Creating Notecards for AP Review: Powered by @PearDeck Vocabulary, @Quizlet, and @Wacom #edtech

If you’re an AP Calculus teacher, you are likely familiar with the popular “when you see the words… this is what you think of doing” worksheet. I often use this worksheet to kickstart review in class. It has always been a part of our opening conversation. In our class, the main goal is to take each “term” in the list and relate it directly to an example problem.

STEP 1: Students find examples for each “term”

Simply memorizing a stack of notecards is going to do very little good for a student studying math. Instead, the focus of this assignment was for students to connect each “term” in the worksheet with problems we have studied. Going through past problems and finding the relationship between those questions and the items on the “list” is a great exercise in and of itself. It requires students to think through why they solved each problem the way they did and how that question relates to the larger unit of study.

For this assignment, each student was responsible for a set of about 10 terms. For each term, their task was to find an example problem related to that definition. So first, the student needed to make sense of the term they were assigned. Then, they needed to dig back through questions to find a relevant problem to solve. Finally, once found, they needed to rework the solution.

STEP 2: Using Pear Deck Vocabulary to Respond

I put the entire “when you see the words… this is what you think of doing” set of terms into Pear Deck Vocabulary. I modified some of the right-hand column slightly based on specific phrases I use with my class, but this worksheet was the basis for the entire activity.

Then, I had students watch this video to understand how to complete the assignment in Pear Deck:

Note that my students all have a Wacom Intuos Tablet so that they can digitally write on their screen with a pen. As a math teacher, the Wacom tablet paired with Pear Deck has pretty much been one of my favorite things ever.

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If you are interested in starting with what I have put in Pear Deck Vocabulary as your base, please go ahead and grab that here — Pear Deck Vocab: AP Calculus Review Notecards — Based on “When you see the words …. This is what you think of doing” Worksheet

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STEP 3: ‘Quality Control’ to Discuss Solutions

Now this is where the magic happens. After students have completed all terms in Pear Deck Vocabulary, it’s time to move from the “Production Phase” to “Quality Control”  in Pear Deck. Here is where we can talk about each example as a class. We can dive into what is strong in each student’s example post and areas that could use improvement. As a class, we can decide which examples are ready to “accept” and move on to the next phase, or which terms still need some work*.  In this way, we can collectively determine areas we need to zone in on in our review phase.

*This is one thing I’d love to see tweaked in Pear Deck Vocabulary. Currently, you can “accept” or “reject” what each group has submitted. I’d love to see a symbol similar to a “reload page” icon instead of an “x” and for that button to trigger the term to return to the student. Doing so would open the opportunity for students to revise and resubmit (assuming the teacher gave time for this). In general, I think this subtle change would make the learning process feel more iterative and send positive messaging around errors and what to do with feedback when an initial attempt is not accepted.

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Since we have a lot of terms and I want students to engage fully in this phase of the activity, I am spreading Quality Control out. So each time we meet as a class, we will be going through about 10 notecards and deciding whether to accept each or not. This spaced practice should also serve them well in their overall studying.

STEP 4: Publish to Quizlet

Finally, after we have finished the Quality Control phase, I will be publishing the entire set to Quizlet so students can study actual examples. Each of these Quizlet notecards will have written text along with a drawing. As students go through these notecards, they will practice connecting the “terms” to real example problems that stress both a graphical and algebraic interpretation. And, they will be practicing their justification of answers in the process.

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Of course, I’ll be encouraging students to use the adaptive Quizlet learn mode with a “set due date” of May 14 in studying for their AP Calculus Exam!

STEP 4: Publish as printable flashcards or to Gimkit

Since writing this blog post, the Quizlet integration is no longer available. Instead, you can export the set as printable flashcards or directly to Gimkit for students to interact with.


If you are interested in running a similar activity in your class, then please feel free to start with the terms I have put into Pear Deck Vocabulary as your base — Pear Deck Vocab: AP Calculus Review Notecards — Based on “When you see the words …. This is what you think of doing” Worksheet. And if you have any feedback or suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

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