Most students associate summer break with sunshine, swimming, and sleeping in, but for children on the enrichment and intervention tracks, the time off may include summer school. Teachers tasked with planning this type of curriculum know that closing achievement gaps is the ultimate priority, and in order to do so, high student engagement certainly helps.
That’s why Sam Weitzner, a veteran middle school civics teacher in Florida who served as a summer camp program director for the last 13 years, always relies on learning platforms like Quizizz. “Gamification of everything is the name of the game,” he said. “Neither teachers nor students want to be trapped indoors learning when we’re supposed to be on vacation, so it’s about making it as much fun as possible. Everything is online today, and kids are just obsessed and live for that, so meet them halfway.”
As a teacher-powered platform that motivates students well beyond paper and pencil work, Quizizz benefits all parties when used for summer school and after school programs.
Strengthen Intervention and Enrichment Groups
While gamification may be the students’ favorite part of our platform, educators are wise enough to see Quizizz was designed with several learning science principles in mind, all of which help heighten summer school and after school pedagogy.
The ability levels of students in enrichment programs tends to vary from the kids seen during the regular school day, so the materials must be differentiated and scaffolded to meet those specific needs. As a teacher-powered platform, Quizizz offers the flexibility to tailor assignments, and to gather the data to inform instructional decisions going forward.
In addition to ability levels, teachers can also tweak the Quizizz activity based on the desired type of participation via Game Modes — team, individual, or test — and even the unfortunate reality of limited access to technology devices. For example, Ana Acosta, a fourth grade teacher in Texas, is another educator who uses the platform outside of the regular school day–during her Saturday tutorials and after school tutoring sessions. Ana has 18 students but only 13 laptops, so she cleverly sets up learning stations around the classroom. That way, everyone gets a chance to play, practice a variety of participatory approaches, and work in and out of small groups.
Quizizz is also beneficial for summer school and after school programs because it’s designed to build confidence, a trait that may be waning in students struggling to pass their classes. To address this, teachers can choose to enable any of the following while using Quizizz:
- Classic Mode allows for students to work at their own pace.
- Redemption Questions allow students to re-attempt previously incorrect questions.
- Power-Ups spark excitement and increase engagement.
- Daily Check-Ins enable teachers to temperature check students’ emotional wellness and determine whether they’re ready to learn.
- Name Factory creates a temporary nickname so scores remain anonymous and students don’t feel pressured to perform well in front of other classmates.
The latter is one of Sam’s personal favorites. “I love the anonymity of the Name Factory,” he said. “It takes away kids gloating and bragging, and even if they do volunteer their nickname to others, the kid that got the low score doesn’t have to fess up. In other words, it can protect a kid, especially in summer school. If they failed already, they don’t want to be outed for being a failure again and again. They can hide behind ‘Poppyseed Baggins’ or whatever, and I think that’s kind of cool.”
‘Spice Up’ Summer Learning for Students
As most adults know though, what’s ‘cool’ to kids one week is often considered ‘cringe’ the next, so it’s not everyday that a product remains a consistent choice on young peoples’ radars. However, when it comes to Quizizz, Sam said, it’s the platform’s overall aesthetic and design that students at his school and summer camp seem to favor.
“I think what kids like about it is, first off, Quizizz has some personality,” Sam explained.
“…Students like the memes, the Power-Ups, and the leaderboard too,” he continued, “but I think what also makes Quizizz attractive is that it’s not as formulaic, derivative and boring as a traditional quiz or test. Having the colors laid out is nice, along with having an image or video attached to the question; the mixed media brings them in and engages. But I think what kids really like about Quizizz is the gamification of it. It makes learning feel low-stakes, and it’s a good way to assess students very informally.”
Although assessments are rarely the students’ favorite part of the period, Ana said, Quizizz minimizes test stress and keeps kids eager to learn. “Even on Saturdays, I have pretty good attendance because I try to spice up the lessons a little bit,” she said. “My students like technology, so I mix things up by using a platform like Quizizz almost every time. They like to see the leaderboard, and they enjoy a change in the routine. Quizizz is something different, and they’re definitely attracted to it.”
Due to her district’s ESSER-funded procurement of a Quizizz District Plan, Ana and her colleagues at Houston Independent School District (HISD) have unlimited access, storage, collaboration, and much more. That being said, technology only accounts for a fraction of her intervention and enrichment success. In actuality, the teaching magic is in Ana’s unique ability to bring lessons to life through her creative use of Quizizz, such as with her Among Us math challenge, inspired by the popular online game for kids. She also regularly combines assignments on the platform with fun extras like picture collages, the classroom treasure chest, stickers, and entertaining competitions.
Similarly, in his “self-proclaimed Director of Fun” role at summer camp over the years, Sam used Quizizz to conduct Olympic themed events with students. Both Ana’s and Sam’s activities offer excellent ideas for how Quizizz can be used to establish a fun, positive, growth-minded learning environment outside of typical class times.
Streamline Summer Planning for Teachers
Along with benefiting student learning, Quizizz reaps rewards in terms of teacher lesson planning. In an era when educators are stretched to their limits in many ways, getting a commitment from them to teach or tutor during the summer, evening, or weekend can prove to be difficult. We offers schools and districts the opportunity to lighten the load for their educators in several ways.
First, the platform covers the full landscape of teaching. From instruction to reinforcement to review, the Quizzes, Lessons and Homework functionalities can fully support — or supplement — any variety of intervention curricula. “Quizizz is good as an introductory activity, the midpoint, the closure, or an assessment tool,” Sam said, “it works for any and all of those.”
Second, Quizizz helps cultivate collaboration among educators. “Being able to search other teachers’ Quizzes and Lessons that they’ve made is super helpful,” Sam continued. “That community aspect of teachers on the platform is really great. We all share that same frustration of needing to pull an assignment together quickly, and Quizizz is what I typically think of for that.”
Finally, summer school and after school programs should not put even more on educators’ plates in terms of grading, our data reports are a strong solution. Whether teachers want to view a single snapshot of comprehension, or monitor performance over time with Longitudinal Growth Graphs, Quizizz offers high quality ways to track student progress, pivot instruction where needed, and share the data with parents, guardians, co-teachers, and administrators.
Cover Full-Scope Summer School Solutions and More
Overall, when a decision makes sense for students and teachers alike, district administrators and technology teams have a strong reason to consider our solution for summer learning and after school programming. “Regardless of whether or not kids elect to attend intervention or enrichment, it’s their summer,” Sam said, “and they want to make it as enjoyable as possible.” Team Quizizz couldn’t agree more.