This is a guest post by Katherine Miller.
If you are like me, you are always looking for new ways to increase student engagement! In my elementary music room, I love to include many ways to experience music at the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Creating, performing, composing, that is a music teacher’s jam. Plus, these activities are inherently more engaging to students as they provide lots of opportunity for voice and choice.
However, there is a lot of learning (like vocabulary for instance) that has to be done to build up a student’s background knowledge. This type of learning, usually more towards the bottom of the taxonomy Bloom wrote, can be a little harder to make engaging for students.
That is why I fell in love with a variety of online trivia or quiz style games. Some examples of this are Kahoot, Quizzizz, Gimkit and Quizlet. Each of these websites are easy to love because student’s fall in love with them, too. I have kids as young as 1st grade who continually ask me if we get to play everytime I see them.
If you can relate, or maybe you can relate with needing a way to boost engagement with the variety of learners we are teaching this year (from in person to virtual and other options somewhere in between), Blooket might be something new you can incorporate into your lessons TOMORROW.
Blooket: A New Take on Trivia and Review Games
What is Blooket?
Blooket is a fairly new website in the world of online trivia or quiz options for teachers. It is a website, not an app. Once you have signed up for a teacher account, you can create “sets” of questions on whatever topics you would like or can search “sets” created by other educators. Each set of questions can be used to host games for students to play.
What makes Blooket unique from other sites I have used with students is that the same set of questions can be used to play a variety of game styles. For instance, the teacher can host a Gold Quest, a Battle Royale, or a Classic game (think Kahoot) along with 5 other choices.
Students do not need to make an account. They just join a game you host by visiting the website blooket.com/play and entering a pin you will receive when you start hosting a game. Most of the games are self paced and do not require the students to be able to see the teachers screen which makes it a great option if you are playing with virtual students. Games can be hosted so students are playing all at the same time or can be assigned as homework for students to complete within a given time period.
There are some pretty clear pros I noticed as I began to explore the site and play a few games with my fifth grade students. There are also some things that you need to think about before trying with your own students.
Blooket is Free
This is always so important….but I also worry if that will continue into the future as many apps and websites can change as the popularity of it grows. There are no promises it will remain free. There are already options to be able to pay for account upgrades.
Students can work at their own pace to answer questions in many of the games. They do not have to wait for a time to pass or for everyone to complete a question before moving on to the next one.
The game choices put students in competition with one another. There is always an element of chance included in the game options which makes students very engaged and makes the competition fun.
Same questions, different game
You do not have to make a new game for each set of questions. Instead, you can play a variety of games options using just 1 set of questions from your teacher account. Remember—these sets can be created by you or found in the search function on the website.
My fifth graders LOVED the game options! In fact, the teacher next store came over to see what we were doing because students were being pretty loud. But loud about naming notes on the treble clef staff so I will take it!
Students have to read the questions.
Because students are working at their own pace, the teacher cannot read each question and there is no immersive reader built in. That makes this website a better choice for older students.
You need to include a lot of questions.
For each game, you can decide if you want the game to end at a certain time (for instance allowing students 7 minutes to play) or when someone reached a certain total. The game will continue on until whichever you choose. This means that students who work quickly will see the same questions repeated over and over unless there are a lot of questions within the set. This might not be an issue if you are practicing a skill like naming notes on the staff as you want kids to practice again and again. But it is something to consider depending on your purpose for using Blooket.
You cannot edit sets of questions other users have created.
If you find a set of questions that is similar to what you need but not perfect, you will need to create your own set. There are no options to copy and then edit sets of questions created by others.
You cannot see student data.
…unless you purchase a paid account. In the free version, you only receive a report that shows you the percentage of questions that were answered correctly or incorrectly for the class and then each student. You cannot view data on which questions were missed. This makes Blooket a better option for review games and NOT for assessment. Only 60 students maximum are allowed in each game.Just in case you have a larger ensemble, there is a 60 player limit in a game using a free account.
Some games are complex.
