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Showing Respect Exercise (First Day)

August 12, 2012

This is an idea that came to me in the shower the other day (which is one reason why my water bill is too high):

Last year, I had a very hard time convincing my seniors that I was in fact not background noise, and that they needed to be quiet and listen during lectures. As a general rule, both of my senior classes were fun classes, and there definitely was learning going on. I was just frustrated that a few students could hijack things and make it difficult for others to focus. I thought of an exercise I might try the first day to address this.

  • Ask students to raise their hands if they are in drama or StuCo. Pick two students to “volunteer”.
  • Give each student a script. One student’s script is a description of the basic facts behind the 1066 Norman Invasion, and the other script is a description of the most recent Rangers or Cowboys game (I’m not sure which I’ll use).
  • Their instructions are to read the scripts at the same time in a normal speaking voice. They are welcome to add whatever dramatic emphasis they wish.
  • At the end, I will put up a Powerpoint slide with some basic questions about the 1066 invasion. I want to make the point that not only did the sports speaker not hear the information, but the rest of the class was also distracted from hearing it.

I thought about doing this with math, but I wanted to pit text piece versus text piece.

From here, I think I will ask the class what they think “respect” is. I’ve usually operated under the assumption that all of us know what it means, especially since these are 17-18 year olds, but maybe it would be a good idea for us to have a discussion about the concept. We’ll see.

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