Linkers

Students find out other ways they connect with each other

Photo of Michele Schell

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Each student gets a sticky note and writes her/his name and draws a picture of her/his own face or something they enjoy or relate to. Students are then asked to stick them anywhere on a wall/poster/glass board/whiteboard (keep in mind that they're going to draw on that later on, and it might get a bit messy). Students are then asked: "where do you know each other from?" - this could be a nice starting point because they probably know one another only from school or their neighbourhood - obvious places. The teacher asks "how well do you know each other?".  The point of this activity is to help them find things in common (likes, dislikes, places they have been to, common friends and relatives, favourites, etc) that they would never think of asking their peers. The teacher then models the activity with one student by asking about favourite bands, movies, books, until the pair finds one thing that they both share. A line then is drawn between the sticky notes, linking them together. Above the line, they write that connects them (e.g. "Harry Potter"). All students are given markers, get up and mingle. The point of this activity is to make students talk to and link as many peers as possible.

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Photo of Gaynor
Team

Hi Michele, I like the idea of this. Have you considered having students find a common link with every other student? and then see where groups of three or four students may share the same interests?

Photo of Megan
Team

Hi Michele, what a fun idea! would love to see this structured out with the specific questions you ask, timing, steps, and how you frame it, etc, you can add a google doc for others to also check out and collaborate with thoughts. How do you make sure that students are partnering up with someone new that they might not usually talk to? I wonder, as students go through this activity, is there a way to dig deeper into the empathy aspect? What kinds of questions trigger thoughtful responses or inspire students to share out more personal experiences? Great idea!

Photo of Erin
Team

Love this idea! It reminds me of this, a bit: http://gamestorming.com/games-for-opening/low-tech-social-network/

Photo of Chantelle
Team

Simple and powerful! Love it!

Photo of Michele
Team

<3 <3

Photo of Michael
Team

Hi Michele, this is a cool idea! I wonder if you would be interested in building collaboratively with Empathy Map Co-Creation Seems like you two have some common ground. Might be able to iterate on your ideas and develop a resource or toolkit. Just a thought!

Photo of Michele
Team

It works quite well with adults as well. I've used it as a warm-up activity on a design thinking workshop for teachers and it worked wonders. Two of them actually found out they were related while asking each other questions. They have been working together for the past 7 years and had no idea they were cousins.

Photo of Michele
Team

Perhaps based on classroom issues/goals? It would be a nice idea if model questions were based according to emotion/mood (emotional design; parrott's classification of emotions, etc). Designing for happiness :)

Photo of Lisa
Team

Michele:
Thanks for posting! I've done something like this where students roam around a room and have to find someone who has something in common with them. You can do it without talking which is super interesting, but since I'm visual, I love the idea of making a map of connections! This could work really well with high school smaller groups too. It would be great to have the teacher be a participant and get some of the students to take charge. I'd love to see some of the questions that you might ask during one of these. Maybe even think about building a "how-to" guide, so that anyone might be able to implement it in their own classroom. Let me know what you think!
Lisa

Photo of Michele
Team

Since I teach EFL, I usually review verb tenses and information questions first, so while it is aimed at Intermediate+ students, they are free to ask whatever they feel like. And yes, if you're teaching teenagers, it's quite important that you're part of the activity as well - they are VERY curious about who you are. Apart from that, you're able to notice and take notes on their interests and backgrounds, so it ends up being a fantastic source for planning lessons.