Archive for the ‘Quiz Tips for Teachers’ category

Eliminate Boredom! Here’s 15 Games to Play at Recess

Who doesn’t love recess? Seriously!

It’s a chance to get out of the classroom, stretch your legs and meet new friends. (For teachers, I know it’s a time to shovel lunch). Recess is more for the kids, obviously.

But sometimes kids get bored. Sometimes they even end up nose-deep in their cell phones texting. Can you believe it? Elementary school students texting! (I’m only 25 years old, and it blows my mind how young students already have cell phones).

Take it old school and suggest your students play some games on the playground. Having been out of recess for quite some time, I took to the internet to find some fun alternatives to simply sitting in the sandbox. Here’s a list of 15 awesome games to play at recess:

1. Foursquare

If you don’t have a foursquare court on the pavement, quickly draw your own with chalk. It’s simply four squares in a grid. Grab a bouncy ball and start playing. The ball bounces from square to square (hit after each bounce). This game is great because it can involve the whole class as you rotate through players.

2. Hopscotch

If you don’t have a painted hopscotch pattern on the pavement, use chalk to make one. Not only is this fun and creative, but it gives students a chance to work on balance and coordination, too.

3. Sausage (make ‘em laugh)

I just read about this game online. A student stands in the center of a circle of friends. Then, the friends ask random questions. The student in the center must answer “sausage” without laughing. When they laugh, the student who asks the question gets a shot at being in the middle. Oh, and the word can be anything — it doesn’t have to be sausage.

4. 500

A classic for both guys and girl, all you need is a nerf football. The caller is separated from the group. They toss the ball in the air and yell out a point value (“25 points!”). The person who catched the ball gets the points. Pick a point total. The first person to make it to that total wins the game and becomes the next caller.

5. Fourbase Kickball (for indoor recess)

I thought I’d throw in an idea for indoor recess (besides reading time). Fourbase is just like regular kickball, but played with larger gym mats as bases. There are all kinds of rules that can be read about here if you’d like to play.

6. Tag (a classic)

This game needs no explanation. It’s awesome.

7. Mother May I

A classic alternative to red light green light below, this game has a mother as well as “children”. The children ask the mother if they can take a certain number of steps (these can be baby steps, big steps, leaps, etc). The mother can say yes or no. The game continues until the first child reaches the mother. Then, that student becomes the mother for the next game.

8. Red Rover

Send your students on over! A little bit of a physical game, students form two groups and yell “Red rover, red rover, send [student] over!” Then, that student tried to break through the line of students on the other side. If they do, they join their original team. If not, they trade teams. Continue until one team only has two people. The larger team is declared the winner.

9. Red Light Green Light

Alrtighty. We’re getting to the point in the list where I wish I was back in elementary school. Red Light Green Light is a classic. The leader yells “Green light!” as the other kids run toward them. Then they yell “Red Light!” and turn around. Anyone caught moving is out. The first person to tap the leader on the shoulder wins.

10. Duck Duck Goose

Another classic game I used to play in small groups. Get your students together, form a circle, and have one student walk around the circle tapping heads and saying “Duck, duck, duck….” and then they randomly pick “Goose”. That person has to run around the circle to catch the other person before they make it into their original spot. It’s the perfect game to get students energized for recess.

11. Freeze Tag

This is my personal favorite tag game. Have a group of students head to an open space and select one person as “it”. If you get tagged, you have to freeze and sit down. The only way you can get back up is if someone else tags you. The game is over when everyone is tagged. Here’s a fun variation: Those tagged remain standing with their legs in an A. The only way to get unfrozen is to have someone else crawl under them.

12. Water Balloon Toss

For many of you, it’s still blazing hot outside. And, it’ll never truly cool down. That’s where the water balloon toss comes in. Sure, it’s been played at carnival games for years, but it’s time to bring it back. Grab a small bag of water balloons at your local toy store. Fill them with water and line your students up in two separate lines. Toass away!

13. Find and Go Seek

It’s a stretch, but it might work. Have your students run around the playground and hide. Then have the “seeker” go and find them – with a time limit – so that other kids can trade roles. Sometimes they enjoy being the seeker and not hiding all of the time.

14. Sprint Races

A lot of students go home and slump over on the couch with their video games. Get your students moving! Doing sprint races with your class is a great way to introduce an active lifestyle to them — outside of gym class.

