In lesson planning, teachers tend to concentrate on the ways of introducing new material and designing a wealth of activities that help strengthen the knowledge. However, as time passes, we see that a certain portion of the newly-learnt material might be forgotten. Here arises the need for revision activities that will somehow fix the “loss”.

In this article, we will present five variations of revision activities.

1. Let students teach each other

Let your students be teachers. Divide students into groups or pairs. Assign each group a unit, grammar points, or vocabulary from their book. They must create a presentation explaining key points and a task for other groups to complete. At the end of the lesson, students can vote for the most useful presentation and activity.

2. Ask students to create tests

Tests are considered to be one of the traditional ways of revising the learnt material. Usually, textbooks have unit tests that focus on the most important language items learnt throughout the unit. However, students can make their own tests by including those language items you need to focus on. To make it more fun, ask them to use interactive tools, for example, Kahoot! or baamboozle.

3. Organise revision sessions

To make revision more effective Tony Buzan, the inventor of Mind Map, in his book Use Your Head suggest the following plan:

  1. After one hour learning, take a 10 minute break, then do a 10 minute review.

That can be done at the end of the lesson as a follow-up activity.

  1. After 24 hours do a two-four minute review.

You can remind students about the second revision via messagers: ask them to go through the studied material and write down in the group chat what they have already forgotten or complete some extra tasks.

  1. In a week do another two minute review.

Organise a warm-up activity including the material from the first lesson.

  1. In a month do another review.

That can be done in any form: a test, a speaking discussion with the target language, additional revision lesson etc.

4. Play active games

No matter what age the learners are, they are keen on playing games. In most cases, active games can serve both as means of revising and awakening a bored class.

Read more: Top 3 Games for One to One Classes

Running Dictation

is a classic ESL game that gets students out of their seats. It can be used with kids, teenagers or university students. The teacher posts target sentences on the walls. Then the class is divided into two teams: secretaries and runners. Runners try to memorise as much as possible from what is written on the walls. They keep on running and dictating the words to the secretaries until the whole passage is finished.

The team that finishes first and has the least mistakes wins. To avoid the noise of this game, students can be instructed to dictate by whispering. If any of the runners breaks the rule, their team is disqualified.

For lower-level students, you can use individual sentences unrelated to each other, targeting the vocabulary and grammar from the past lesson. After dictating the sentences, the teams need to find and underline the target language.

With more advanced learners, you can post related strips of sentences. When students finish dictating, they need to underline the target vocabulary and grammar items and arrange the sentences into a story or dialogue.

Stop the bus

is another fun and engaging revision activity. The class is divided into two teams. A person from each group comes and sits on a chair (imaginary bus) with their back to the board.  The teacher writes a word on the board. Teammates of the person “on the bus” explain the word to them. If the student guesses the word, they shout “Stop the bus!” and say the word.

In my practice, I used to write words with a letter or two missing. Students had to tell those letters or find the stressed syllable. In some cases, you may write the synonym or antonym to the target word, and students have to say the word.

Vocabulary race

is a fun and engaging revision activity. Show or read out a definition. Students need to find the corresponding word out of the words stuck on the wall. The team that finds the correct word first gets a point.

5. Play board games

Board games enable the teacher to focus on any topic or material that needs to be reviewed. To revise vocabulary, you can write target words on the board game and when the student lands on a word, they make up a sentence with it or ask a question using the word or define it, tell its synonym or antonym.

If the board game aims to revise tenses, you can have questions with the target tense used, or you can write verbs in the infinitive form and the students need to ask a question using the verb in the target tense.

Most textbooks come with resource materials, and board games are usually a part of these materials. However, you can quite easily make board games yourself by using the website In my classes, board games always top the list of revision activities.

To sum up, revision activities are of great importance since they give a chance to review and reinforce the material.

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