prediction chartAs a Connection Activity you can present a scenario related to your lesson and have students make a prediction based on the scenario. You can use an online polling tool such as Socrative or Poll Everywhere to gather students' predictions, or have them note them individually and then reflect on them during the lesson. You can also use a Pause and Predict strategy with video where you play a small clip of a video and then pause it and ask students to predict what will happen next. This can encourage discussion related to the lesson topic and activate students' prior knowledge.

 listen for prompt. Think for one minute. Write for three minutesA Quick-write activity involves posing a question and giving students a set amount of time (from one to a few minutes) to respond in writing, or with a quick-draw activity you can ask students to draw their response. As a Connection Activity you can pose a question related to the lesson topic that taps into prior knowledge and use this as a prompt for a quick-write or quick-draw activity.

 

Reflection questions encourage students to think individually about their prior experiences and consolidate their knowledge. As a Connection Activity they can be used to stimulate students’ prior knowledge and get them thinking about the lesson topic.

Example

before you get started on this module, think about hte organization you currently work for or think about one that you are currently networking with for employment opportunities and answer the following questions:

  • What are some of the characteristics you personally admire about this organization? Why?
  • What kinds of opportunities are available within the organization for career management and development?
  • Would you refer a colleague or friend to this organization? Why?

This five-step activity guides students quickly through simple recall, summary, analysis, evaluation, and synthesis exercise and makes a great Summary Activity.

  • Recall: Students make a list of what they recall as most important from the lesson.
  • Summarize: Students summarize the essence of the lesson.
  • Question: Students ask one or two questions that remained unanswered.
  • Connect: Students briefly explain the essential points and how they relate to the goals of the class.
  • Comment: Students evaluate and share feedback about the lesson.

A screencast is a narrated video recording of your computer screen. A screencast can comprise anything from still images (for example, slides containing text or photographs) to full motion (for example, the movement of your mouse cursor, drawing or writing on slide, video clips from lab demonstrations, etc.). Using a screencast as a Content Activity can provide students with lessons they can watch at their convenience, as often as they choose, to review class material or to help understand concepts they find difficult.

The following is an example of a screencast:

For additional examples of screencasts, you can check out the Khan Academy which has more than 6000 screencasts on math, biology, physics, chemistry and more.

You can easily create your own screencasts using the following tools: Jing, Screenr, Screencast-o-matic, Screenchomp, and Educreations.

Self-test activities allow students to assess their ability or level of understanding and can be a powerful way to reinforce key concepts in a course. There are a variety of formats that can be used to create self-tests, including flashcards, matching exercises, ordering exercises, crosswords, multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, etc. You can easily create self-test activities using tools such as:

Simulations offer students a safe environment to practice skills while experiencing as close to a real situation as possible within a safe learning environment. In role-plays students take on an assigned role and play out a scenario. They have an opportunity to experience how various perspectives might interact. Through both of these experiences students are able to develop decision-making and critical thinking skills. Although not “the real thing,” role-plays and simulations have the potential to illicit deep emotions and feelings, both of which make learning “stick.” The following articles provide some tips for incorporating simulation and role play into the classroom:

As a Summary Activity you can ask students to develop a grading rubric related to the evaluation that would be associated with the lesson topic. When students are involved in the process of creating a rubric they have a better understanding of the standards, gradations, and expectations of evaluations. You can divide students into groups and have each group develop the grading criteria for a specific objective and then combine the criteria together into one rubric. You can also have students grade mock assignments using the grading rubric to increase their familiarly with the evaluation criteria. Also, you can use the student-generated rubric to mark the evaluation related to the lesson topic. You can provide students with some resources and sample rubrics via RubiStar or iRubric.

With this activity, students are asked to prepare two or three potential test questions and accompanying correct responses for the lesson material. This activity allows the faculty member to see what their students consider the most important or memorable content, what they understand as fair and useful test questions, and how well they can answer the questions they have posed. The test questions can be used to facilitate an in-class review session, and can also be considered for use on upcoming tests.

You could also have students create self-test activities or games using their test questions and post them for each other to complete. Some simple tools for creating self-test activities include Game Templates and Microsoft Office Games.

The Take a Stand learning technique encourages students to express an opinion and provide their rationale.