15. Your own game!

It’s your turn. What games did you play as a kid. Or, what games to your students come up with. Sometimes, kids have the best creative minds. They come up with games I would have never imagined.

Getting kids active and out of the classroom is important. It sets a precedent for them they may not have at home and keeps them participating in an active healthy lifestyle. Here’s to a fun-filled recess.

The one reason students don’t remember your lessons

Students studying in the library

“Why don’t any of you guys know this!”

My teacher yelled close to the top of her lungs. She was visibly frustrated none of her students knew the answer. She would stare at the smart students in anticipation they might just open their mouth.


My classmates and I weren’t getting it. Why was it such a struggle for us?

Trouble is, this wasn’t the first time the entire class couldn’t answer a question. It happened every day. And it’s all because of one missed opportunity by my teacher. An opportunity that, given the right tools, could have turned her classroom into a sea of raised hands.

What am I talking about?


Repetition – no matter how many times – is beneficial for many students. Remembering something you heard once, like someone’s name, is tough. That’s why, when you introduce yourself, you say “Nice to meet you , Allison” — in effect, repeating their name to help you remember it.

But, a lot of teachers make the same mistake. They say things once. Plus, they don’t repeat anything. Worst of all, students are struggling to retain that knowledge.

Saying things once is the curse of classroom death. Students can only write so fast. And if they don’t retain the rest of your sentence, they end up with an incomplete thought in their notes. A nightmare when they’re reviewing for an upcoming quiz or test. (At least it was for me)

Why is repetition so important?

You wouldn’t think repetition would have such a profound effect on your students. But, it does. Just look at this chain reaction:

1. Repetition leads to retention

It’s tough for students to remember something they’ve only heard once. But, if you continue to do something, eventually it becomes a habit. Just like when you learn a new language — the best way to remember how to speak it is to become immersed in it – travel to a Spanish-speaking country for example. Repetition and reuse leads to retention of the material.

2. Retention leads to improved test scores

Once information is retained, and students are tested, they perform better on quizzes and tests. (Sidenote — have you heard about QuizBean? It’s a fun free quiz maker.) When students feel they’ve retained more information, they’re more confident with their performance. That not only boosts self-esteem, but makes an ‘A’ a whole heck of a lot more likely.

3. Improved test scores lead to happy students (and parents)

As I mentioned above, doing well on a quiz or a test makes students feel better about their performance in class. Plus, there’s another added benefit: pleased parents. The majority of parents like to keep an eye on their child’s grades. It makes sense. They want to know if Timmy needs more help in math or if Kayla is falling behind in english. Why? So they can help out and improve their grades. What parent wouldn’t want to see their child’s grade go from a C to a B?

What’s the lesson here? (No pun intended, by the way)

Teachers have got to work on repetition and better retention of course material. A great way to do that is by using an online quiz maker. By having pre-loaded quizzes ready to go with each unit, you instantly know if students are retaining your lessons.

QuizBean is 100% free – Get started by making a free quiz at

Photo courtesy of flickr.

Is There Room for Pen and Paper in an Edtech World?

pen and paperRemember the thick-lined paper you learned to write on? It had two solid lines and a dashed line so you could perfectly curve your “h” or make your “g” the same size as every other letter.

I still have that paper from grade school. While it collects dust underneath my bed, it’s time to reflect on the current state of writing in the classroom.

Times have changed. Paper is now a touchable screen. A pen has become your finger or a stylus. And they’re both here to stay. Does that mean pen and paper have lost their luster?

With edtech companies launching every week, one thing’s clear: they’re in a committed relationship with the screen. Whether it’s an ipad, smartphone, or other device, generation z (and most of generation y) are screen generations.

But does that mean pen and paper are no longer?

Fear not, writers. Your trusty pen and paper aren’t going anywhere. And here’s why:

1. You still need to take notes

Sure, your students can take notes on their laptops, but Facebook and Twitter are probably calling their names. And that means distraction. Taking notes in a notebook with a pen has no notification noises. Plus, you get your student’s full attention.

2. There’s nothing like crossing off an item on your to-do list

Do your students write to-do lists? I write one for my entire week (each day gets broken down). And there is nothing more satisfying than crossing off something on my to-do list. Yes, there are online apps to keep track of to-dos, but I find I don’t use them regularly enough. That’s why trusty pen and paper is here to stay.

