A New Look At A Familiar Tool

Quizizz Improvements and A New Twist on Parent/Teacher Conferences

One of the best things I’ve done this year is to take the timer option off of our daily Quizizz. As I delved into Tech with Heart with the author, Stacey Roshan, in a Voxer book study, I realized that even my own children need time to process somethings and that needing time to process is not a reflection on their intelligence. I myself need time to think through some things and not others, so I have taken the timer off, permanently. And just when my students wondered how to settle all of the ties for first because there was no timer as the deciding factor, Quizizz brings in “streaks!” It tracks and displays how many streaks students accrue, when they lose them, and they can also see how their friends are faring. Streaks can help break the tie when more than one student has a perfect score, and it increases the student engagement in the content. They do NOT like to lose a streak.

Highway to the danger zone

The biggest improvement, though, is the addition of “redemption” questions. My students LOVE those! I am so glad that they get a second chance on some questions that they missed. They are paying more attention to what they miss and why they may have missed it. It is a great way to help students see that they can get a perfect score without being perfect, that there are second chances, and we can learn from mistakes. Sure, I may be reading a bit into this new update, but it still holds true.

This family had the top score for the Spanish Quizizz. Siblings joined in too!

Gonna take you

As parent/teacher conferences drew near, I mulled over ways to create fun for families. Conferences, even sometimes when student-led (and I highly recommend them) can still have the feel of “Here’s what your child did wrong” or “If only your child did this” and you get the drift. We need to dispel that negative vibe in order to get more parents to attend, and so while discussing this casually with some sophomores in English II, an idea was born. A Quizizz challenge: Parents vs. Students and then family with the highest accuracy rating would be the champions for the night! This was crazy, and more than once I thought about not going through with it, but then I channelled my inner Cannonball In attitude and dove in head first (So not a cannonball technically, but one in spirit). My students were not nearly as hesitant.

Right into the danger zone

Using the “teleport” feature that Quizizz offers and is AMAZING, I could import questions from the quizzes that I used throughout the quarter to create the Parent/Student challenge Quizizz. It did not take much time at all, and then I had tabs open for each class (English II and Spanish using Quizizz and Mythology using Kahoot). Let the games begin! Families arrived and after greeting them, I ushered them to the awaiting Chromebooks. My students were excited to beat their parents, but I reminded them that we were also tracking their overall family accuracy. That addition had an entertaining result. Some students wanted to have the top family score, so once they had a commanding lead or were completely finished, they assisted the parent in answering the questions. Some students did not care about the overall score and just wanted to trounce their parents. Some parents wanted to trounce their high schooler, so they refused assistance. Only two parents said words not allowed generally in school when they missed a question, but as I only did one family at a time (except toward the end, two families did it together), nobody else heard anything. It added to the air of fun, though.

Highway to the danger zone

Once the Quizizz game ended, my students showed their parents how they track their goals, daily accuracies, and actual quiz scores. Students then showed parents their projects and work in their Seesaw journal, I gave them the instructions for connecting with their students on that platform, and then we ended the conference with either praises of their student or encouragement for ways we can improve before the end of the semester. My pub table, part of my flexible seating, helped us all feel more at home with each other, more connected.

Right into the danger zone

If you have conferences looming or want to plan something special for the next one, consider a family challenge using a tech tool that is integral to your daily classroom routine. It doesn’t matter if you are the only one in the building or district to do something like this. Ignore the “I must be crazy” voices inside and Just. Dive. In.

Partial lyrics from Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins.

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