This is a contributed post from Rory Yakubov, better known as iteachalgebra on Instagram, covering how she uses Quizlet in a math classroom.
“Mrs. Yakubov, are we doing Quizlet live today?” is easily the BEST question my students ask me when they enter my classroom. My favorite response: “Yes, we are!” At that time, every one of my students knows this class period is going to be awesome.
I teach Algebra 1 at Old Bridge High School in New Jersey. After receiving a classroom set of laptops last school year, I was instantly ready to start using them in any way I could, but I wasn’t sure where to start. After seeing a teacher on Instagram use Quizlet in her classroom for an English class, I was immediately intrigued and figured there must be an easy way to make this website/application work in my math classroom.
How I organize my math content on Quizlet
I created a free teacher account (I now use a paid account for all the bonus features!) and began to make my first study set. I realized very quickly that to make the best study sets for math problems, the math problem’s answer should be typed in the left-hand side for the “term” and the actual problem should be typed in the right-hand side for the “definition.” For example, If I want to type in the equation of “2x + 1 = 7”, I would put that in as my definition on the right, and then I would type “x = 3” in for its term. Problems can even have the same answers and it won’t affect practicing the study set, which is very helpful for my solving equations study sets where solutions may be the same [ed note: In Match and in Test only]! I can make study sets where multiple systems of equations have “no solution,” and Quizlet will let the students choose either of the identical responses as the answer!
I began to make a study set for each lesson that I was teaching — they are just SO easy to create and edit! Some of my study sets have 10 problems in them, while others have 50+. I even quickly learned to merge specific lessons together to make quiz and test study sets out of the individual sets I created.
Making a study set for math is easy. For me, the default language for typing in terms and definitions is English. By clicking on Language, I can select the option for Math, and a whole series of math symbols are available. And with a Quizlet Teacher account, I can now add in pictures of graphs, number lines and any picture I may need for the problem. I can also copy problems I have made and change them up to make a new one.
I set up classes within my teacher Quizlet account: one class per period that I teach, and I had my students create free student accounts and join my class. This way, every time I created a new study set, the students get an email or notification on their Quizlet app on their phones (oh yes, I strongly encourage every student to put the app on their phones!) that a new set was created.
“Mrs. Yakubov, I received about 15 emails about new study sets you created this weekend,” said a student of mine last year, as I was in a creating frenzy. “Yes! Aren’t you so excited!?” was of course my response. Yes, I am that crazy math teacher.
How my students study
My students started using the study sets immediately within my classroom; I would teach a lesson and then my students would access the study set and use some of my favorite practice options: Learn (where I prefer the students change the setup options so it is multiple-choice only), Flashcards, Match (some of my students are completely obsessed with this challenge), and the Test option. Those all work so nicely with every math problem study set I have created. It’s pretty much MAGICAL and a busy teacher’s dream that I can create a study set, and Quizlet INSTANTLY creates all these amazing ways for a student to learn the information.
Where do my students do all the work? Students use a class set of dry erase boards and markers (I keep a caddy full of these materials in the center of each student table) to do any work for each problem – no paper is needed unless students choose to use pencil and paper. Anytime my students use dry erase boards and want to keep their work, I let them take a picture of it with their phones for future reference.
My favorite: Quizlet Live
The crown jewel of Quizlet is of course, my all-time favorite activity: Quizlet Live. This activity has been such a game-changer in my classroom. The engagement levels go through the roof when my class plays – and I am 100% involved in the excitement as well.
Students use their dry erase boards to do any work needed, discuss what the correct answer should be, and then have the student with the answer on their screen click the answer. A correct answer sends the group one notch up on the scoreboard, while an incorrect answer sends the group back to zero.
I have my students play Quizlet Live in a few different ways (but there are so many more than this!). Sometimes after a few traditional rounds, I will then switch the groups up, but I will not let the students sit with their new group. They can still talk to their team members, but it’s harder now to communicate clearly. It’s referred to as the CHAOS method — which is what it is. Pure golden, chaotic engagement. It’s so much fun to watch and facilitate the game in this style; I feel like I’m on the trading floor at the stock market, and I cannot get enough of it. The last method I will use is a version of CHAOS, but it’s a silent round. Students are not with their group, and they cannot talk to each other. It’s tough - with no assistance, students really need to know the answer. The stares that go across the room are classic; students who know they do not have the answer and are patiently waiting for a team member to click away. It might sound super stressful, but it is all in good fun — and I am so thankful my students all play into the fun the way I want them to!
Taking Quizlet home
Lastly, my students also started to use the study sets at home on their phones, tablets, or home computers. Within a couple quick clicks, every one of my students can easily practice the problems I need them to study. Instead of making paper copies (I have such guilt over the amount of paper I have wasted in previous years) of review materials that students may do once and then discard, Quizlet lets my students practice a problem, get that instant feedback, and then retry it again if they choose to — a process that can be so important in mastering math skills.
I am so happy about what Quizlet has done for my classroom, my students, and me! It has given me so many new opportunities to keep my students engaged, on track, and focused on the skills I am teaching. I share so much on my social media account about how I use Quizlet in my classroom in hopes that other teachers and their students will get the same amazing experience in their classrooms. I also gladly share the 100+ study sets (my username is YakubovMath) that I have put together for Algebra 1 (along with help from my Algebra 1 coworker, another Quizlet lover, Mrs. Fran Capone) with anyone who would like to use them, copy them and/or edit them for their own classrooms! I also share pictures, videos, and tutorials about Quizlet on my Instagram account @iteachalgebra. If you have any more specific questions about using Quizlet in your math classroom, you can contact me through my Instagram page.