3. Hand-written thank you notes rule text messages

Thank-you notes are a lost art. Not many students write them, much less think about why they’re thanking someone. Plus, why buy a thank you card when you can just shoot a text? Students, I beg of you, write more thank you notes.You’ll need pen and paper to make a strong connection.

4. Memorization is the key to learning concepts

It’s proven that writing something down is one of the best ways to remember something. When students write notes in their notebook, they subconsciously say it back to themselves, which helps reinforce their memory. And better memory means students do better on tests when they remember what they wrote down.

5. “Do you have a pen?”

My Dad has taught me a ton of life lessons. And one of those is to always carry a pen. Why? Because you never know when someone else is going to need one. Carrying a pen helps break the ice with students. Plus, students are seen as helpful to their classmates.

There you go! 5 examples where a pen and paper would come in handy. And for your students, they’ve got to learn to write sooner or later, right? Texting thumbs will only get them so far.

How edtech startups are doing away with the pen.

I find new edtech start-ups daily (and I work for one, too). They’re marketed as “perfect on ipad” or “works with any smartphone”. With so much screen time for students – from computers, to ipads, and mobile phones – I wonder what’s going to happen to pen and paper?

Are we all going to take verbal notes on Evernote or run classrooms using Edmodo? Quite possibly. But, there’s one big objection to the digital world created by edtech:

Are school districts going to pay for new technology?

Just look at the latest Staples ad. For just a few dollars, your students are set for the year. That’s cheap. But, there’s a lot more to outfitting a classroom than highlighters, binders, and poster paper: edtech is expensive.

Incorporating technology into tech-friendly classrooms can be expensive. You have to:

For many schools, transitioning to a new edtech solution can take up a good chunk of the annual budget. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for other learning tools or classroom supplies. Makes pencil and paper look pretty attractive, huh?

Pen and paper will live on in an edtech world. Would you like a pen to write that down?

What do you think? Are pen and paper dead?

Photo from flickr

37 Articles and Videos on How to Make Your Edtech Startup Successful

Here at QuizBean, we’re in the middle of two markets — corporate trainers and education. One of those is a lot easier to learn about than the other. (That would be Edtech if you haven’t quite read the title).

We’ve collected all kinds of link about the edtech industry and it’s fascinating impact on schools and startups across the nation.

I thought I’d save you the trouble and compile the resources I’ve found into a blog post for you. Happy reading — make sure to bookmark this page and add your own resources in the comments.

1. Edtech Business Models that Work

Whether your edtech startup is funded or not, this is a great overview of what has worked for several different companies in the bay area. Good food for thought if you’re struggling with your business model.

2. Edtech Handbook

The mecca of how to do it right with edtech startups. Find everything from customer development to financing and distribution. The guys behind this site have clearly done something right.

3. List of Upcoming Edtech Events

Sometimes the best way to get to know an industry is to attend an event. Fractus Learning is great at keeping us up to date about events happening in our area. We let them do it so we don’t have to!

4. Edtech Startups Have Great Products – Sales Not So Much

Without sales, well, you don’t have much. And selling to schools may be harder than selling ice to eskimos. The author tags along for a school visit in Brooklyn to see just how hard it is.

5. Bridging the Gap Between Teachers and the Edtech Industry

As is often the problem, teachers don’t have the buying power to pay for an application to re-shape their classroom. And it’s this buying power that’s going to keep an edtech company alive.

6. The Politics of Edtech

Oh – something else with politics! It seems all industries have it. This is a quick look into how money moves around in education and how top leaders get things done with the dough in their pocket.

7. Top Edtech Trends of 2012: The Business of Edtech

With a mix of politics from above, this article looks into the success and rapid expansion of the edtech industry in 2012.

8. Why VC’s Can’t Afford to Ignore Edtech Any Longer

Venture capital is often reserved for startups featured on TechCrunch or well, VentureBeat (the article is written on VB). But, this article lays out unique advantages to the edtech space – one of them being the virality of something great. Simply, teachers love to tell teachers what’s working for them.

9. Dissecting the Edtech Industry [VIDEO]

Michael Chasen, the founder and former CEO of Blackboard, talks about the problems edtech startups have getting into schools. And it seems it may be a few hundred years old.

