Teacher's Tips:
Review! Review! Review!

Red Bar

Teach the Learner
Jazz Chants
"A student needs to repeat a word 60 times before they really learn it." That's a lot of repeating and reviewing! As teachers, our job is to help the student be successful, and that means we will keep repeating and reviewing until they get it. Teachers tire of reviewing long before students.
What is the worst method used for reviewing?    The worst
So...the question is, how to make it interesting?

Below is one of our memory projects from Passport to the World of English, Book Two, but you could substitute one of your own choice.

Island No Man is an Island

No man is an island,
     no man stands alone.
Each man's joy is joy to me,
   each man's grief is my own.
We need one another,
   so I will defend
Each man as my brother,
   each man as my friend.

by Joan Whitney
  and Alex Kramer (1950)

After learning your selected passage, try your hand at making puzzles using the words in the poem.*
      Rough Draft of Crossword Puzzle
      Rough Draft of Word Search Puzzle

These may be put on an overhead transparency and used in the classroom. Let students come up one at a time and fill in one word. A handout may be given to the student to do it again at home.
(Repeat, review, repeat, review!)

No Duck is an Island
This project takes a little time to get the props, but is a sure-fire way to get them to remember the poem - and lots of fun too.

In our class, after the demonstration, every student came up and recited the poem. (Okay, they had a little coaching from their classmates.)


Materials Needed
  • 1 large shallow bowl, at least 7 inches deep
  • 4-6 rubber ducks that will fit into the bowl
  • 1 large pitcher
  • 1 menacing animal (or use something typical for your area). I chose a shark on a stick. At the opposite end of the stick there is a trigger that opens and shuts the mouth of the shark. 99¢ at a toy store.
  • 1 fence that will go across the bottom of bowl
  • Labels for the bowl: East, West, North, South, God
  • An island out of cardboard
  • Small amount of Stick Tack, (a rubber-like substance that allows you to stick to other surfaces with out marring surfaces.)
  • Write on card stock and cut out labels: "East," "West," North," "South," "God" and glue on the upper north, south, east and west top inside edges of the bowl.
  • Stick the "God" sign on the pitcher.
  • Fill pitcher with water
  • Make your fence out of cardboard or buy at the toy store in a package of farm animals for 99¢ has a fence in it.
    Using Stick Tack, put fence together and adhere across the whole bottom of the bowl, crossing at the center, thus making four sections under the labels East, West, South, North
  • Cut a piece of cardboard just a little larger than your little duck for the "Island."
Now you're ready to play!

Put ducks in bowl. Fill in just enough water to float the ducks yet keep them behind their fences! Start off by showing some of the ducks are from the West and some are from the East, North and South and are fenced off. Each is neatly tucked into their own section.

Slowly take the pitcher marked "God." Start pouring the water in slowly saying something like, "When God enters the picture, he pours down his Spirit of love." Keep pouring until all the ducks rise above the fences and get all mixed up together. "As God's Spirit and love come down on us, our barriers are removed and we are united as in a family. Where are the ducks from the East? Where are the ducks from the West? We can't tell anymore. They are all mixed together."


Put one of the ducks on a little island, away from all the other ducks. Start off your poem saying,
No man is an Island.
     Pour a little water over the duck and let the island slip out from under it, allowing it to mix with the others
No man stands alone.
      You may need to help pull the island away:
Each man's joy is joy to me.
     Bounce the water and make the ducks jump up and down
Each man's grief is my own.
     Turn the ducks on their sides and saying the above sadly
We need one another
     Get the shark out and race it around the outside of the bowl. Let the ducks all huddle in a bunch.
So I will defend
     Line a few of the ducks in a line of defense in front of the other ducks. Toss the shark away.
Each man as my brother, each man as my friend
     Let the ducks bounce around freely, mixing with one another. Go around shaking hands with one another (or hugging if appropriate for your culture).

Go over the poem several times, each time using the following clues:

  • Hold up the island, put it in the water
  • Put duck on island
  • Bounce the water up and down
  • Turn duck on it's side, making a sad frown
  • Shark!
  • Line up ducks in defense
  • Let the ducks mix freely with one another
  • Shake hands all around
Now let the students come up and try to recite the poem. Encourage the class to give the clues or come up and help.

The next time you meet, have the ducks, fences and shark. Let them retell the poem. (Review! Review! Review!)

*Crossword Puzzle
  If you would like the masters to these two puzzles, send me an email with your address and I'll be glad to mail them to you.

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ESL Ministry
Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church
1801 Lacassie Avenue Ball Walnut Creek Ball California 94596 Ball  925-935-1574
Joanne Rae Meads Ball jrmeads@worldnet.att.net
September 16, 1999

© Copyright 1999 by Joanne Meads, All Rights Reserved