As teachers, each time we have a new class to teach, before the first encounter even if you are teaching in K-12 or in higher education, we prepare some get to know activities for our students. Thanks to the advances in technology, you don`t need to go far to get some first day activity ideas. When you google `get to know you activities`, you reach 464.000.000 results.
2 weeks ago when we were about to start our 3rd term at our school, I was going to follow this process, but a dear colleague, Devrim Ozdemir, gave me an idea to try on my first day with my reading class. With some revisions here it is..
This term- which will last 2 months- I will be teaching Reading and Writing and on the first day I started the first reading lesson by having my students do a very easy task, which was reading something. The whole thing was both a get to know you activity and reading something online.
Step 1: Students will need their smartphones for this activity.
Almost everyone in your class will have a smartphone, and if there is someone without one, s/he can use the class computer maybe or share one with a friend.
Step 2: Tell them to go to Google.
Step 3: They are supposed to do a 5-10 minutes reading on a topic they are interested in, passionate about or wonder about. While doing the reading, they are supposed to learn new things.
Step 4: After reading, they talk about what they learned by not giving the topic itself so that the others will listen and try to guess what s/he read. This way the other students will have an idea about the speaker`s interests.
Alternative Step 4: The students may first talk in groups of 3. They may share the topic and even show pictures or videos if they want to.
Step 5: If you are teaching at a university prep school like me, you may even lead the conversation and make a connection between their departments and their interests, or personalities, and have a class conversation.
I named this post `Killing two birds with one stone` as by doing such a simple icebreaker like this one, firstly you will be integrating technology in your teaching in a meaningful way, and secondly you will be encouraging and leading them to do readings on their mobiles in the classroom or outside whenever they feel the need or the desire.
I labelled it a an icebreaker, yet it doesn’t have to be so. It can be used as a warm-up, or brainstorming before a reading and so on.
Last but not least, buy doing these kind of activities in class, the teacher can create a mobile reading culture in class which may help the learners outside the school context.
Thanks for checking this out and of course you are welcome to share your comments.