I’m leading a seminar to help graduate students and faculty teach an advanced writing course I designed. Two of our guiding class principles involve building community and having fun. People learn better when they feel connected and happy. I love classrooms that foster a positive mood, laughter, and belonging. I also advocate for a daily attendance question to get people talking. While I provide a list of my favorite questions, I find that my instructors contribute their own favorite questions that I collect like fine chocolate. I just love a great question! Here are the two I heard about yesterday:
Ask: What do you genuinely like about yourself?
Ask: What’s something you know a ridiculous amount about?
The first question helps build confidence for interviews, but it’s a great question to ask a teenager. Try it! And answer it for yourself as well. I genuinely like how God made me an encourager and that I like to help others thrive.
The second question will lead to so much laughter and connection. (I know way too much about grammar, Gilmore Girls, and pop culture in general.) I have students who I imagine know way too much about Star Wars, cryptocurrency, and, of course, Taylor Swift.
I also heard from a professor about a great activity to try during longer classes. It’s called the 2 minute stretch. At the halfway point of a long class, this professor invites a different student each day to lead the class in a 2 minute stretch or movement of some kind to get students to stand up and get out of their seats. I just love this! So far, I learned about a student bringing in a soccer ball for everyone to kick around and a student who led the class in imaginary hula-hooping for 2 minutes. People laughed and really got into it! I love this professor’s philosophy that we’re simply sitting too much. And it’s a leadership activity to challenge a student to lead others in a group activity.
I’m happy I have 2 fresh questions and a 2-minute activity to try next week.