Saturday, January 12, 2013
ice breaking: periodic table of elements
I think we all know the typical ice-breaking activities on the first day of class: there is the classic two truths and a lie (which worked really nicely in a Journalism class I taught and the students got to interview one another to find out the lie), there's interviewing a partner and having the other introduce that person (and it can even be as specific as interviewing that person about their name, so the name becomes more memorable), there's the game where you toss a ball around the room and the students have to answer whatever question the thrower asks, there's the activity where you are to give your partner three objects from your bag and use those objects to create a poem from them and read it to introduce your partner. Etc.
But I love this one from the poet Danielle Pafunda, and I can imagine adapting it in a myriad of ways. Print out a blank copy of the periodic table of elements and have the students fill them out: they can use clippings (perhaps bring magazines or newspapers?), words, quotes, etc. I imagine they could do it in partners or solo, then gradually bring it to a large group creation (turn into an overhead, or, if that is too antiquated, some kind of fancy computer projection, or--in the university I taught at, in some of the nicer buildings, there was a camera-projection so anything you wrote on or placed beneath the lens would get projected onto the screen). Perhaps the instructor might want to make a version of his or her own to share with the class--a way to introduce poetic terms, key concepts for the class, crucial figures to you in the poetic world.