Thing 36: Flash Cards, Quiz Games, and More

So many tools are available for quizzes and flash cards that it is impossible to just pick one. I have used Google Forms, Quizlet, and various crossword puzzle creators.

Games can be a good way for students to learn something that they need to memorize. For example, the Quizlet below was created to help my 5th and 6th grade students memorize the titles of the books and authors for Battle of the Books. I also print out a simple set of cards so that students can play a sort of memory game using them especially if they don’t have the Internet at home.

I have seen Kahoot being used in a very active 3rd grade classroom. At the time, the students were in pairs but only one student at a time could answer the question and the teacher grouped  teams separately from the game. Kahoot has since added a team function which would increase collaboration and also competition. Creating a new quiz in Kahoot only took me as long as it took for me to find pictures and decide on questions as it was that easy to use. It only took me a few minutes to create a quiz on the parts of a book that I could use with my 1st or even 2nd grade students. The drag and drop feature for adding pictures was a simple and quick way to add visual appeal to the quiz although it did add to the time to create the quiz. If you weren’t worried about images and already had the questions ready, you could have a Kahoot created within minutes and ready for your students to use. I have created a similar quiz using Google Forms but I think the students would love the competition that Kahoot  provides.

Although I didn’t create a quiz using StudyStack, I did check out a few of the premade quizzes and enjoyed playing them. I found flashcards about nonfiction terms that I could use with my upper elementary students sort of like a pretest to see what information they know and what I still need to teach (or reteach). While exploring further, I discovered that these flashcards could be turned into different types of quizzes such as hangman, matching, and crossword. These options would allow a student to choose the method that would help them learn the best which is a big plus over some of the other options I explored.

Last year right before 4th grade science testing, I collaborated with a 4th grade class to have them create flashcards to go along with the various science terms they would need for the test. We used an app called Lifecards – Postcards by Vivid Apps to create them and students were able to add at least one picture, the definition, and a sentence using the vocabulary term. The process helped them learn the terminology and they had fun finding a picture that would help them remember — not one that I thought would be best. Below is an example of one created by one of my students.


Flashcards, games, and quizzes are a great way to engage students in something that might otherwise be tedious to them. A student creating a quiz for the class would also be a roundabout way of assessing how much that student learned without them necessarily knowing they are being assessed. Although I primarily use quizzes as an exit ticket or summative assessment, that is not the only use for them and I’ll have to remember to use them the next time I find my students bored with their current assignment..


Thing 28: Emerging Tech

As I was scanning the various articles, I noticed a pattern of student-centered learning processes: authentic learning, project based learning, and deeper thinking; all of these processes require changing how we teach students and our expectations for their learning outcomes. For too long, at least in my mind, teaching has been all about the teacher standing in front of the classroom lecturing while students sat passively at desks taking notes. What we really want is for the students to start thinking and using their learning in ways that shows they understand the importance of what is being taught. But changing my teaching takes more than my own willingness. I need support from the teachers and administrators as far as the schedule goes and providing a more flexible schedule.


Emerging tech like augmented reality (AR), makerspaces, and apps to showcase learning can be used to move toward more student-based learning. As I was reading the various articles, at first I didn’t understand what everyone meant by AR. According to Mashable, augmented reality “is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data”. Huh? I think this means taking a real-life object and linking it to something on the computer. Aurasma is an AR app that is easy to use. I have seen it used by a teacher to link a worksheet to a video providing instruction on how to complete the worksheet. I have also seen it used to link an out of date book to a website with current/accurate information. AR would be an easy way to include more visual information for students to use.

I addressed makerspaces in Thing 23 so I won’t go into too much detail at this point. I do think it is important to say that makerspaces, although a trend, provide a way for authentic learning, problem solving, and creative thinking by students. Why? Because an integral part of makerspaces is that the students decide what they are going to make, how they are going to do it, and what they will need to do to make it. Throughout the process of making something, students will need to overcome any problems that arise which often mimics what it will be like for them when they are out working in the real world.

Lastly, Joyce Valenza is encouraging librarians to rethink their collections by curating apps for different uses. I am always looking for new apps that I can use with my students but it didn’t really occur to me to put my knowledge in a place that will be useful to others in my school. Although I often share an app with my teachers that I am excited to use (like Write About This), I didn’t think to place it on my blog, or website, or even in a quick email out to all teachers. Now that I am thinking about it, I could include a quick blurb in the school newsletter about an app that parents might find useful.

Emerging tech and keeping up with trends can be overwhelming and scary but also exciting and enriching all at the same time. I can’t wait to see what the next few years hold especially when you realize that the iPad is only 5 years old. Think about it. Can you actually remember, really remember, a world without cell phones, tablets, and computers? I can but I don’t want to go back there anytime soon!

Thing 15: iPads and Apps in the Library

I am fortunate to have a set of 30 iPads available in the library. Although they are for the whole school, I have the advantage of storing them and hence first dibs to them. That said, I haven’t found a project that I could successfully use them with one of my fixed classes.

An app that I would like to use with my class is Socrative (which is also web-based). This app/website can be used like the SmartBoard Student Response System where students use a clicker to answer a question. I have a set of these in the library but getting students ready to use the clickers would take more time than I have each week. The beauty of Socrative is that the students only need to enter a number to be ready to start whatever activity is planned — quick and simple. Socrative allows teachers to create different types of “quizzes” which can be used to monitor student understanding, used as an exit-ticket, used to determine prior knowledge, or anything else you would like to test. I think any student could be taught how to use this app.

After attending a session on gaming at AASL, I recently purchased a game called Once Upon a Time. I recently used this game with my 6th grade students and they loved it. I had the students form groups of 2-3 and then handed them one of each of the different category cards. I instructed them to form a story using these cards; the story needed to make sense and could include information to help fill out the story. I only gave them ten minutes to write their story and then each group presented to the class. This addressed multiple standards including collaboration and public speaking. Although the stories weren’t perfect, especially when the students tried to make the story fit the cards, overall the students cooperated well and the stories were funny. I would like to use the iPads to have the students type and illustrate their stories and then publish them in iBooks using the My Story – Book Maker for Kids app. The students love writing these stories especially since the curriculum doesn’t really allow them to write creative stories anymore.

While perusing the various resources provided, this graphic really struck me. Too often teachers, myself included, focus on the technology and not why or how we are using the technology. I must keep in mind that technology is only the tool and not the reason.