1 BUILDING COMMUNITY IN THE CLASSROOM THROUGH ICE-BREAKERS. AND PARTING WAYS. Tami Eggleston, McKendree College, and Gabie Smith, Elon University (2002 Instructional Resource Award recipients). Overview Many instructors are concerned with creating a COMMUNITY in the CLASSROOM . Although there are numerous published ice-breakers, many of these techniques are not specific to psychology courses or have been used so much that the students see them as redundant and clich . Ice- breakers are better if they have relevance to a specific class, are targeted to the appropriate group, and are varied. The best ice-breakers simply are important, relevant activities that have as an additional feature an opportunity for the group to get acquainted. In addition, we do not view ice-breakers as only necessary the first day or first week of courses, but rather we view ice-breakers as ways to continue BUILDING COMMUNITY and introducing new topics. While the technique of using ice-breakers is well known, quite the opposite is the case with ending a course.
2 For example, McKeachie (1999) suggests using ice-breakers, although he does not give specific examples, yet little is mentioned about parting ways. In addition, little research has been conducted assessing the value of providing academic and psychological closure to a course. Many faculty realize that the end of a class can often seem abrupt and anti-climactic (Eggleston & Smith, 2001). We believe parting ways are essential for establishing academic closure ( , reviews of the material, post-tests of knowledge) as well as emotional closure ( , recognition, taking time to say good-bye). The very best parting way activities combine academic relevance, emotional closure, and make connections beyond the CLASSROOM (Eggleston & Smith, 2002). This resource provides a detailed overview of 15 effective ice-breakers and 15 useful parting ways that can be used in many psychology classes, at a variety of levels and for most class sizes. Instructions summarize the activity, provide directions, estimate the time needed for the activity, and suggest the most effective class size, variations, and any materials needed.
3 _____. Author contact information: Tami Eggleston, , Department of Psychology, McKendree College, Lebanon, IL 62254. Copyright 2004 by Tami Eggleston and Gabie Smith. All rights reserved. You may reproduce multiple copies of this material for your own personal use, including use in your classes and/or sharing with individual colleagues as long as the authors' names and institutions and the Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology heading or other identifying information appear on the copies document. No other permission is implied or granted to print, coy, reproduce, or distribute additional copies of this material. Anyone who wishes to produce copies for purposes other than those specified above must obtain the permission of the authors. 1. Outline of Contents Description References and Recommended Readings Ice-Breakers 1 Would you rather ? 2 Preposterous questions 3 Alphabet brainstorming: What do psychologists study? 4 Consumer psychologist for the day 5 Naturalistic observation 6 Pre-tests 7 Spontaneous show and tell 8 Cartoon mixer 9 Deck of cards group role assignments 10 Build something!
4 11 The living Likert scale 12 Who am I? 13 Pair/share 14 Electronic discussion boards 15 When the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing Parting Ways 1 Around the world in 15 weeks 2 Share your knowledge letters, brochures, web pages, posters and resident life programs 3 Post-tests 4 What is psychology? 5 Top 10 lists 6 Game show 7 COMMUNITY service and service learning 8 A class memento 9 Debates 10 Life maps 11 Research that really matters 12 Follow the bouncing ball 13 Psychology's greatest hits 14 Class closure cards 15 Who said that? Description This resource provides instructors with some useful ice-breakers and parting ways. Not all activities are appropriate for all courses or for all instructors' teaching styles or objectives. Rather, this resource is intended to spark interest in utilizing these teaching strategies to introduce topics, wrap-up units, and to create COMMUNITY in the CLASSROOM . While reading our specific ideas, we hope that readers will generate their own ideas that match specific course objectives, students, and teaching styles.
5 2. References and Recommended Readings Eggleston, T. J. (2000). Preposterous questions. Teaching for Success, 12, 5. Eggleston, T. J., & Smith, G. E. (2001). Creating COMMUNITY in the class: The use of ice-breakers and parting ways. Poster presented at the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology, St. Petersburg, FL. Eggleston, T. J., & Smith, G. E. (2002). Parting ways: Ending your course. American Psychological Society , 3. Keutzer, (1993) Jeopardy in abnormal psychology, Teaching of Psychology, 20, 45-46. Maier, M. H., & Panitz, T. (1996). End on a high note. College Teaching, 44, 145-149. McKeachie, W. J. (1999). Teaching tips: Strategies, research and theory for college and university professors (10th ed.). Lexington, MA: Heath. Pescosolido, B. A., & Aminzade, R. (1999). How to end courses with a bang. In B. A. Pescosolido & R. Aminzade (Eds.), Field guide for teaching in a new century (pp. 287- 289). Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. Smith, G. E., & Eggleston, (2003).
