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Neat Topic!
 
Here's somethin' I do:  Have students pick an animal, or some other
non-human living thing that possesses qualities or characteristics that
they see in themselves. They then write a short paper identifying the
animal etc. they picked, and explaining why they picked the one they
did.  I make it VERY plain that I don't care about spelling, grammar,
whatever.
 
To help them get started, I explain that I'd choose a porcupine as my
representative because it's such a mellow, take life as it comes tripper
- until it's threatened.
 
After the folks write their papers, I try to match animal, etc. to
person, and I have them do like-wise.
 
We get to know a lot about each other.  The folks' honesty is always
refreshing, as is their often candid appraisal.
 
 
So...., as long as I'm talking about it, what non-human living thing
might you be??
 
Have fun with it,
 
Ed.
 
 
On Fri, 21 Apr 1995, Ted Panitz wrote:
 
> Greetings from Cape Cod
>         I would like to initiate a discussion of techniques used to help
> students
> and teachers get to know each other and essentially break the ice in classes
> where group learning is used or where interactions of any kind are used or
> encouraged. I would be happy to start. This first is probably well known.
>
> 1. The Interview-- I ask students to pair up with the person next to them and
>    "interview" them or just talk to each other to find out why their new buddy
>    is in school, what they are majoring in, what hobbies or outside interests
>    they have and specifically what is their biggest concern about being in the
>    class.  They have 10-15minutes to accomplish their discussion. They may write
>    information down but preferably they will just chat and remember as much as
>    they can.  They can talk in class or go outside, weather permitting, but must
>    return at the appointed time. They then are asked to volunteer to describe
>    their partner. Someone usually goes first as much to get over with as to
>    participate but that breaks the ice and gets thinmgs going.
>
>    I teach math so you can imagine what they response to the question about\
>    their concern is. They find after a few minutes that they all have the
>    same concerns and anxieties and that they have a lot in common. This helps
>    them to relax and know that they are not alone in dreaded algebra.
>
> 2. Finding Things In Common- In groups of four I ask them to find five things
>    they all have in common. I chose 5 so that they can't each pick one thing\
>    and be finished. The restriction is that they cannot pick school or work
>    items. They must be personal such as what music they like, books they read
>    or travels etc. They then report back to the whole class their results.
>
>    This is a fun excercize and I am always amazed at the things people have in
>    common. This tends to open people up and get them talking to each other.
>
> 3. This Is ME-- I ask students in groups of 2 or more to find something in their
>    wallet that would help the group understand who they are. This is a short
>    10 minute excercize which also personalizes the group.   Of course there are
>    the kids pictures but often people find other interesting items that even
>    surprise themselves.
>
> I use item 1 at the first class, item 2 when we first work in groups of more
> than 3 and the last one about 2 weeks into the semester, just to stimulate the
> concept of group dynamics.
>
> Finally does anyone know of any good books on this subject. I would suspect that
> role players and business trainers or group facilitators would be especially
> attuned to this subject.
>
> Please respond to the list or to me directly. I will keep track of the responses
> and try to compile them. If you wish a copy please e-mail me directly and I will
>
> forward you the results. Do not request the summary throught the list please or
> we will wind up annoying many people
>
> tpanitz@ mecn.mass.edu
> Ted Panitz,   Cape Cod Community College
>