The Power of the Fill-In

One type of review activity I enjoy using in my classes is the fill-in. These simple retellings of stories, chapters, or passages help students identify important pieces of information as well as force the students to reread information in a second way. I try to use one once a week or every other week.

Creating a fill-in is easy but takes a bit of time. I compose a summary of a story and then take out every few words or just the key words or names. In this way I can ensure that the students are reviewing the most critical information, and the students read the selection in a second manner.

Here is an example of a Fill-In (creation-fill-in) I use when teaching Greek/Roman Creation.

1. I have the students take notes on the story. Sometimes I read it to the class (read-alouds are always good for students, no matter their ages), and other times I have the students read it on their own. Regardless, I require the students to take notes as they go. With the Greek/Roman Creation story I also have the students create a mini-family tree of the first figures.

2. Then, I have the students try to fill in the blanks in the fill-in I created using only what they remember.

3. Next, I have the students use only their notes to fill in more blanks.

4. Lastly, I have the students use their books and/or a partner to complete the rest of the fill-in.

Have you used fill-ins with your teaching? What tips can you provide for using or making them?

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