One of the hardest things about coming back to school after Christmas break is managing the electronic device policy. Not only have your students spent the last two weeks checking their phones every 30 seconds, many of them got new phones over the break and can’t take their eyes off the larger, uncracked screen. Here’s a way to put these new devices to good use:
Have you tried Quizlet Live? It is easy to facilitate, fun to play, and requires a cooperative effort–students have to work together to get the right answers. The challenge is that you can’t test it out without at least six people (with devices), so if you don’t have a large family or a lunch group with some extra time, you’re just going to have to wing it with the first class. Don’t worry–you can do it!
What you need to play:
A Quizlet Account (don’t pay for the Teacher Account–just sign up for the regular free account). If you’re new to Quizlet, you’ll want to come back and explore its options for study/review outside of class, but for now, let’s focus on the game.
A Study Set (a list of vocabulary words in Quizlet). If you already have an account and have set up your lists, you can use one of your own for this experiment, or you can just search for a list related to your content/topic–there are thousands of lists on the site, and you can easily copy/edit a list to match your exact needs. Choose a list, any list, and click on the Live icon.
A teacher computer/projector. Quizlet has put together a two-minute video to show you what it looks like; you can watch this, but there’s no need to share it with students. (You’ll see this video when you click the Live icon.) To get started with your class, just click Create Game in the upper right corner of the screen. After you click Create Game, project your screen so the class can see the code and you’ll see the names as students sign in.
At least six students with phones/laptops/tablets. The game will direct them to the Quizlet Live site where they’ll put in the access code and then type their first name. (Tip: Set a “first-name only policy” and delete any and all nicknames from the start. This saves time when making teams and helps you avoid the possibility of inappropriate nicknames in the future. To delete a name, just click on it when it appears in your list; the student can simply rejoin the game with his/her real name.)
If you do have desktop computers in your classroom, you can use a couple of them, too–just spread the kids out and you may have to reshuffle teams once you get started to make sure those students on the desktop computers are paired with kids with mobile devices and not each other.
That’s really all you need, plus a few spare minutes in class.
The first time you play, you will need to explain a few features of the game to the kids:
- Everyone on the team is trying to answer the same question, but the correct answer is only on one team member’s phone/device.
- They need to sit or stand near each other so they can discuss the options and help each other to choose the right answer.
- Teams earn a point for each correct answer, but an incorrect answer sends them back to zero and reshuffles the questions/answer choices.
- The first team to 12 points wins. (You’ll need to project the teacher screen so that teams can track how well they’re doing.)
It’s really that simple! Give it a try and you and your students will be hooked. After the first “training session,” you’ll be able to play Quizlet Live in just a few minutes–great for brain breaks at transition time or if you finish your lesson five minutes ahead of schedule. Go crush those tests!