10. Is Edtech in a Bubble?

An interesting look at the evolution of edtech. A little bit of the founder’s personal story is included, too.

11. How one edtech startup is selling to the impossible K-12 market (hint: it’s not by going bottom-up)

An interesting look into how Chalkable, a now venture-backed company, is making education sales work for them – and it’s not by getting teachers to buy in.

12. A Boom Time for Education Startups

Another great article about investment in education and how many startups are actually seeing success because they’re starting to get funding.

13. Positioning Your Company for Edtech Platform Leadership

How to develop a platform – not just a fun web application for edtech. A blue-print on how to dominate the education space.

14. The Tech-Driven Classroom is Here, but Grades are Mixed

Maybe edtech isn’t a great industry. This Forbes contributor weighs in with their opinion and others. Plus he uses studies to back up his research.

15. Dirty Sexy Edtech

Quick blog to read about, quite simply, the world of edtech. They’re trying to make the argument that more money flowing into the industry is actually creating more problems.

16. The Edtech Entrepreneur’s Lab

While this blog is a few years old, the author writes about edtech events in the bay area, including interviews with prominent people in the space.

17. Top Tips for Edtech Entrepreneurs

Troy Wheeler used to work for the Department of Education for the state of Idaho. It’s a short post about what he think will help edtech entrepreneurs succeed.

18. Get Schooled on Edtech with LearnSprout

Great interview with the founder of LearnSprout about edtech and how he’s been able to build his company in such a crowded space.

19. TransformingEDU Conference

While this isn’t a blog, the TransformingEDU conference looks to be an exciting event for 2014. At the very least, it’s a place to interact with teachers and show off your product.

20. As the Edtech Market Grows, What Voice to Educators Have?

A positive outlook on the important role educators play in bringing more edtech solutions into the classroom. The author argues we need more edtech and more builders – even if that means people supporting from the sidelines.

21. Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Education

Want to take your edtech app to the next level? Many times that requires funding from a venture capital firm. This is part two of a funding discussion written by an edtech accelerator.

22. To Teach or to Edtech

A short piece on the importance of actually being a teacher before you enter the edtech world. It helps shape your view and gives you a perspective non-teacher edtech founders will never have.

23. How to Make it in the Edtech Startup Sector

Just like the article above mentions — you need to know your customer. Among other points is this post, edtech founders agree: “you have to know exactly who your customer is and what they want.”

24. Defining Success in Edtech

From an edtech entrepreneur who references another article on this list (#36) and reflects on what he believe is success for his startup.

25. 3 Reasons There will be No Lifeboats in Edtech

As the title states, there are three reasons edtech startups may be walking on a bed of nails – and you have to be careful.

26. Why One Charter School System Founded an Edtech Startup

Many successful businesses are launched when the founders are solving their own problem. In this charter school’s case they had nothing to assess performance. So, what did they do? They build their own solution. Great story here.

27. 10 Startup Lessons From Kaplan’s EdTech Accelerator Demo Day

This is one of my favorite articles on the list. While the lessons apply to pretty much any business, they make you think about your business model, your pitch, and what the heck you’re doing.

28. Engaging Educators in Your Edtech Startup [SLIDESHOW]

Awesome SlideShare presentation on how to get your web application in front of teachers, gain early adopters, and use social media to build your company’s foundation.

29. Community Buy-In: How to Build a Nest for Your Fragile Startup

Have you been programming in a dark hole without talking to customers? If you answered yes, you might be in trouble. This articles gives great advice on how to get a team together to support you and get honest feedback – from mentors, teachers, and schools.

30. A Role for Teachers in Every Edtech Startup

How can teachers help your startup? Turns out there’s a lot of ways. And it’s even more reason to have a team of teachers behind your startup. Plus, they ooze credibility!

31. The Do’s and Dont’s of Pitching Technology to Schools

Short article on the three questions you need to answer when you pitch schools on your edtech startup. They’re also questions you should answer before you write a single line of code.

32. 5 Tips for Engaging Educators to Accelerate Growth

Just getting started talking to teachers? This article (from a site full of great resources) has easy-to-implement tips on how to get on the teacher’s good side.

