Encouraging Independent Review with Quizlet

The review sessions are picking up, whether in the library, the hallway, or on Facebook.  This week I’d like to highlight one tool some teachers have used to help students do the basic work of association and memorization.

screen capture of quizlet

Quizlet is an easy online flashcard creator, but so much more.  After someone puts in a list of words and definitions (or words and images), Quizlet automatically creates a set of flashcards, a short-answer quiz, a multiple-choice test, and two interactive games that challenge students to beat the clock (and each other).

I sent a note to Lara Boles, a social studies teacher at West High,  asking her to share her experiences with Quizlet, as well as those of her students.  Keep reading below for some practical ways one teacher has successfully incorporated Quizlet into her practice and helped her kids transfer the skill of memorization from social studies to other subjects along the way.

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Quizlet in Lara’s classroom (note: bold subject terms are my insertions):

Set-up

The first year I created a set of vocabulary words and definitions for each unit in the course.  I have all the students create a quizlet account early in the semester when we are in the computer lab.  I have a link to Quizlet on my website with a reminder of the password they need to be able to access my Group.

Here are ways I use Quizlet throughout the semester:

Enrichment Activity

If we are in the computer lab working on a project as students finish their work I give them 2 choices.  They can go to quizlet.com and practice their key terms or they can play www.freepoverty.com and practice their geography.  This way all the students stay engaged in useful history review while we wait for the rest of the class to finish the assignment.

Leveraging Competition

Boys especially seem to love the competition of the “game” section of the review.  I think Scatter is the best game but once they really know the words they can play Space Race for a challenge.  It’s competitive because they race the clock for the fastest time.  They can beat their own score but they can also see the top 10 scorers on Scatter for that unit.  Since the students can recognize each other’s email addresses they know who has the highest score and they are always trying to outdo each other.

As a Smart Board Activity

With my Smartboard I have added another fun, easy dimension for reviewing.  Even in just 10-15 minutes at the end of class I can divide the class into teams of 3 (usually by rows) and each team takes a turn coming up to the Smartboard and playing Scatter in front of the class.  No one student is on the spot and working as a team takes coordination in itself.  It adds some humor to a review session.  It takes the team 25-60 seconds to finish their turn and I record the time it took them on the board.  At the end of a round we can see which team was the fastest.  I usually give that team a little reward (participation points or a treat).  If you have more time you can have each team take 2 or 3 rounds and see who has the best average.  This works on a review day or on any day I finish a lesson with 10 minutes to spare.

Encouraging Independence and Transfer

I always emphasize that Quizlet is a great way to be studying independently for the tests.  That is always a study strategy I remind them of on their study guide and it is a built-in strategy they can choose to use as much as they like.  It’s great to tell their parents about too.  I’ve even had a student this year figure out how to copy the Quizlet terms onto his phone so I know some students are taking advantage of this strategy which I wish I’d had in high school.

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So, if you can make the time to type out a list of terms (or have a student aide who can do this for you), Quizlet might be a valuable resource.  Not only might it help your students learn your content, it might also help develop some habits that will serve them well regardless of the subjects they study.

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