I’m going to go on a limb and say that the chances are if you’re a world language teacher you know about Quizlet and have probably even used it to supplement activities in your classroom. Just in case you haven’t heard about Quizlet, it’s a website that creates various activities – from games to practice tests – using vocabulary terms. I upgraded from the free account because the upgraded account allows me to upload images and record my own audio – both of which work great for MovieTalk practice! You can also check class progress, have unlimited classes, your students don’t have to see ads, and supposedly you also get faster support.
This past spring Quizlet released a new game: Quizlet Live. Quizlet Live is an attempt to get in on those social games like Kahoot! that are so popular. However, I find that Quizlet Live is above the rest when it comes to social games because the students play on/in teams and because it provides instant feedback on what students know and what they’re confusing frequently. Students begin by going to Quizlet.live and entering the code to play (much like Kahoot!), and the website then places them in teams with an animal mascot. During the game students work in their teams to match vocabulary. Students have to work together once a vocabulary term in shown because only one student on the team has the correct answer. If the correct term is matched up, the team gets the point, but if they guess incorrectly they lose all of their points. The first team to reach 12 points wins. Each team’s progress is displayed on the projector for all to monitor. Once the winner is revealed, Quizlet Live shows which terms students know well and what ones they confuse frequently and with what.
Another bonus is that most likely you will be the only teacher with them gem in your toolbelt. So often, I find that students lose interest in games (like Kahoot!) because every teacher in the building has heard how great it is and it becomes over used.
It is up to the teacher to make this activity more than drill-and-kill. Quizlet took the first step to make this a comprehensible activity for students by providing the team animals in Spanish. Luckily, most chosen animals are cognates and correlating images of each animal remain displayed on the students’ screens as they play. I’m unsure if this exists in other languages, so if you teach a language other than Spanish you will have to investigate.
In summary, to capitalize on Quizlet Live you want to use it to give you and your students something to talk about. Here are my tips to get the most language out of Quizlet Live:
- Read the code numbers in the target language (TL) and have students repeat as you point at the screen. Vary it up once students get bored with this routine. For example, say the number and clap in between each number or sing the numbers to a well-known tune. Have another student come up and do be the “mini-teacher” and you pretend to be the student getting their numbers wrong all the time so the class has to repeat again. Brains crave novelty – especially with something so fact-based – so change it up!
- Don’t allow students to sit together as Quizlet Live suggests. I quickly learned that the “smartie” in the group will take over and there’s a lot of English. However, I did allow students to engage with their teammates orally in the TL. I allowed students to help their team by yelling ¡No lo tengo! (I don’t have it!) and ¡Lo tengo! (I have it!) as it applied. Some students even put two and two together and began asking, ¿Tienes…? (Do you have…?).
- Celebrate the heck out of the animals/teams! Again, repeat the animals in the TL and ask, ¡¿Quién es un tiburón?! (Are you a shark!?) like you really care who is and who isn’t. Have them raise their hands as a group, and then have them make a relevant animal noise as a team. After all the teams have been identified, clarify for your knowledge, Hailey, ¿eres tú un tiranosaurio? (Hailey, are you a t-rex?) and have them respond to you using full sentences. Ask someone on the team to tell you who else is part of their team.
- As the teams play report their scores out loud in the TL and yell encouragement in the TL, too. Get excited for those winning and support those who are struggling. They will mirror your engagement!
- Offer candy to the winners – NOT because they need something to win, but because it gives you another opportunity to practice speaking. I bought a variety pack of candy for $10 at the beginning of the year (it seriously lasted me ALL year!). Students first had to tell me if they wanted a candy or gum. Once they chose, I then asked what flavor they wanted. Students only received their prize if they responded in full sentences and in Spanish.
I have yet to try Quizlet Live with a specialized version that includes images and audio recordings (like for a Movietalk). I will report back once I’ve tried it!