33. How Edtech Companies Will Make (and lose) a Few Fortunes

Selling to school districts is almost impossible. Plus, according to this article, it doesn’t scale. The author (CEO of a Testive, an online testing startup) offers a couple pointers on how to make sales work for your startup.

34. Why Education Startups Do Not Succeed

The author gives an incredibly detailed perspective as to why education companies fail. Data, graphs, and case studies galore. But, there’s a glimmer of hope at the end.

35. Edtech Sales and What all Startups Need to Know

The title says it all, here. You do need to know everything in this post. It’ll help you define your market, build in value, and create a better company.

36. Are Most Edtech Startups Doomed to Fail?

Say it ain’t so! After a quick read, this quote resonated with me the most: “Successful edtech products will draw a clear line between product adoption and improved student outcomes and empower teachers to succeed with the product before it is adopted by their institutions.”

37. Beware the $5/month business

While this final article isn’t education related, it speaks to the challenge many edtech startups have: teachers have limited funds. This often means companies have to under-value products to generate revenue. It’s an interesting read for any software-as-a-service provider.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. That’s because it’s missing your contributions. Let us know what you’ve found helpful in your edtech journey. We’d love to add it to this list.

How to make an easy transition back to school

Back to school

It’s Summer — chances are it’s beautiful out. Blue skies and mid 80’s – not a cloud in the sky. You’re at the beach playing with your kids. A book in one hand – and ice cream in the other.

Life could not be better.

And then you get that nagging feeling. Just as you’re starting to enjoy the last few days of summer vacation, back-to-school time creeps into your thoughts.

There’s always a l

ooming calendar date for back-to-school. It hangs over you like a dark cloud, waiting to rain. You know it’s going to happen. But, you want to put it off as long as possible. Go away back-to-school thoughts, go away.

But, shouldn’t you be excited to get back to school?

School means a time to catch up with other teachers, impart wisdom on young minds, and well, get a paycheck. But it’s tough to muster up the energy to start your school year off with a bang.

Get in the swing of things quickly with these tips:

1. Check your email prior to school starting

Email overload is inevitable for the first few weeks of school. There’s emails from teachers, your principal, the principal’s assistant – pretty much everyone. Take a couple hours to sort through email before you head back. That way, you’re starting the year at inbox zero, instead of inbox 1,000.

2. Get together with other teachers before the year starts

Invite a couple teachers over to your house for a potluck or small gathering. Talk about what your summer has been like, but try to avoid talking about the upcoming year. While it’s great to chat about students you dislike, it puts you back into school mode. Enjoy the time with your colleagues before you start in August.

3. Review your student roster

Find out who your students are going to be for the upcoming year. Maybe you have a former student’s younger sister. Or, you’ve got a trouble-maker in your class. Either way, it’s exciting to learn about who’s going to be in your class for the next year.

4. Decorate your classroom

Pick up some paper and scissors and get creative! Decorating your classroom is not only fun for you, but it’ll make your new students feel welcome in their new digs. Back-to-school supplies are on sale for the next few weeks. Take advantage of the sales and decorate your classroom to the nines.

5. Plan a creative lesson

There’s nothing like getting your first lesson plan up and running. It’s exciting to try something new, see how your students take it, and adapt. After all, that’s what being a teacher is all about. But, this first lesson is different. Let it be something fun, creative, and inspirational. Maybe it’s a project about your student’s summer vacation. Or, you could see what they want to accomplish this year if your students are in middle school or high school.

6. Schedule your fun time before it’s too late

If I know anything about teachers, it’s that there’s limited time for fun once school starts. You’ve got lessons plan, papers to grade, and parents-teacher conferences. Solve the work slump by planning your vacation time or nightly outings ahead of time. That way when you’re in the middle of a hectic week, you can look forward to your long-weekend in Chicago.

7. Find tools to make you (and your student’s lives) easier

Many technology companies are revolutionizing the education space. With computers and tablets present in a lot of classroom across the nation, companies are looking to make your life easier. Here are a couple examples: QuizPoo (our tool) helps you instantly assess your student’s comprehension of a subject. Science360 has a collection of neat science videos, and ReadWriteThink, a tool to create crossword puzzles for your students. And there’s hundred more.

Once you’re back in school, everything is a whirlwind. You start falling asleep at 5:00pm when you get home from grading papers. Plus, dinner is nothing more than microwaved leftovers.

