Quiz Quiz Trade ::with Afro-latino example question set::

It’s no secret that I loved my past life as a self-identified ‘cooperative learning’ teacher. Thanks to the Anchorage School District and my methods teacher, I attended my fair share of Kagan strategies as a pre-service teacher and newbie public school teacher.

Once I learned about Comprehensible Input from Michele Whaley, Cooperative Learning Martina retired. However, like that retired world language teacher that you can still call on to sub for you in a pinch, Cooperative Learning Martina has kept her teaching certificate valid and still makes regular appearances in my lesson planning.

Quiz Quiz Trade is one of my favorite Kagan strategies because it is SO FREAKIN EASY! If you are looking for a quick, interactive ‘break’ for your students–an activity to get them up and moving–this is a great one! Keeping in mind what we know about language acquisition, here are some things to consider when planning a cooperative learning activity:

  1. Output follows input. What comprehensible input have you provided to prepare students for this activity? I’m not talking about going over vocab with them or analyzing an #authres. I’m talking SERIOUS comprehensible input–input that students can understand completely, not kindof understand and mostly guess.
  2. Forced output doesn’t help students acquire language. When output is forced (when students are made to write or speak before they are ready to write or speak), it is full of errors and raises the affective filter. Raised affective filter is bad for acquisition! Output that is full of errors is fair game for acquisition by other students in the class, so watch out–you want your students to receive accurate input so that they form a correct mental representation of the target language.
  3. Input is indispensable to language acquisition. Comprehensible Input is the one thing such that by doing it (providing it), all other activities become easier or unnecessary. Spend the bulk of your class time providing comprehensible input (the BIG bulk of your class time–not the slight majority), and cooperative learning activities like Quiz-Quiz-Trade become unnecessary, but easier if you choose to use them.

If you are trying to figure out the role of cooperative learning activities in a world language class in which the teacher strives to provide extensive amounts of compelling, comprehensible input, I recommend reading Jillane Baros’ perspective! Her original cooperative learning post is here and she posted an update on her thoughts here. “Like” her Facebook page to follow her CI journey; I love learning from her experiences and reflections!

Okay, so what exactly is Quiz-Quiz-Trade?

Quiz-Quiz-Trade is a Cooperative Learning strategy taught by Kagan Cooperative Learning. I highly recommend attending a Kagan training in your area! Workshops can be located on the Kagan website. Quiz-Quiz-Trade is a VERY easy strategy! Here’s how to ‘play’:

  1. Write a bunch of questions–enough for each student in your class to have one. In a class of 35 students, you’ll want 35 different questions (or you could have two large groups of 18 and 17 students so that you don’t have to write so many questions).
  2. Put each question on a card.
  3. Give one question card to each student. Make sure that each student knows the correct answer of his or her card (you could have the answer on the back of the card).
  4. Have all students find a partner using the Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up strategy (also from Kagan). Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up is also super easy: 1) All students stand up. 2) All students put one hand up, straight in the air. 3) Each student gives a high-five to another student that has his or her hand in the air. They are now partners!
  5. Partner A (the tallest student, for example) asks the question on his or her card to Partner B.
  6. Partner B responds.
  7. Partner A states whether Partner B’s response was correct or incorrect.
  8. Partner B asks the question on his or her card to Partner A.
  9. Partner A responds.
  10. Partner B states whether Partner A’s response was correct or incorrect.
  11. Partners trade cards. A and B each have a new card!
  12. Partners A and B put their hands in the air and repeat steps 3-10 to find a new partner, ask each other their questions, and ultimately receive a new card!

It is entirely possible that, through the course of the activity, a student will get his or her original card back as trades continue to happen. This is okay!

I recommend doing this activity for no more than 5 minutes in a language class. 5 minutes is enough time for students to get a lot of interaction (which is a nice break from input!) and not so much time that they get off-task. I manage activities like these with the “Hole Punch Police”, which you can read about here.

Can I see an example?

