Traditional with a Twist…

by Lisa Peel
Education Department, Terry Campus
Delaware Technical Community College
Tags: Active and Collaborative Learning

This time of year is full of traditions that we anticipate (with either excitement, angst or both). Traditional recipes and rituals are an important part of our culture, but sometimes we become so comfortable with our traditions that we fail to see that things could be done differently. The same can happen with our teaching. I challenge you to add a twist to your traditions this year whether it is adding a different spice to a recipe or incorporating a different activity into your holiday events. I also challenge you to add some spice to your teaching. You don’t have to abandon your comfort zone completely.

Here are 3 ways to ease from traditional instruction to a fresh technique.

1. Turn your multiple-choice test into a game. It can be as simple as having students write A, B, C, and D on index cards. Then pose the question and ask them to hold up their response. If you have more kinesthetic learners, use the 4 corners of the room to represent the four answers. They can choose their corner and discuss. Before you reveal the correct answer, eliminate 2 choices to generate more discussion and have those students reselect their answer. This allows you to easily assess who knows the answer and the thought process for arriving at that choice.

2. Make your match-the-vocabulary quiz into a puzzle of words and definitions or better yet give students a piece of the puzzle and have them mingle to find their match. If you wanted to really challenge them, you could stick a post-it note on their back with the key term and have them ask others questions to guess the word.

3. If you assign your students a textbook reading, use a simple pre-reading strategy that sets them up for understanding. Scan, copy or type paragraphs from the text and eliminate every eighth word before distributing. Students can work in small groups to predict the missing words. Regardless of their accuracy, they are analyzing the excerpt to determine their answers and, in the process, gaining the gist of the reading.

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