6 Examining cross-cultural diversity in psychology classes: Around the world in 15 weeks. Teaching of Psychology, 30, 55-56. Smith, G. E., & Eggleston, T. J. (2001). Around the World in 15 Weeks: Discussing diversity issues in psychology classes. Paper presented at the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology, St. Petersburg, FL. Wagenheim, G. (1994). Feedback exchange: Managing group closure. Journal of Management Education, 18, 265-270. ICE-BREAKERS. Ice-breakers can be used to build COMMUNITY within your class and also to introduce the upcoming topical matter. We believe that using ice-breaker activities allows students to be more engaged and interested in the topic. Ice-breakers are certainly necessary in the first days of a course, but ice-breakers also can be used to build COMMUNITY throughout the semester and to introduce new course material. ICE-BREAKER 1 Would You Rather ? Summary: Would you rather questions have students compare and contrast two different options that relate to the course material.
7 Courses: Works well in all psychology courses, questions can be adapted to specific class. Class Size: Works well in all class sizes 3. Class Time Involved: Approximately 10 minutes Materials Needed: None Procedure: The rules of Would you rather ? are simple; students have to choose one choice or the other. Of course neither selection is perfect, so students must weigh the pros and cons. Ask students if they would rather and provide them with two different options. Allow students a couple of minutes to think independently about this Would you rather question and then get them into small groups to discuss. Due to time issues, the groups can simply be based on where students are seated and allow the students to share their initial thoughts and then allow for students to challenge one another. Typically we will only do one Would you rather . question per day. In addition, we often will refer students to a particular page in the textbook if they need some background information.
8 After a few minutes, share some of the ideas with the entire class. Variations: Here are some of the Would you rather questions we have used; of course it is easy to develop other course related options. Would you rather possess all rods or all cones? Would you rather be unbelievably attractive but emit a constant unalterable bad-smelling odor or be below average in attractiveness but emit an irresistible odor? Would you rather have a partner who is unbelievably attractive but who emits a bad- smelling odor or have a partner who is below average in attractiveness but emits an irresistible odor? Would you rather have anterograde or retrograde amnesia? Would you rather be incredibly intelligent but extremely unhappy or incredibly happy but extremely unintelligent? Would you rather have schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder? ICE-BREAKER 2 Preposterous Questions Summary: Preposterous questions are questions that have students try to think about outrageous what if questions that relate to the course material.
9 Courses: Works well in all psychology courses, questions can be adapted to specific class Class Size: Works well in all class sizes Class Time Involved: Approximately 10 minutes Materials Needed: None Procedure: One of the activities that we introduce is what we call preposterous questions . (Eggleston, 2000). Specifically, we have used absurd, excessive, fantastical, and outrageous questions in many of our psychology classes in order to generate discussion and reveal underlying assumptions students have about topic areas. To start, get students into small groups and tell them to generate answers to the question by thoroughly considering all social, political, economic, psychological, biological, and similar issues. Variations: Some of the preposterous questions that we have used: 4. What if puberty started at 6 years old for everyone? What if puberty started at 35 years of age for everyone? What if everyone had a perfect memory? What if everyone lived to 150 or what if everyone only lived to 40?
10 What if everyone had the same personality but still had different intelligence levels, different appearance, and different abilities? What if no people could express emotions? What if all people had the sexual organs of men and women and there was no male and female anymore? ICE-BREAKER 3 Alphabet Brainstorming: What Do Psychologists Study? Summary: This ice-breaker is useful for a first or early on ice-breaker and lets students explore their preconceived notions about what psychologists study. Courses: Works well in all psychology courses, especially useful for Introductory Psychology Class Size: Works well in all class sizes Class Time Involved: Approximately 10 minutes Materials Needed: None Procedure: In classes of 30 or less, it is particularly effective to get students into groups of 5 or 6 and make this into an engaging competition. In larger classes, you could still have students work in groups or have people work individually. Another variation is to assign different parts of the CLASSROOM different letters ( , the upper back group will work with letter B; the front row will work with letter C, etc.)