Tag Archives: Group Building

Ice Breaker (Poetry)

Ice Breaker (Poetry)

Shared by Gael Grossman

This ice breaker activity uses poetry to get students to work together early in the semester and offers an opportunity to discuss limerick and haiku.

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Book Club Materials

Book Ballot

Ground Rules for Book Clubs

Book Checkout Form

Reading Strategies 101

Reading Strategies 101Filledin

Book Club Reflections 216

The Envelope please

Book Club Final Reflections

Shared by Meagan Newberry

With inspiration from/credit to Harvey Daniels’s Literature Circles

Students formed groups based on the book of their choice (they turn in a top 3 out of a choice of about six—I got a grant to buy sets of book). They met for about 20-30 minutes once a week. They set their own ground rules, after we talked a bit about what makes a group  work, etc. I also spent time on reading strategies (attached, but I use those separately with the whole class, or even in classes without book clubs).The “Book Club Reflections 216” attachment is one example of what I asked them all to do each time they met. I used the honor system and asked them to report if they read or not, and if so, how much. I found that students self-reported pretty accurately, and I simply choose not to police them because I want the crux of this to be reading both for pleasure and the challenge of discussing chosen reading. Most students participate actively and enjoy the process. Of course, a few are always unprepared, and we talk about how to prevent that. For those few, the “grade threat” sadly is what pushes them to try to be prepared. I really hope for intrinsic motivation with this, and for 80% of students, it works really well. I highly recommend a copy of “Literature Circles” or “Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles,” both by Harvey Daniels.

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Name Game

The Name Game

Wach’s “What’s in a Name?

Shared by Sarah Alexander Tsai

By investigating the origins and meanings of their own names, students learn how to blend primary research (especially personal interviews) with focused personal narrative.  Since this fairly low-stakes assignment also functions nicely as a community builder, I like to assign it early on.  Recommended accompanying readings for this assignment are as follows:

  • Bonnie Wach’s “What’s in a Name?”
  • Tom Rosenberg’s “Changing My Name after Sixty Years”
  • Sandra Cisneros’ “My Name”

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Who’s Your Reader? Magazine Audience Activities

magazine audience activity

Shared by Sarah Tsai

I usually bring a diverse collection of magazines to class for these two activities, but online periodicals would work just as well.  The second activity (p. 2) has a surprise buried in it.  Each group/pair of students must swap topics with another group/pair.  They must find a way to make their new topic appeal to the readers of the periodical they’re using.

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