I started using Quizlet when I returned to teaching 4th grade this year. I use it for just about everything...spelling, social studies, science, and math.

Quizlet is online and provides study sets for just about everything. When you sign up for a free account you can create your own study sets or use the search bar to find study sets for just about any topic you need. There is also a paid account that allows you to have a few more features like adding pictures to your study sets.

I created the set below for my students to use to study the states and capitals of the Northeast region. Even though I put the link to these on my class website and on Google Classroom I still had kiddos not taking advantage and studying before the quiz.

Then I read about Quizlet Live.

I knew it would be a great way to provide another way the children could practice the material while honing their collaboration skills.

Quizlet Live is so easy to manage and fun to play.

First, each child will need some sort of device...iPads, tablet, Chromebooks, Laptops, phones, etc. I don't have an iPad for each child (I wish I did), so I checked out our iPad cart. Then, I logged in to Quizlet, chose a study set, and clicked on the Live button.

The next screen includes the link for the students to access -- quizlet.live -- as well as the the "join code." Once the kids enter the join code, they enter their first name and wait. You need at least 6 children to join the game in order to play.

After all the children have entered their names and I have clicked the create game button, the screen below pops up. Quizlet will create random teams or let you choose the teams. I actually have 19 children but one was absent this day.

The children's screens look like this.

The kids find their teammates and get ready to work together to answer the questions. 

Quizlet Live gives the answer and the students have to find the question that matches on one (not all) of the devices in the group. Below, the Hedgehogs below are looking for the state that is abbreviated NE. 

Here, the Bears are waiting for their next answer. 

As shown below, while the teams are playing, I have projected my computer screen for all the kids to see. The Lynxes and the Hedgehogs answered a question incorrectly, which took them all the way back to zero. The first group to 12 wins and the game play stops.

You can then choose to play with the same teams, change up teams, or change to a different study set. The game time varies. I've had games take between 3 to 5 minutes. It really depends on how much they've studied and how well they know the material.

The class, as a whole, did much better on their Midwest region assessment, and are begging to play Quizlet Live with everything! 

Have you used Quizlet Live? I would love to hear how it worked in your classroom!

For years I have struggled with the end of the day pack up time. You know what I'm talking about....the gathering of backpacks, folders, papers, jackets, water bottles, lunch boxes....anything the little sweeties brought to school and need to take home for the day!

Each year I would try to make this time of day organized and fluid only to feel exhausted and frustrated after the kiddos left!

But I have found the solution.....Silent Pack Up!

My class is divided between 5 tables. Each table is numbered from 1-5. The lights are out and all the children are seated waiting for my signal to start. Each day a different table begins the packing process first IN COMPLETE SILENCE!

First, they head to their mailbox, gather their papers and their nightly folder. Then, they take these to their table spot and put any papers in their nightly folder. Next, they head over to gather their backpacks, lunches, etc. and take all these items to their table spot. Finally, they put all of their items in their backpacks, put up their chair, and wait for the next direction.

If they need to communicate with a friend it must be nonverbal. They may come and whisper a question to me if necessary.

We discuss self-control quite a bit throughout the year and this is a perfect opportunity for the children to practice being mindful on themselves.

Once we are all packed up, the children line up according to where they are headed after school. We leave feeling calm, confident, and ready of the remainder of the day.

How long does this really take you ask? At the beginning of the year.....15 minutes. By the end of the year we could do it in 7 minutes! The entire class of 6 year olds ready to go home in 7 minutes!

I love the end of the day now and no longer feel exhausted and frustrated.

How do you handle the end of the day packing with your class? I would love to hear from you!

I read a post by another teacher recently about how she didn't like the other teachers she worked with at all. After I read that I felt so sad for her and anyone in that situation. You don't have to be friends with everyone you work with but you can always find something positive in them.

There will naturally be some teachers you connect with more than others and that is okay. I began thinking about my relationship with my community. I think our school has a special charm. Everyone is wonderful and supportive. It is truly like a family. And there are always family members you get along with better than others.

Here is my question to you………Do you have colleagues you also call friend? Do you have someone in your school you can geek out with? Someone you feel comfortable saying "that lesson was a flop" or "hey, I think the homework you are sending is a bit too hard" or "....too easy?" I have been fortunate to have 4 of these people in my career. Each one different but each one a colleague and a friend.

Colleague friend #1: This person was the teacher I first began teaching with. She had been there 7 years and I remember thinking "Wow! What will it be like when I have taught 7 years?" Well, 7 years came and went and we are still together. Together as friends and together again as colleagues for almost 20 years! We knew we were destined when for one another when we each spilled iced tea on ourselves at our first lunch together. I taught 2 of her three children in Kindergarten and first grade. We constantly geeked out about research and how we were going to implement it in our rooms. LOVE HER FOREVER and have dinner scheduled with her next week. We will "beat some dead horses" as we like to say and bounce ideas off each other.

Colleague friend #2: This gal was my two girls's Kindergarten teacher. Super smart and super fun. She's been in my life for 10 years and I love her more each day. She still teaches Kindergarten and we try to attend conferences together when possible. Next summer we hope to make it to the I Teach K/1st conference in Las Vegas. When we share our thoughts about teaching it isn't unheard of for one of us to disagree or play devil's advocate with the other.

Colleague friend #3: She taught both my girls in fourth grade. I also taught with her in fourth grade. We can vent to each other and what is said between our four walls or over a Martini stays there. She loves her students and wants what is best for them. She is also great at helping them "grow up" in fourth grade while always keeping in mind that they are still 9 years old. We are lucky in our family because she will be moving to fifth grade next year and my youngest will have her for social studies which is her passion!

Colleague friend #4: We taught first grade together for 2 years but have know each other for about 7 years. My youngest had her as her first grade teacher and as her Girl Scout leader. I taught her youngest last year. Like the 3 ladies above, she is super smart and fantastic at her craft. (See how I surround myself with super smarties!) We both share a passion for researching best practices and working to implement these practices in our classroom. We aren't fans of field trips (is anyone really a fan of field trips? If you are more power to you!) and we love to geek out together especially about reading and writing! I am sad because she has moved to teach in an independent school in Fort Worth and let me tell you that school is L-U-C-K-Y! Although I won't see her everyday, we will definitely keep in touch and I'll get to see her when I go see my fam in Cowtown!

I hope you have at least one special person at work that that you can geek out with, vent to, bounce ideas off, and most importantly laugh that big make-your-belly-hurt laugh with at least 3 times a week!

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