Have an idea that you are now implementing or would love to implement in your class in the future? Share it here. Get feedback. Maybe we will make a full-on ATF meeting about it to workshop with you! Feel free to explain/outline your idea. Use the comments section below to collaborate about your teaching ideas! Any topic, any time frame, any thoughts! BRAINSTORM! GO!


5 thoughts on “IDEAS!

  1. leahmccurdy

    Lessons from the past?? I just had a fun idea while looking over some archaeology news websites for class… What if you created a semester long project to involve the whole class surrounding recent archaeological discoveries (sourced from archaeology news venues like with the intent to connect them to archaeology’s social relevance? I just recently added a section to my schedule for Intro to Archaeology spending the whole class period of the six topics of archaeology’s social relevance determine by the SAA. We discuss them and then I have my students look through recent archaeology news articles and try to apply the social relevance topics to the recent finds. But to expand this idea, what if over the semester, students were required to continually contribute to “Lessons for the Past” (a blog, or discussion thread in Blackboard, or wiki page?) where they found new articles and made their own connections outside of class. You could also tie in principles of archaeological ethics or even other class content. This would be a great way to keep students invested in the neat finds always happening, keep them thinking of those key topics and concepts, not too mention keep you up to date on the newest stuff coming out of the ground!
    I can see great potential to use this idea for cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, primatology, and linguistics as well! THOUGHTS?

    • Will

      I think this is a great idea, Leah. And I can definitely see how it could be implemented in a variety of contexts. For example, in my sex/gender course this past summer, there was always stuff going on in the media that was relevant to whatever we were reading. Students sent me all sorts of links and stuff without even being prompted. It’s really great when they can make connections between course content and “the real world.”

  2. leahmccurdy

    I’ve been thinking of a different way to include news media into class and promote students’ communication skills! As a component of extra credit, I want to give students the opportunity to source and present on a recent archaeological finding (based on new sources such as for example). Taking 5 or so minutes at the beginning of class to allow a student to present to their peers about a new and exciting find would be a great way to fold in this new content, student participation, flipped-classroom type teaching, and presentation skills. I would offer this as extra-credit to students trying to make up from a missed class or lack-luster assignment. I think this would also be a great way to motivate students to seek out their own information on the subject. Modeling academic news sourcing in the first couple weeks of class (using a computer classroom perhaps) would be a good way to ensure that students have a good understanding of what they are expected to do. I want to incorporate more ways to get my students involved in the presentation of class content and I think this could be one that could also bring good spontaneity to classes as well!

  3. leahmccurdy

    I will be posting the recap for Emily Lloyd’s discussion on student empowerment soon. In that meeting, we discussed the power of offering students choices in class. She offered an idea to schedule days at the end of content sections sort of like free days that could be independent study days. Students could have the freedom to pursue whatever interested them about that section and in the manner that they find most effective.
    I was thinking that if you schedule a couple of these a semester, you could book a computer lab or computer classroom (like the UTSA library offers) and have students exploring topics and asking questions. They could use the internet or the library resources to find information above and beyond what you presented. Certainly there would be a bit of goofing off but I’ve found that that isn’t always a bad thing. This could be another way of modeling curiosity and the research process. You could model it for them on a projected screen, bringing up google scholar and putting in “bioarchaeology at pompeii” or whatever and showing how academic exploration works. Then give them the opportunity to do it themselves. Then at the end of class, come back as a group for five minutes and let some folks share their findings. What did you study independently and what did you find?

  4. leahmccurdy

    Reading this Faculty Focus article sparked a great idea for all classes … . A colleague at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio often uses meditation of breathing with his students before they sit down to take an exam to reduce test anxiety. In a broader way, I would love to institute “mindfulness prep sessions” before each class period. Taking advantage of the time period between classes, what if I arrived early every class and offered the opportunity to meditate or do some light stretching to any students that wanted to participate as preparation to be “mindful” in class. This would certainly be an activity to help me concentrate and would create an atmosphere of purpose in the class I think. For those students not interested in meditation, they can wait outside the classroom until they are asked to join the rest of the class. These mindfulness prep session could last about 10 minutes and include anything from basic breathing exercises, purposeful meditation, chanting (possibly if you have a group of students that are really game for it), laughter yoga (again have to have students that are into it), or basic yoga stretching exercises. There would not be anything strenuous, but relaxing. This might actually be a good way to create community in the classroom and a sense of common purpose.

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