Don’t fall into this back-to-school slump. Start your school year off right. Use these tips to ease back into school life after your summer off.

Now, it’s time to turn it over to you. What tips do you have to make back-to-school time exciting?

Photo from flickr

Six Ways to Use Online Quizzes in Your Classroom

Are you tired of looking at your student’s slumped over their desks waiting for the period to end? Have you been looking for a way to keep your students motivated to participate in class?

As a teacher, getting your students excited for test time can be a drag. They don’t know what to study or how much of the material will be covered. Plus, it’s a lot of organization just to get things up and running.

Online quiz makers are perfect for this.

Quizzes are one of the best ways to test student’s mastery of specific material without letting them feel overwhelmed about a full test or exam. In addition to better mastery, online quizzes further support adoption of technology in the classroom.

Take advantage of online learning opportunities.

With today’s interconnected world, students are already familiar with the web. They use smartphones, tablets, and computers to interact with friends and family, learn about the world around them, and discover new and interesting things.

So, how do you incorporate online quizzes into your classroom? While there are tons of options, here are five of my favorite applications:

1. History Lessons

What happened in 1956 vs. 1978? That’s where online quizzes come in. For your history students, quiz them on what happened in certain time periods, famous quotes or even town history.

2. Chapter Recap

Are your students having trouble giving you summaries of what happened in the last chapter? Use online quizzes to help them remember events, characters and plot lines. This way, when they read the rest of the book, they’ll have better memory of what’s already happened.

3. Chemistry Class

Chemistry was always tough for me in grade school. Having a quiz to know the difference between electrons, protons and neutrons would have helped. Or better yet, how about a quiz on ionic bonds vs. covalent bonds or even lab safety protocols before new experiments?

4. Foreign Language

Think online quizzes can only be in English? Nope. They’re perfect for learning a foreign language. Create quizzes on different types of product at the market, how to navigate a city, or French vs. Spanish. The repetition helps your students memorize new words and apply what they’re learning in a real-life conversation.

5. Quotes by Writers, Speakers, and Activists

Almost everyone loves inspiring quotes. Here are a couple examples of how to incorpotate quotes into online quizzes: Quotes from a famous speech like Martin Luther King, Jr., quote comparisons from Emerson and Thoreau, or for fun, quotes from comedians or favorite role models.

6. Class Project Participation

The most exciting application for online quizzes is encouraging class participation. Get students who are normally quiet to interact with a fun and engaging online quiz. Or, if you’ve got group projects coming up, make an online quiz part of the rubric.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to use online tools in the classroom. Online quizzes are just one way to get started integrating technology into your lesson plans.

How have online tools influenced the way you teach?

Picture credits from Phil Roeder

25 Quick & Easy Quiz Ideas to Use Right Now

America’s classroom has become a hotbed of technology. From netbook and iPad pilot programs to online classrooms, the web is changing the way teacher’s communicate with their students.

This means you’ve got to embrace the tech wave and discover new ways to get students using the internet as early as possible.

One of the best ways to do that is through online quizzes. You get to assess student learning and subject comprehension. Your students get to know their score faster than you could grade papers in a weekend and discover new material in the process. It’s a win-win.

So how do you make an online quiz that’s not going to put your students to sleep? Here are 25 ideas to get you started, no matter what subject you teach:


1. Character Quotes

2. Fill-in-the-Blank Grammar

3. True/False Chapter Recap

4. Adjective or Adverb

5. Types of Sentences


6. Melting Points of Different Solutions

7. Fun Facts About Elements

8. Characteristics of Rock Types

9. Different Brain Functions

10. Planet Characteristics


11. Quotes from Historic Leaders

12. Compare Time Periods

13. True False About Specific Events

14. Local Events and History

15. Comparing Two Wars

Geography/Social Studies

16. Compare Two Countries

17. Fun Facts About Rivers

18. Countries on Certain Continents


19. Prime Numbers

20. Two Numbers – Different Equations


22. Famous Quotes from Entrepreneurs

23. Company Names – True or False?

24. Characteristics of Company Formations

25. Did this Really Happen? True/False in Business

Online quizzes are an effective way to get your students engaged in any subject. What class do you teach? Have you used quizzes in your classroom?