27CC936B-DB3A-4238-AFF3-99E20B049E5F copy.jpg

This post was contributed by Stephanie Sheridan, a Spanish teacher in Illinois.

We've all learned that repetition is incredibly important to committing vocabulary to long-term memory. This is the big idea behind comprehensible input and many of the strategies used in a TPRS classroom: Kids need to hear us say it over and over again. But what percentage of kids actually hear each and every repetition? How many of them just tune out?

And how many of them only need to hear something once while their classmate may need more repetitions than we can possibly provide in one class period? Enter Quizlet: a fabulous tool for just this kind of differentiation.

Quizlet is not a new resource. It's been around since 2005 and I've been assigning Quizlet activities for years for studying before assessments. Recently, however, I started using it as part of a flipped classroom approach and it's changed everything for the better.

How I use Quizlet as part of my flipped classroom

​First, I create a Quizlet set (i.e. a list of terms) for my students and have them practice the words for homework. I keep the lists short — under 20 terms, but ideally under 10 — which is really important because we know the human brain can only learn about 7-10 new words a day. I give them instructions to use one of the study tools with the audio (Flashcards, Learn, or Speller) before they can play the games or take the test. It's important to me that they hear the words pronounced correctly.

22B1F5F4-81C0-4430-A42D-CCC2889509DA copy.jpg Listening to Spanish audio while using Flashcards mode on Quizlet.

When I first introduce this approach to my students, I model how to use the sound feature on Quizlet and why that is an expectation. We also talk about people’s unique learning styles, and I tell them that “Some of you will need to spend 10 minutes on this, and some of you will need 20, and that’s OK. Do what works best for you.”

In addition to studying on Quizlet, my students always complete a vocab page with three columns: Español, Inglés/Definición, Foto/Clave (see example here). I fill in the Español column for them and they fill in the other two, drawing a picture or writing a mnemonic device in the final slot. Originally, I would use this as a mini-assessment the following day, but now I assign it as homework and they use their Quizlet set to help fill it in.

The next day, for our homework check we play a game of Quizlet Live. Students are really motivated to spend enough time studying so they can be on the winning team; nobody wants to be the weak link by not doing his or her homework!

Being able to “flip” my classroom with Quizlet has cut down tremendously on the amount of class time I devote to teaching vocabulary. We are now able to spend more time doing meaningful activities and using the words in context. It is really having a positive impact on student learning as well!

Try it out for yourself

Want to try this approach in your own classroom? Here are two sample Quizlet sets that match the example vocabulary template above. These are the same lists, but differentiated with terms in Spanish to English and Spanish to Spanish:

Stephanie has been teaching Spanish since 2006. She is truly passionate about education, and spends a lot of her free time writing curriculum for Teachers Pay Teachers, researching new technologies, and volunteering in the Latino community. She is also a Quizlet Teacher Ambassador.