89-If your Kids have Grown Tired of Kahoot, Please try Quizlet Live…Starring Jennifer Ladd

I was exposed to Kahoot a few years back. I loved it immediately. It’s been a huge hit at our school. Unfortunately, there can be too much of a good thing. Many of our kids are tired of Kahoot. Kahoot also has foundational flaws. Invariably, there are students who emerge as virtually unbeatable in Kahoot. Guessing quickly in Kahoot also can pay huge dividends, so many kids mindlessly respond without investing much thought. I still like Kahoot…but I was thrilled to find an alternative.

And here, dear reader, is where Quizlet Live makes a dramatic entrance. I became exposed to this wonderful platform a few months ago. I knew instantly that it was a massive upgrade from Kahoot. Quizlet Live creates a beautiful competition between randomly selected teams of students. On your SmartBoard, students monitor a fascinating horse race unfold. Your students will be enthralled!

I have a wonderful guest to help tell the story of Quizlet Live. Jennifer Ladd is an elementary teacher at Scotch Elementary in suburban Detroit. Jennifer and I got to know one another through interacting during a Twitter chat. From the moment we started interacting, I knew she had the potential to be a marvelous guest. I was not disappointed!


Episode Template

The Problem:

Students need a fresh class competition platform.

The Solution:

Quizlet Live is an outstanding option.

What you can do Tomorrow:

  • Create 12 Flashcards in Quizlet
  • Select the Live Option

  • Select Create Game

  • Project the following to students tomorrow and then Go To Town!

Quizlet Live is an awesome way for kids to collaborate in an ultra-engaging fashion.

Listen to “89-If your Kids have Grown Tired of Kahoot, Please try Quizlet Live…Starring Jennifer Ladd” on Spreaker.

88-Make your Math Class Enchanting…Starring Denis Sheeran

I love the shape of numbers!

I remember trudging to Math class in high school…AND I MEAN TRUDGING. I had zero confidence, zero interest, and I could not fathom any relevance in what I was being asked to do. If you’re a Math teacher, these adolescent frustrations may sound familiar. Guess what…I get the Why do we have to learn this stuff? question in history class too. Think about it. It’s a fair question. Maybe, educators need to get better at answering it.

Today’s episode will help you. Denis Sheeran is the Director of Student Achievement at Weehawken Township School District, which is in New Jersey.


He’s written two books on this issue. Instant Relevance came out in 2016 and Hacking Mathematics, which will soon be published. I prompted Denis to describe a typical day in his Math class. Here’s how he responded:

In Instant Relevance, I use an example called Unanswerable Questions which hacks a random chooser google sheets file and uses it to display things like images of partial google searches (where google finishes it for you) or other interesting images/questions. I replace the opening question in class (do now or bellringer) with one of these to engage students in the thought process necessary for entering into a mathematical experience. I turned that into a workshop session I call Moving from Do Now to Think Now. In the new Hacking Math book, I bring that shift into play with a different version of the opener called I See Math. It’s got the same philosophy (get kids to see the mathematical question, investigate it, think strategically and discuss briefly, but uses their images and questions as well. I think that this could be a good topic for the podcast. It connects both books and is a central theme of both engagement and the creative use of technology in the math classroom.

Episode Template

The Problem:

Students are bored and frustrated in Math.

The Solution:

Create an enchanting Math class where the real world takes shape and is explained.

What you can do Tomorrow:

  • Install a tremendous hook in the form of an unanswerable question.
  • Install real-world applications in your lesson.
  • Mimic Denis’ migration from Do Now to Think Now.

Hunger for a student to ask you…Why do we have to learn this?

Listen to “James Sturtevant Hacking Engagement” on Spreaker.

87-The New Year’s Resolution Ice-Breaker Game

Yes…I know it’s January 8th, but it’s not too late to lay the New Year’s Resolution Ice-Breaker Game on your students. This goal-setting opportunity affords teachers a wonderful chance to:

  • deputize students in their resolution quest
  • enlighten kids about their lives outside the classroom
  • make themselves more approachable
  • gives teachers a needed boost in obtaining their goals
  • helps kids get to know one another
  • encourages students to set goals
  • challenges kids to make their goals public, which gives goals more umph

This is an exceedingly easy activity to set-up. All you need is a class roster copy for each student and a Padlet Labeled New Year’s Resolutions. Pass out a roster to each student and provide each with the Padlet link. I gave my students the following directions:

For the next minute, create some resolutions for this year. Please keep the resolutions to yourself and any resolution you publish in this activity must be school-appropriate.