How to implement the Take a Stand learning technique

Students stand and form a line across the classroom, with one extreme opinion at one end, and the opposite opinion at the opposite end (neutral or undecided students stand near the middle). Walk along the line with a "microphone" (a chalk brush will do), interviewing students on their opinions and querying their reasons.

think pair share image

This activity involves posing a question to students, asking them to take a few minutes of thinking time and then turning to a nearby student to share their thoughts. As a Practice Activity, this strategy encourages students to think about something, such as a problem, question or topic, and then articulate their thoughts. Think-Pair-Share promotes understanding through active reasoning and explanation and encourages students to understand multiple perspectives.

Think-Puzzle-Explore imageThe Think/Puzzle/Explore Activity helps students connect to prior knowledge, stimulates curiosity and lays the groundwork for independent inquiry. It involves posing the following three questions to students as you introduce a topic:

  • What do you think you know about this topic?
  • What questions or puzzles do you have?
  • How can you explore this topic?

You can give students a few moments to consider the lesson topic at hand then, work as a whole class or in small groups and brainstorm ideas in the three areas.

The Traveling Files learning technique is best used for skill application practice, building analytical skills and building critique and feedback skills.

How to implement the Traveling Files learning technique

Put the students into small groups. Each group receives a different case study or a problem requiring a solution, which they complete using guided questions. When signalled, each group passes its file to another group, moving in one direction. Each group then critiques the previous group’s answer or solution, recording their analysis. Rotate files once more, with the third group assessing both the first group’s answer and the second group’s analysis and adding their comments. Rotate files back to original groups for debriefing.

video activityVideo can effectively communicate complex information to students and there are an endless number of ways that video can be used as a Content Activity. Watching a video can be a passive experience so you may want to consider providing students with some guiding questions to answer or an activity to complete while watching the video. The image on the right is an example of a template that can be used to guide viewing.

You may also want to consider incorporating some interactivity into your video. There are a few tools including: Educannon, EdPuzzle and Thinglink that allow you to add interactive questions and rich media into an existing video's timeline to actively engage viewers. The following are some examples of these tools in action:

There are a variety of sources where you can locate educational videos including the following:

You can also make your own videos using tools such as Animoto, GoAnimate, Photo Story, PowToon, RawShorts or WeVideo. In addition, you can work with our Multimedia Developer to create a custom video, for example: Grammar Videos.

The use of a short video clip that addresses the relevance of the lesson topic, or tells a compelling story that illustrates its importance can be a great way to connect students to a lesson. You can find engaging videos on sites such as TED and Big Think and can shorten video clips using TubeChop and YTCropper in order to make them a more manageable length for a Connection Activity.

You may wish to ask your students some reflecting questions about the video. Here are some question examples for a video on metacognition:

  • What strategies do you think you are currently using to support metacognitive knowledge?
  • What strategies do you think you could be using to support metacognitive knowledge?
  • What strategies do you want to learn more about to support metacognitive knowledge?

Virtual field trips as a Content Activity can provide students with the opportunity to construct knowledge actively through interacting with digital places and artifacts and can extend beyond the boundaries of time and place allowing students to experience virtual field trips at any time. Through virtual field trips students can make observations and experience environments without having to visit the actual site or destination. There are a variety of online virtual field trips that allow students to view museum exhibits, explore natural wonders, and visit destinations all over the world. Students can ‘walk’ down any street and visit many locations using Google Street View, they can also stroll around and explore famous museums using Google Art Project. Other popular museums also have virtual exhibits including the Virtual Museum of Canada and the Smithsonian Museum.

A WebQuest, according to Bernie Dodge, the originator of the WebQuest concept, "is an inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web.” In a typical WebQuest, students are provided with links to online resources and are asked to use this information to answer specific questions or to solve a presented problem. You can find some examples of WebQuests at WebQuest.org and you can easily create your own using tools such as Zunal or Sqworl.

Who Am I? is an activity that provides students the opportunity to use their content knowledge to identify a significant concept, idea, theory, person, place, or object related to course content. This activity requires students to develop an understanding of course content and think through key concepts by asking questions. Prior to using Who Am I? as a Practice Activity, identify a list of significant concepts, ideas, theories, people, places, or objects related to the course content. Write down the ideas on index cards that students can draw. Select a student (or group of students) to draw a card with a concept, idea, theory, person, place, or object on it. Allow a couple of minutes for selected students to reference readings or other materials to prepare to answer questions. Students in class ask questions to the selected student in order to determine who or what was on the card selected. The questions must be phrased to allow for only a “yes or no” response. After each question, the student or group of students asking the question may guess or pass.