USGC Active Learning Activities




Michelle Parker

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USGC Active Learning Activities

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Athens, Georgia, for the USG (University System of Georgia) Teaching and Learning Conference. Most attendees were from different colleges and universities in Georgia, but they were thrilled that I had traveled from Texas to visit their conference. I chose this conference because of the wonderful sessions they offered for active learning and I was not disappointed. Though I regularly employ active learning techniques and strategies in my courses, learning about new activities I can bring to my students to empower them, encourage active learning, and give them new tools to take to their future classrooms is always fun. Dr. Mary Huffman from Georgian Southwestern State University presented one of the most enjoyable sessions - Hip Professors Integrate HIP Activities: Engage and Innovate Education. Since you all were not lucky enough to attend this fantastic conference and her fabulous session, I will share a few strategies and activities with you here. Wikki Stix Wikki Stix is a set of crazy little colored sticks or waxed yarn, to be more precise. They can be easily cut, molded, shaped, and bent. They don’t melt, dry, or harden. Wikki Stix can be manipulated in any form or fashion, but you can’t put them back together if you cut them. The great thing about Wikki Stix is that it can be used for a number of activities. Example activity Step 1: Each student gets a Ziploc bag of Wikki Stix. Step 2: Set the timer and challenge students to create symbols using the Wikki Stix to show what they know about their previous lesson Step 3: Discuss student symbols and the “why” behind them Artifacts and costumes Artifacts and costumes can be used to enhance instruction and encourage participation. They “hook” students into investigation and inferencing, incorporating the artifacts in the process. Costumes can be used in much the same way – for inferencing, to “hook” the students, etc. Example activity Split students into small groups of three or four. Gather a collection of artifacts and cases – artifacts and costumes in the case should match the case in geographic location and time period. Each artifact should lend itself to the “story.” Include objects and images. You could also include a Ziploc baggie with a “smelling” item. Add five or six items to each case. Have students makes inferences about the time period and the wearer of the clothing items and artifacts. Have students complete the USG presentation Graphic organizer to analyze historical traveling trunk documents, then hold a discussion as a whole group about each case or have students create a video or short response writing describing the “character” and time period/event from the case.

For more ideas and activities from the conference, feel free to reach out to me.