Revision is a tricky nut to crack, especially for literature students where the topics for revision are as wide ranging as quotations from the text to feminist readings to historical context.
Jenga Revision is just one of the ways I help student memorise everything they need to know.
Here’s how I do it:
1. Get hold of your Jenga blocks (you will need felt tips as well)
The cheapest Jenga blocks I have found are these mini Topple Towers from Poundland. Just £1 each. The tower doesn’t stand much higher than 15cm. But that makes it perfect for small group work.
*Note – buy the cheapest ones you can – because these will be unfinished wood and easier to write on with felt tip!*
2. Decide what you are going to write on them.
When I started out using this activity, I was totally laid back about what went on the blocks. A few years on and I’m a little wiser. Here’s what I learnt:
Colour code the categories – so red for direct evidence from the text, blue for historical context, green for key literary terms.
Get students to plan / find the information first – no writing on the blocks until you’ve written it on paper (this can help avoid lots of repetition too)
Brevity rules! The blocks can only take 1 or 2 words – so precision is needed.
Neatly does it – some of those boys need to earn the right to write. Prove to me you can be legible, gentleman!
3. Get working on making the blocks. Depending on the number of texts to be revised, I will either allocate each group a different text or split the chapters or sections across a number of groups.
4. Get your game on. Here are the rules of the game.
# Choose who goes first (tallest, shortest – I don’t mind).
# Person number 1 pulls out a block and uses the information on it to ask a question of someone else in the group. For example – say the block has the name “Crooks” on it. The questioner could form any question that will give them the response Crooks. The harder the question, the better. Which character in Of Mice and Men has their own chapter? Who does Curley’s Wife threaten to string up? Which character in the novel reads a lot?
# If the response is correct, then the responder is given that block to start making their collection. They then take the next turn.
# If the response is incorrect, then the questioner keeps it (for their collection). And they keep taking turns and keeping blocks until someone answers correctly.
# The winner is the one who has the most blocks when the tower is completely gone. This encourages them to make the questions as difficult as possible.
And that my friends is how we play revision Jenga!
Thanks for reading.