I joked with my students today that some of my fellow professors likely spent the summer researching and publishing academic journal articles, but I spent the summer painting popsicle sticks.
Since I believe in a very active learning environment, I have my students doing a group work at some point during almost every class. As opposed to students gravitating towards the same exact groups over and over, I like to find ways to facilitate more interaction with everyone throughout the semester. This year I started using an idea I saw on Pinterest about grouping students with popsicle sticks that have different colors, numbers and symbols.
I took the idea and painted 50 sticks with ten different colors so I can get groups of 5 students. Then I stamped 16 different letters of the alphabet so I could get groups of 3 (with a couple extra). The numbers on the stick creates groups of six students working together and symbols makes up groups of four. Students each take a stick and then I tell them what aspect of the stick will be grouping them for the activity. Figuring this out involved a huge chart and lots of help from Sean.
Colorful popsicle sticks might seem silly at this level of education, but I tried it today for the first time and it totally worked.
In my soul I must be a kindergarten teacher, who just really wants to teach college classes.
Tomorrow's the first day of my fourth semester teaching and I am officially ready to go.
There seem to be a million details to remember for the five classes I have, but one of the details I still love are little first day of school gifts. I covered some notepads for my two office mates and the two amazing administrative assistants at both schools I teach at. I have done this before a couple of different ways, this year they are pretty simple though. I did scan in one of the pieces of patterned paper to make the tag.
Here it is in case you love those first day of school details too...
Miraculously, Mac is a morning person...despite the fact that his mom and dad are the absolute worst at waking up. Maybe it's a nature vs. nurture attribute and Mac inherited it from his major morning person step-dad.
This was taken at 6:38 this morning and Mac could not be more ready for his junior year.