5 Creative Ways to Use Quizlet
Students can have trouble remembering new vocabulary. Let’s face it, it can be quite boring! Quizlet is a tool that can allow teachers to engage their students and promote vocabulary building activities in and out of class. We did a webinar walking you through the basics of using Quizlet and some of the most engaging features of this tool.
If you’re not sure how to use Quizlet, check out our 30-min step-by-step video. If you’re good to go, then here we go with our top five creative ideas on how to make Quizlet even better!
Teachers don’t have to be the only ones creating Quizlet study sets. Get your students involved and you’ll see how their engagement increases, along with their learning. In this first idea, you can have students not only make their own study set but also record their own voice as the audio that accompanies the word.
I have students add a “term”, then record an audio with an example sentence for each one along with an image that represents it as the “definition”. Once they have made their own study sets, I organize them into different pairs each class and have them practice with their partner’s set. You could also do this in a larger class, where each small group has a set number of words and they are rotated among the members of the group each week.
Remember Quizlet can be used for so much more than just learning vocabulary, so why not give it a go with content. If you’re teaching using methods like Content Bases Learning (CBL), Task-Based Learning (TBL), or Project Based Learning (PBL) this could come in very handy! Students can create a study set with questions and short answers, True/False, or trivia on their topic. Keep in mind the answers (or “terms”) should be only one word or at most two because a lot of the exercises will ask students to type their answer. It can be shared with peers in a similar way as the vocabulary activities.
Collaboration is what we should be aiming for in today’s classroom. One way that I use Quizlet to do this is by splitting my classes into smaller groups and giving each person in the group a role. I usually assign each role a different task for Quizlet. If I were doing a project on how to protect the environment, here’s what it might look like:
STUDENT 1: Find 5 ways to protect the environment (definition) and add an image (term).
STUDENT 2: Find 5 facts about the environment (definition) with an image (term).
STUDENT 3: Identify 5 vocabulary words from the first two study sets to create a new one that contains a term and its definition.
STUDENT 4: Write 1 sentence for each vocabulary word as a fill-in-the-gap exercise.
Here students would need to work together because even though each student has a different task they all need to work together. I would do this class in two parts. First, students 1 and 2 would bring in their study set. Then in class as a group, they would approve it and choose the vocabulary words. In the second class, students 3 and 4 would bring their sets and again the whole group would approve them. Once the sets are ready, share them with another team. The sets can be rotated weekly to different groups during the project. This is a great way for them to brainstorm and build vocabulary to prepare for the project.
Don’t underestimate the importance of solo work in class. Sometimes each student wants to go at their own pace and this will go a long way in helping them learn better. I sometimes give my students time in class, about 10 to 15 minutes, to use Quizlet to study a set however they want. During this time I can go around and guide them, make sure they’re using the app correctly, and are staying on task. This is great for a couple of reasons. First of all, we’re giving them options. Giving the students a feeling of power over their learning is one of the best ways to get them truly engaged. Secondly, they can go at their own pace. If they’re already comfortable with the study set, they’ll probably jump to the testing or games features, whereas someone who is not familiar yet with the terms or content will practice in more controlled Quizlet features. Either way, they are all learning.
Quizlet Live is by far one of my favorite features. A great way to use these features it to set up a tournament with Quizlet Live. You can organize teams of four students to participate in the tournament. The best way to do this is towards the end of a period or semester, where you can add all of the vocabulary words. The more you have the better so they last the whole tournament. To find out more about how Quizlet Live works, watch this video.
One thing to keep in mind is the rules that you set up so that the game depends on a collective knowledge and collaboration, rather than individual knowledge. Here’s a great article I read where you can find more information on how to set up your tournament. One more thing to consider is your student’s level. If you have a multi-level group try to offer a handicap that can even the playing field. What I usually do is that we play the first round on equal terms, and if a team wins by a lot then they have to do the second round with a few extra conditions. I have the winning team stand up and instruct them they can’t show each other their screens. This requires them to discuss among themselves before choosing an answer, giving more time to the other team and compensating for the linguistic advantage.
Quizlet can be brought into the classroom even if you don’t access to the right technology. Quizlet has a feature that lets you print out your study sets. I’ve done this when my students don’t have their own devices or stable internet connection in the classroom, or simply when I prefer to have a tangible activity rather than a digital one.
There are a few ways you can print them off, but my favorite is the SMALL version because it doesn’t waste too much paper and has all the information you need in just the right size. Here are some ideas on how you can use the printed Quizlet flashcards:
- Mingle activities: Have students swap flashcards by guessing terms. Each student gets the same number of flashcards to begin and then they have to walk around and describe their term to a classmate, who should try and guess the correct term. They only get one chance and if they get it right they can get the flashcard. Then they switch and the other student has a chance to get a new flashcard. They can’t move on to another partner until they’ve gotten a new flashcard.
- Collaboration: If you have more advanced students they can group up with their flashcards and come up with a story using all of the words on the flashcards. You can extend this activity, here are just a few ideas how: they can turn it into a play and perform it, record the story and drawing pictures to narrate it to make a video, or simply write the story.
- Sentence building: If they are basic students, then instead of having them write a full story, they can write sentences using the vocabulary words as a group.
Check out some more ideas on how to use flashcards in class.