Thursday, August 15, 2013

Incorporating Quizlet

I don't think I can say enough how much I love Quizlet.  I first discovered it when I started teaching.  If you're not familiar with it, check it out.  It's an online flashcard site.  Create a set of flashcards (or search for pre-existing ones), then complete different activities and games to practice, learn and master vocabulary!  There are lots of great features like adding pictures instead of words and sound files to model pronunciation (includes foreign languages!).

The downside is that creating new vocabulary lists is somewhat labor intensive.  I know some teachers have a student aide type them up or simply use the search feature to find appropriate lists.  Good news though - once you've either found or created the lists you like, you don't have to re-create them ever again.  I've found it's been worth the effort.

When I first started using Quizlet with my classes, I had it simply as an additional resource for them to practice and study.  But I found that even if I showed my students the site, by the end of the year they were only sort of aware of it and few were making use of it.  Last year I started incorporating it as a homework assignment and found it really did help improve student performance with vocabulary.

Here are some ways to make the transition to using Quizlet as a homework assignment go smoothly!

  • Create Classes:  There's a feature where you can create a "class."  Other users can join the class and you can add flashcard sets to the class.  Just make sure you name the class something that will be descriptive and unique enough for them to find.  

Keep flashcards (and students) organized by classes
Give each class a unique name and make sure the description is clear
  • Student Accounts:   Students will have to be logged in when they do any Quizlet activities or else the site won't be able to log the activity.  I have each of my students sign up for an account.  It's absolutely free for them to do so.  I do request that they have their first or last name somewhere in the account name just so it's easier to figure out who is who.

    To make sure there's no problems or confusion, I take all new students to the computer lab during the first few weeks of school.  Together I get them to sign up for their account, make them write it down on a sign up sheet (chances are at least a few students will forget their user name), and have them play a few of the games to get familiar with it.

    When you check to see if they've done the assignments, you just have to go to their profile page.  In the top right will be a list of their recent activities - the type of activity, the vocabulary set they practiced, and the date.

  • Know the Limitations:  If a student is signed in to their Quizlet account and does any of the activities, Quizlet will log it.  That's great, right?  So you just have to check their account to see if they did the activities you assigned?  Well, yes and no.  Quizlet logs the activity, but has no information about how the students scored on the activity or how long they engaged in it.  Technically speaking, they could just click on the link to the flashcards and it would register it on their Quizlet profile.  My only advice is DO NOT TELL THE STUDENTS THIS.  Just tell them that it logs the activity and you can see it.  
  • Quizlet as Homework:  I have my students complete two Quizlet activities per vocab unit, both due by the day of their quiz.  They need to do at least one practice activity (Cards, Learn, Speller, Scatter or Space Race) and then take a "Test."  As mentioned above, taking the Quizlet test will show up in their activity log, but it won't have any score listed.  To make sure the kids are actually doing what they need to, I make them print out their scored Quizlet test and turn it in on the day of their quiz.  I won't accept the assignment unless they scored an 85% or higher.  I tell them there's no point in practicing if you stop at 25% or 60% - the point is to increase your score and master the vocabulary.

    Whatever you decide as your requirements, make sure they're clear to the students.  Here's the Quizlet Guide I give students: 

  • Motivate Students:  As a little extra motivation, I award stickers or candy to whoever is listed as "Set Champions" on the day of the quiz.  Students love competing with each other to try and get a high score.  
Feel free to visit my Quizlet page, especially if you use Deutsch Aktuell 1 and 2 with your students.  The cards are already made - you don't have

- Frau Leonard


  1. I love you! I have been struggling so much over the summer trying to wrap my head around as to how to make me first year teaching work and here you are, again, giving me invaluable tricks and tipps! Love it! Vielen lieben Dank!
    - Frau A.

  2. Glad to help :) I know that in general starting to teach is a big ordeal (my first year... ugh...), but it's just so hard to find sources for German. Where will you be teaching?