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Ted:
 
I do similar things in my math classes, though not so elaborate as yours.
Since I have students in cooperative groups, I have the groups introduce
each other. I also manage to learn--and have nearly every student
learn--the names of everyone in the class (up to 35) and be able to call
everyone by name by the end of the first class. It serves to bond the
class and is one of the most effective ways I know to develop the
necessary feeling of community. I think it is probably the single most
effective method of preparing the learning environment that I know.
 
I'm glad you introduced this thread. I think it will be very worthwhile.
 
John Flanigan <[log in to unmask]>
Kapi'olani Community College, Honolulu