Monday, April 27, 2015

Collaborative Card Decks with Quizlet

I gave my students a choice to make a slide presentation as a study aid for the Roaring Twenties or Quizlet decks. Without hesitation, they chose Quizlet.

Then, I realized that it would be hard to collaborate and mentioned that Quizlet needs to figure out sharing work space like Google. A student in the back said, "Oh, we can do it, Mr. Zahner. We'll just combine the decks that each student makes."

This is what happens when students have choices. They take control. What's better than that?


Here's what they did.

1. Group students and assign topics.

I knew that there were five topics for the Roaring Twenties, so I had the students group into four or five each. The topic outline (Google Doc) was on the screen and accessible through Google Classroom. This made it easier for students to follow along as I assigned groups topics and individual subtopics.

2. Students research their topics for keywords, vocabulary, and main ideas.

At this point in the year, my students have practiced a variety of reading strategies, so determining the main ideas as they learn about their subtopics was not something that needed much support. I gave them a range of about three to five terms or keywords to use in their deck.

The expectation was that the choices they made would help someone using the deck learn about the subtopics and how they relate to the topics and unit big ideas.

3. Quizlet decks are made based on the research results and include images.

Once the students chose the terms for their decks, I reminded them to use the background they read to decide which auto-define suggestions are the strongest descriptions. A reasonable definition places the term in context and is no more than three lines (which is not always possible).

This step exercises their evaluation skills and encourages them to refer back to their research to be sure of the accuracy of their choices.

4. Combine the decks to make one per group.

Someone in each group had to combine the other group members' decks to make one deck. This was a good opportunity to reinforce the importance of using naming conventions. It could also help students become more responsible with their management of digital files on the front end of the project. I tell them that it's like writing a proper heading on paper-based work.

5. Make the group topic title on the review a link to the deck.

My favorite way to share resources with my students is through linked text on a Google Doc. It allows me to share the resources in the curriculum document or unit outline, for example.

Teaching students to share via link is a skill they can take to other classes and beyond high school.
Assessment Ideas
The assessment for this review lesson could be
  • Ten minutes of game practice (progress tracked on Quizlet)
  • Multiple choice questions with Plickers, Poll Everywhere, or Google Forms (kids like Plickers)
  • Write a haiku for each of the card decks (great for National Poetry Month – April)
Here's an example of a deck that one group made by combining their individual decks. Access the other decks on this Google Doc.