeling help to lay the foundation of learning. Providing students a chance to interact and talk helps to make the concepts make sense.  The use of graphics, movement and games will increase the brain’s ability to remember and retrieve the information.  Increasing the challenge or layering new ideas upon patterns of learning helps students develop connections and deepen learning so that it is processed to long term memory and becomes automatic.

10 review games to MAKE “IT” STICK.

10.  Attack

9.  Stinky Feet

Stinky foot page template for you to use.


8.  Use Board Games or Task Cards


7.  Swat It!

Here is a template:  4 x 4 Grid

6.  Review with a BALL!

5.  Showdown!

These next two games use the 4 answer multiple choice format. They are a bit structured but do not take any preparation to play.  The first game is not competitive but does give the opportunity for students to move and talk which help engagement. In addition, the teacher can formatively assess the class and individuals. The second version has a competitive spirit.

4.  Travel Time

3.  Stand Up!

2. Chair Race

1. Trashketball 

Happy Reviewing and remember—movement = engagement which will ultimately lead to “making “it” stick.”

**These activities were taken from Blogs I wrote last year and ideas from colleagues. Thanks to each of you for sharing!

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