Friday, April 17, 2009


A great (possibly) new review game for you all to try on your interactive whiteboards this week. It is taken from the old TV game show Blockbusters. I've posted a link to a YouTube video so that you can see exactly what I'm talking about.

In this game, two teams compete against each other to answer questions. The answers to these questions begin with a certain letter of the alphabet. If a team gets a question right, that team's color gets control of the hexagon. One team is trying to complete a row of hexagons from left to right across the board before the other team completes a column of hexagons from top to bottom. Click here to go directly to the online blockbuster game. (or click the picture to the left to read a little more about it)

You can also read another description of the Blockbuster classroom game by going to the TeqSmart blog. The rules and game format they describe would be the same as you would use with the website game above. There is a video on their blog showing the game in action. TeqSmart offers a downloadable version of the Blockbuster game that allows you to type in and customize the questions. If you are intersted in this, please let me know.

This game would require a little bit of either advance planning or fast on the spot thinking in order to come up with questions that have answers that start with every letter of the alphabet (except Y and Z), but I think this game would work really well for certain chapters of study.

Let me know what you think of this tool! Have fun!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I've been encouraging my teachers to use their SMART Boards or Mimio boards to break up their times of direct instruction with 5-minute Reinforcements. Many of them have said that they find themselves only using these IWB (Interactive White Board) products for games. I agree that many of the best uses of interactive technology are gamelike in nature. However, instead of only playing a full-blown review game at the end of a chapter, why not play a mini-game or do a similar activity after each smaller section in a chapter to reinforce what the kids learned, change up the type of instruction, and appeal to the nature of children and their diverse learning styles.

Here is one resource that I think would be ideal for these 5-minute Reinforcements. is a study resource where users can create flashcards to review any topic that they desire. (Teachers and students can also browse through already created sets of flashcards, but keep in mind that the content of these other-user-created cards is not monitored.) The flashcards could then used for study.

The feature of Quizlet that I would like to focus on is one of the two games that can be played with the cards. The "Scatter" game scatters the terms and definitions around the screen. Students are then timed as they drag matching pairs together. This could be a really quick reinforcement activity. If you had premade a set of flashcards to go with the topic you just discussed, pairs of students could go up to the board and help each other get rid of all the pairs of terms. A new set of students could then come up and try to beat the previous set's time.

I can think of other ways that Quizlet could be integrated into the classroom as well. Once a flashcard set is created, you could post a link to your specific set on your class blog. Students could then review the flashcards, take practice tests, and play the basic games from home or from centers. Students could also be given the assignment of making their own flashcard set and then posting the link on their individual blog or emailing the link to the teacher. This could be an interesting variation on a homework assignment that gets students more involved with the chapter content and might provide a context for future studying.

How else can you think of integrating Quizlet?

Here are some simple instructions for creating a set of flashcards and playing the game:
1. Go to Quizlet.
2. Click on the "make flashcards" tab at the top of the page.
3. Either sign up for a new, free account of log into an existing account. If you are signing up for a new account, you will need to check your email and click on the confirmation link before continuing.
4. Click on the "make flashcards" tab again.
5. Give your new set of flashcards a title, a subject, and a description. Then simply type in the terms and definitions into the blanks provided. You may click on the plus sign on the bottom row of terms if you would like to add more cards to the set. When you are done entering information, click "create set."
6. You will then be taken to a screen like this where you can interact with the flashcard set in five different ways. This is the screen that you should post a link to for your student's use.

Enjoy Quizlet and, as always, ask for help if you need it!