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Jeopardy type review games have always been a favorite in-class activity for teachers. It provides an opportunity to review for an upcoming test in a manner that keeps most students engaged in the game. Competition is a part of human nature. Most students, by just being in your classroom listening to lecture or group discussions, can recall information on some level. At a minimum, they are familiar with the terms or concepts, and that gives them a chance at being successful.
Some students participate just because their friends are participating and it gives them a sense of belonging. Even if it is just agreeing that someone’s answer is correct. “I knew that…” is a common response from this subset of students. Very rarely are students completely disengaged in this type of activity.
The mechanics of the game tend to be where we use what is available to us. I will read the following question and

  1. First person to raise their hand…
  2. First person to ring the bell…
  3. First person to raise their class set of dry erase boards…
  4. First person to buzz in…

has a chance to answer the question. Technology has allowed us to advance the look and feel of these games. I once saw a teacher use PowerPoint to create a Jeopardy review game and the students seemed to really enjoy it. I’ve seen Who Wants to Be A Millionaire set ups. All you need to do is know how to set up the power points by linking a picture or text to a different slide in the powerpoint.
Pictionary. Charades. These type of games allow students to tap into their “physical” sides as part of the game. You just need to spend a little time teaching your students how to play.
Today, I decided to try something different. I wanted to encourage students to use their Quizlet notecards, but at the same time, engage the entire class in a review game. For those of you not familiar with Quizlet, it is an online study tool. You create a database of terms and definitions and it gives you multiple options for learning them.
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You can print out the database as flash cards, as seen above, or even flip through them electronically. You can create various types of practice tests, such as this matching test.
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You can regenerate the test and it will scramble the choices randomly. The only problem I had was I could only have one student/group use the laptop while everyone else waited. How could I engage the entire class? I didn’t have one of those classroom clickers programs that would tell you which kid answered first or that kept track of correct/incorrect answers. But my students did…
BYOD: Bring your own device. I asked students to take out their smart phones, open their Edmodo App (which is where I had already linked their Quizlet flashcard sets) and select the same set of cards. I had them opt for the scatter game, and VOILA… instant engagement.
quizletBYOD

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Each student had their own “game” and were given their own personal time for completion.
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I could compare times and award points based on the first, second, and third fastest times. I could also change the game very quickly. In a matter of moments, I had students select a matching quiz and take it as teams. Because the Quizlet program regenerates, it changes the answer key for each individual device so I don’t have to worry about students looking at each others’ phones for the answer to #3.
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I was able to change games on the fly, and keep the class engaged. All that was required ahead of time was entering the terms and definitions into the databank.
If you’re wondering, Quizlet is free. They have a teacher package if you want to “enroll” your students and have it track how often they are using it and what their scores are.
So, what do you think? Try it yourself and let me know what happened.

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