You betcha! Here is a set of question cards (40 cards, which should be more than enough!!) about notable Afro-latinos. The questions are all true-false so that they require minimum spontaneous output from students, keeping input at the forefront of the activity (students READ the question cards and LISTEN to what their partner is asking, and they only have to SAY ‘cierto’ or ‘falso’). The questions are based on the 20 biographies from my Notable Afro-latinos slideshow and grudgeball games product, which you can purchase here.


Click on image to download Quiz Quiz Trade instructions and Afro-latino question card set



  1. Martina, what does Dr. Krashen say about testing students formatively? It seems like he has said in the past that tests and quizzes add pressure to target. Also, “input that students can understand completely, not kind of understand and mostly guess.” Does Krashen advocate full transparency? It seems on this subject he supports “Kind of understanding and guessing” as in inferring meaning, which promotes incidental vocabulary acquisition. This supports Dr. Mason’s message that we not test (or quiz) students and instead tell children not worry about understanding individual words. “Just enjoy the story” as Dr. Mason tells her students, promoting limited accountability. Please talk with Dr. Mason; she has amazing insights and she shares so generously (and for free). Beniko-Mason.net


    • Thanks for your comments, Claire! I am not sure what your question about formative testing has to do with this post, since it is not a post about assessment. Perhaps the confusion stems from the title of the activity (Quiz Quiz Trade)? I do not assess students on this activity, either formatively or summatively. I understand what you are saying about full transparency. What I am referring to “not kind of understand and mostly guess” is the kind of input that I was taught to be comprehensible in my teacher training and in my first year of teaching, and what I still see used by many teachers; the kind of comprehensible input that is comprehensible only by chance. Let me illustrate: I once participated as a student in a German lesson that started with TPR. I followed along and *I think* understood what the first 3-4 words were. Then, a word and a gesture were added that I simply could not interpret. I had no clue what it was. I kept copying the motion, I thought, but I very quickly realized that I was no longer doing what most people in the class were doing. I asked for clarification of meaning, and I was shown the gesture again (no different, new attempt to clarify meaning). The idea was that I would catch on eventually. I never did and I was lost from that moment on. I taught like this in my first few years of teaching before learning about the input hypothesis. I thought that as long as I gestured and circumlocuted, my students would get the gist of what I was saying and that would be enough–but it wasn’t, as was evidenced by the texts that my students *weren’t* able to interpret and the language that they *couldn’t* produce. Mostly guessing is NOT comprehending, and that is what I meant by the statement. Thank you as always for your promotion of Dr. Mason; her research and personal experience have given me much to consider since I learned about her last fall, and I look forward to continuing to learn from her along with you!


      • Thanks for the response. I asked because I formatively assess whenever I ask students to respond to input. I even formatively assess by simply “teaching to the eyes.” Just because you didn’t grade the assessment does not mean that children did not feel pressure to respond to/master individual words. In the same way, you weren’t graded on the words but still felt accountable for individual words in the German class you described. The issue of eliciting response is important because asking students to show what they understood word-for-word can lead to pressure to “master” words. Dr. Krashen writes that “we acquire about 5% of the meaning of the word … The response to the objection that students may not get the entire meaning with one exposure is to provide many exposures in different contexts.” Krashen seems to advise against eliciting responses that make children feel they are expected to “translate” individual words -especially after massed repetition- and respond verbally or nonverbally. That’s why Dr. Mason does not have students respond at all during the story. Story Listening is not just another activity. It is a choice to use no or low accountability storytelling. FVR is intentionally low or no accountability. It is true to Dr. Krashen’s Comprehension Checking hypothesis that the more we comprehension check, the less compelling (or frustrating in your case) the story or message becomes. I am so lucky to have found Dr. Krashen or Dr. Mason’s wise insights on why 100% transparency is not necessary or even advisable. It has made my classroom truly joyful.


  2. Great post! Thank you for sharing. I just started using some of your posted methods and activities…I truly appreciate the way you explain and link to examples and even give *shout outs* to what other teachers are doing.

    It’s 5:30 am and this post will be used in class today! Thank you again for all you do!


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