The end of the school year is a hard time to generate successful learning in the classroom. Everyone – teachers and students alike – struggle to stay focused and motivated in the last few days. Over the last two years, I have been using an extremely simple and successful tool to review and maximize every minute of class time.

The goal is that as a class we read through all of the Gemara we have covered over the course of the year. We do this together as a class. Every student is focused and paying attention the entire period. How does it work?

Here are the rules of engagement:

  1. Each period every student receives a participation grade
  2. The only way to lose a point is either by talking out of turn or not having the place when called upon to read (NOT for being unable to read, translate or explain the Gemara correctly)
  3. The teacher chooses students at random to read, changing the reader quite frequently to keep everyone on their toes.

Every time I do this activity I am amazed by the attentiveness of the students. I am even more amazed by their eagerness to read and test themselves to see if they remember the material. Above all, it is a great way to stay productive and help students review the material.

Try it out and let me know how it goes!