It seems that no matter how hard you try students just don’t ever seem to put in as much work outside of class as you would like them to; or, and this can be even more frustrating, students practice their language skills in highly ineffective ways (more on that in a future post). This fact leads to the following conundrum, how can you, as a language teacher, get students to work outside of class?
The answer is you can’t – people are going to do what they are going to do. However, what teachers can do is try to make the work they assign as relevant and (gasp!) fun as possible.
It is in this spirit that I suggest the following activity given to me by Anthony Teacher. I haven’t tried it yet but I have a good feeling about it.
1) Create a spreadsheet in Google drive
2) Create a class on www.quizlet.com
3) Have students create an account on http://www.quizlet.com
4) Share the spreadsheet with the class with editing privileges (as opposed to just viewing)
For more information on how to share a Google Doc, please watch the following video:
5) Tell students to add vocabulary words to the spreadsheet. “Where do they find the vocabulary words?” Class readings, listening activities, words boarded in class, etc.
6) Once a week, have one student copy the new vocabulary words from the spreadsheet and make a classroom set of flashcards on http://www.quizlet.com
7) Have the student “share” the flashcards with their class (this works through email, Facebook and Twitter)
While this process will take a little initial set up, it has so many benefits:
- Since both Google Drive and Quizlet are cloud based systems, they can be used from any device connected to the internet. Therefore, as long as the students have an internet connection, they can can study vocabulary (I like to use Quizlet while standing in line).
- Students forget their books, notebooks and pens/pencils all the time; they never forget their phone. If you lose your notebook or flashcards, you have to rewrite the entire notebook/all of the flashcards. With cloud storage, as long as you don’t delete your account, you can’t lose anything.
Once again, many thanks to Anthony Teacher for the inspiration.