When I first tried Blooket out with students, I let them know they were my guinea pigs in testing out a website for the time. Some games (like Gold Quest and Battle Royale) were easy to figure out and all students knew what they needed to do to win the game. Other games (like Cafe and Factory), require a little more skill, strategy and patience as there are many options and factors to consider to be the winner. You can choose to have directions briefly shown at the beginning of a game but I have not found a place where they are clearly written anywhere for teachers to elaborate on before the game is started. Practice first, or find yourself some guinea pigs who are willing to give it a try!
Blooket Game Options
This game includes a little bit of speed and luck. Students will see each question from the set on their device to answer. They questions are self paced. If they answer correctly, they will be given a choice of three chests to open. Some have gold, some have nothing, and some allow you to take gold from other players. The winner can be set to who has the most gold at the end of a time limit or an amount of gold a player collects. This is a student favorite in my classroom and a great place to start on Blooket.
This game requires speed and focus as you are answering questions correctly to serve goods and restock your supplies. This was a bit harder for students to pick up on because there are upgrades they can buy to make their Cafe even better. The winner can be determined by who has the most cash at the end of the time limit you set or by earning a specific amount of cash. This game can also be assigned as homework.
Similar to Cafe, students need to quickly answer questions and use a bit of strategy to unlock and upgrade Blooks (the cute little characters, or avatars, in Blooket). It can also be used as homework. When I tried this one with my class, there was one clear winner who understood how to make fast money with the upgrades and others who had no idea what they were doing…including me!
I so wish this game had a different name because I was very leery of using it with students, but it was so fun! This game pairs students to answer questions head to head. It can also be set up as team vs. team and a great option if you do not have 1 to 1 devices in your room. The student who answers the question correctly and quicker wins the battle. Then, the next round they are paired with a different competitor. Obviously, this game must be played all at the same time and cannot be used as an assignment, or homework. This game is also not self paced.
This game requires students to be quick and accurate to move their Blook ahead in the race. This becomes super engaging when players earn power ups that allow them to move further forward or move other players backwards when they answer a series of questions successfully. As a teacher you can decide how many questions students must answer correctly to be the winner of the race.
This is another option for a great strategy game. What makes this one different is that it can only be assigned as homework and is not built for all players to be participating at the same time. The goal of this game is to answer the questions in the set correctly to keep a kingdom running by dealing with guests’ requests and managing the resources they have.
Tower of Doom
This is another game that can only be assigned as homework. Students can work on their own to answer questions to collect cards and help to defeat the Blooks to climb the Tower of Doom.
This game is a more traditional trivia game and looks a lot like Kahoot. Students work to quickly answer questions to earn points and climb the leaderboard. Again, it is not self paced as all students will see the same question at the same time.
How to get started
It is super easy to set up your teacher account by going to www.blooket.com/signup and using an email address to get logged in. Once you are logged in, you can begin searching for sets or create your own right from the teacher dashboard you will see first on your screen.
Once you have sets and are ready to host a game, I suggest posting the blooket.com/play link somewhere the students can just click on it because it is hard to type it correctly! Google also seemed to want to just go to blooket.com so many of my students had to retype it a few times before they were in the right place. For instance, add the link to your Google Classroom, website or make it into a QR that students can easily scan. All students will need to do is add the game ID and choose a nickname to start the fun.
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About the writer
Katherine (Katie) Miller holds a Bachelor of Music in Education degree from Otterbein University (Westerville, OH) and a Masters of Educational Leadership from Antioch McGregor Midwest (Yellow Springs, OH). She has 15 years of professional musical experience as a music educator and performer.
She is currently employed by the School District of Waukesha in Waukesha, WI, where she teaches K-5 General Music and serves as a district model tech classroom. She was recognized in 2018 as a WPT Education Innovator by Wisconsin Public Television Education team. Twitter: K8TMiller
Looking for More Resources for Music Teachers?
Hello! I’m Katie Wardrobe – an Australian music technology trainer and consultant with a passion for helping music teachers through my business Midnight Music.
I’m a qualified teacher but no, I don’t currently teach in a school. I help teachers through my online professional development space – the Midnight Music Community – where there are tutorial videos, courses, links and downloadable resources.
I like to focus on easy ways to incorporate technology into what you are already doing in your music curriculum through a range of creative projects. I also run live workshops and have presented at countless conferences and other music education events.
If you want simple, effective ideas for using technology in music education, I would LOVE to help you inside the Midnight Music Community.