Week 7 Teaching Tips

Hello Faculty,

Welcome to week 7 – a short teaching week.  We look forward to seeing you during faculty-development days on Thursday and Friday.

How can I break up my lectures to increase learning?  Have your students practice placing terms, concepts, parts, etc. into categories.​

  • Have students create a worksheet or provide one  (CategorizationActivity), then students can write on the worksheets or write on slips of paper or notecards that are then sorted.
  • Have students sort pictures or items (e.g., parts, models)
  • Once items are sorted, they can also be placed into concept maps based on these categories.
  • Categories could also be used for cause and effect or predictions.  For example, students could sort based on whether an item would cause an increase in ____ or a decrease in ____.  They could then predict what would happen if they have more or less of each item.
  • If you would like to re-use this activity, you could have the sorting grid copied onto cardstock then laminated.  Dry-erase markers could then be used to write on these (black erases most easily).  You could also have cards copied onto cardstock (see page 3 of attached) then cut into 1/8 then laminated.  Using different colors could help place students into groups.  If you would like more information about these activities, stop by the CTL open house this week for a demonstration, or contact us.
  • This activity and variations are described in Angelo and Cross’ Classroom Assessment Techniques, and this book is full of other ideas of how to break up your class.  Check it out from the CTL Library in T2000.  This “chapter” is also available here: http://www.bhsu.edu/Portals/0/facultystaff/assessment/Fac.%20Dev/Stimulating%20%20Student%20Interest/Categorizing%20Grid.pdf

How can I see the Grid View in Discussions?   The Discussion tool has been updated to include the Grid View. This view was taken away last June, but has been brought back! NOTE: Each user will need to turn on the Grid View in their Discussions settings.  (Thanks to Beth Jensen at Bemidji State for sharing this tip)

To turn on the Grid View:

  1. Enter any course and go to the Discussions tool (under the Communications menu)
  2. Click the Settings link in the upper right
  3. Under View, click Grid view
  4. Save and Close.

How can I help groups work better in my classes?

(This first paragraph was included in past weeks, and we will explore the fifth element below)  Many of us have been a part of groups when we took classes or tried using groups in the classes we teach, and some of these groups worked better than others, and this might prevent us from using groups when we teach.  But, research shows that having students work together can improve learning, retention, create community, etc.  To help improve group work in your classes, we will explore the five elements of cooperative learning starting this week.  “Cooperative Learning involves structuring classes around small groups that work together in such a way that each group member’s success is dependent on the group’s success.” (From: http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/cooperative/index.html, see this site to learn more)

What are the key elements to help groups work better?  (We explored one each week)

“Group Processing: After completing their task, students must be given time and procedures for analyzing how well their learning groups are functioning and how well social skills are being employed. Group processing involves both taskwork and teamwork, with an eye to improving it on the next project.” (From: http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/cooperative/whatis.html#elements)

To increase group processing, have

  • teams/groups discuss how they could improve their task work and their team work during their next project or task.
  • individual students rate their own team contributions and the contributions of their teammates.  These could be turned in, and you could assign points.  Students could also discuss these.
  • students think about or write one positive thing each person brings to the team and one thing the team could do to improve then have them share the team improvements followed by focusing on each team member to share the positive statements.
  • students write reflection on their team’s work then discuss it.
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