This semester, this is what I plan to do.
- Allow each student to come to the front of the room and choose one manipulative (toy) from the basket, along with one sheet of 8-1/2×11 paper. (I purchased inexpensive manipulatives from Oriental Trading Company.)
- After students return to their seats, I ask them to name their toys. If they choose a short first name (three letters or fewer), they must also give their toy a last name.
- Students then write the name of their toys vertically down the long edge of the paper.
- Have students write one thing they learned for each letter in the name of their toy. For example, if you’re in a Public Speaking class and your toy is named Beetlejuice, the B could stand for “Be yourself.” Allow them no more than five minutes for this part of the activity.
- Break students into small groups of five or fewer to shair their memories with each other. (They can also help each other out if not everyone was able to come up with something for each letter in the name.)
- [OPTIONAL, depending on amount of time you have] Back in the large group, ask students to share their toys’ names and what they’ve come up with for each letter of their toys.
- Ask students to provide their toys’ names (etc.) as as comments to a blog post you’ve created for them, so that you can save the information for your own future use. Have this count as part of their class participation for the semester.
- Instead of giving students toys, have them use their own first names (or first and middle, if the names are short). Or have them use the name of their favorite actor or musician.
- Let students borrow the toys, and collect them at the end of the class, rather than allowing them to keep the toys.
- If you have a document projector, students could come to front of room and display their handwritten thoughts and the toy by using the projector.
Photo Credit: http://www.orientaltrading.com/ui/browse/processRequest.do?demandPrefix=12&sku=39/1878&mode=Searching&erec=13&D=bendable&Ntt=bendable&Ntk=all&Dx=mode%2bmatchallpartial&Ntx=mode%2bmatchallpartial&N=0&requestURI=processProductsCatalog&sd=Bendable+Race+Car+Drivers