I’ve taught in multiple states, and I have found that one commonality among teacher evaluations is the focus on “student-driven” instruction.  For some teachers, this is frustrating.  How can you be expected to teach the standards AND allow students to choose what is taught?

Unit Concept ReviewUnit Concept Reviews are perfect for this, because they allow students to choose what standards need extra focus.  I use these at the end of a unit, when I want students to reflect on what skills they have mastered and with what skills they need remediation.

Learn how these little slips of paper have become a pivotal part of my final assessment.

What Is It?


In the most simple terms, it is a slip of paper that is divided into three columns:concept review

  • Column One:  This is left empty so students can mark their level of confidence with the skill
  • Column Two:  Here I copy/paste the standards that we focused on

Teacher Tip:  It could be helpful to write them in more student-friendly language (for tips on that, see my post here)

  • Column Three:  I give examples of activities we did that focused on that skill so students have a concrete example of how to apply the skill.  It’s easier for students to think, “Oh, that plot-character ladder was hard for me to understand” than “I have a tough time understanding how characters influence plot events.”

How do I use it?

Step One: I pass these out to students a few days before the final assessment.  I often give students three options to indicate their confidence with a skill (either a 1,2,3 scale or three different symbols).  At the end of class,  I collect them.

Step Two: I make myself a chart with the standards, then go through listing the students who indicated that they feel “kind of confident” or “not confident” with the skill.  This doesn’t have to be anything fancy – I usually just use a piece of scrap paper and jot down student initials.

Teacher Tip: I also make sure to double-check that students who listed “very confident” are actually demonstrating mastery.

Step Three:  I determine review groups for the next few days.  I like to do this in a station format.  Students who have indicated that they want extra help will meet with me for direct instruction while the other students will work on an extension activity

Teacher Tip:  Don’t overwhelm yourself with the extension activity – this is a great time to incorporate creative writing, or paired texts by having students read a similar poem or short story

concept review2

My Reflection After Using These:

  1. When students are given the option to receive extra help, it can be surprising how many will choose that option.  I was afraid I would have too many students who hadn’t mastered a concept simply mark “confident” for all, but more often students who I felt had mastered a concept indicated that they wanted an extra boost of review.
  2. These are FANTASTIC pieces of evidence to put in your portfolio if you need to keep evidence for evaluations.  They show student-driven instruction, data collection, and use of data to influence your instruction.  In other words, using them makes you look like the superstar teacher you are.
  3.  I don’t need to create elaborate, knock-your-socks-off lessons to review each standard.  These can be simple, straight to the point, direct instruction lessons.  They are meant to get to the meat of the standard, not “wow” the students.
  4. These are a great way to organize your units.  I would make them before making my final assessment by copy/pasting all of the different activities we did into the appropriate standard box.  This helped me make sure that all of the standards I thought I had taught were truly focused on.

Download the template for Unit Concept Reviews HERE!