Next, choose one resolution you’re willing to share. Post it on the Padlet, but DO NOT attach your name!

Read each post on the Padlet. Try to match some of the resolutions with your classmates on the roster I provided.

Episode Template

The Problem:

Students often don’t know their classmates well…AND kids need help formulating and then realizing their goals.


Play the New Year’s Resolution Ice-Breaker Game this week!

What you can do Tomorrow:

  • Create some resolutions you’re willing to share with students
  • Produce a roster copy for each student.
  • Create a Padlet for New Year’s Resolutions.
  • Decide how to reward successful guessers.

The New Year’s Resolution Ice-Breaker Game is a marvelous way to start this semester!

Listen to “87-The New Year’s Resolution Ice-Breaker Game” on Spreaker.

86-A New Year’s Resolution that will Transform your Interactions with Kids

Are you game for a challenge? If you’ve migrated to my show notes, I’m guessing the answer is yes. This challenge will encourage you to confront obstacles you unintentionally may place between your student and you. 2018 is brand new year. Let’s climb aboard the resolution train and evolve. Our kids will be the massive beneficiaries.

Before we can board the self-improvement train, I want to assure you that adult frustration with young people is certainly nothing new. Adults have generally held the younger generation in low regard. Harry Truman is one of my favorite presidents. He is often quoted, but check out this gem “The only thing new in the World is the history that you don’t know.” Priceless! President Truman seemed to be echoing this famous passage from the Hebrew Scriptures:

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1: 9

For those who are annoyed with today’s lazy teens:

The older generation thought nothing of getting up at five in the morning, and the younger generation doesn’t think much of it either.  

John J. Welsh, 19th Century Contractor who Built Broadway

For those who are sick of competing with cell phones:

What business has science and Capitalism got bringing all these new inventions into the works, before society has produced a generation educated up to using them?

Henrik Ibsen, Late 19th Century Norwegian Playwright

For those who forget the 1960s and 1970s:

My generation, faced as it grew with a choice between religious belief and existential despair, chose marijuana!  Now we are in our Cabernet stage.

Peggy Noonan, Ronald Reagan Speech Writer

For those who cannot stand the arrogance of today’s youth, but don’t recognize the smugness of their contemporaries:

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.

George Orwell, 20th Century British Novelist

For those who feel like earlier generations were more noble:

It’s one of nature’s ways that we often feel closer to distant generations than to the generation immediately preceding us.  

Igor Stravinsky, 20th Century Russian Composer

For those who think that generation gaps are a result of our modern industrial world:

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words.  When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint.

Hesiod, Poet of ancient Greece writing in 700 BC two hundred years prior to Athens’ Golden Age.

My cheesy cartoon

And finally this timeless treasure from an unknown author:

There is nothing wrong with today’s teenager that twenty years won’t cure.

Heard enough?  Unfortunately, many adults think that this crop of teenagers are the harbingers of the apocalypse.  They are not.  The world will go on.  Hopefully the previous quotes demonstrate that adults from different times and climbs have felt similar anxiety about their youth.  Harry Truman was right; there is truly nothing new in the World.

Me in 1966

Episode Template

The Problem:

Teachers can get fed-up with contemporary youth.

The Solution:

Learn to accept that many student-teacher annoyances are out of your control.

What you can do Tomorrow:

  • Make a list of all the things about contemporary youth that you find distasteful.

  • Eliminate everything on the list that is out of your control.

  • Your New Year’s resolution is to focus your energy to help students improve in areas where you have influence and to accept aspects of their nature’s that you can’t control.

To learn more about connecting with kids, check out my first book You’ve Gotta Connect. 

Learning to focus in this way will help your students and take a huge burden off your shoulders. HAVE A MARVELOUS 2018 AND THANKS FOR LISTENING!

Listen to “86-A NewYear’s Resolution that will Transform your Interactions with Kids” on Spreaker.