Teacher Tuesday – Classroom Learning Essentials

One of my favorite blog posts to follow is Momfessionals’ Teacher Tuesday’s. Inspired by those posts I thought I’d share some of my college teacher essentials! I teach communication courses, and I’ve collected quite a few book ideas, shows/movies, and learning games over the last fourteen years.

First up are books that we have read, discussed, or I’ve incorporated into classroom concept connections:

1. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind highlights intrapersonal and interpersonal communication usage, and how it can create change.

2. Creativity, Inc. is one of my favorite books about organizational collaboration and how it creates a creative environment that employees can effectively communicate ideas within.

3. The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down is a book I read in a sociology course in college and have carried with me sense. It’s one of the best books on intracultural communication you’ll ever read, and one of my favorite books overall.

4. We discuss things “going viral” in our discussion of mass media and communication and Contagious is a great in-depth read of this idea.

Next up is some of my favorite shows or movies that we have discussed, critiqued, or done classwide activities on:

1. My go to for our discussion of metacognitive strategies to avoid burnout. In Two Week’s Notice Sandra Bullock’s character end up quitting her job after suffering from workplace burnout. We watch segments of it and I usually try to skip the ending because it’s not really relevant, but my students almost always convince me to let them watch the end (the romantic comedy part).

2. Full of communication issues and workplace breakdowns, Parks and Recreation is a show I pull lots of examples from. One of my favorites is Kaboom where they are convinced to build a playground just based on a persuasive pitch.

3. The episode Conflict Resolution from The Office is one we do a classwide activity on, breaking down the win-win-win strategy.

4. And for when we talk about SCADFISH nonverbal communication, I’m looking forward to us watching and discussing Inside Out!

You probably wouldn’t think of playing games in a college classroom, but there are several that I use to help break the ice at the beginning of the semester, help students strategize speech topics, prepare students for delivering speeches, and working on group collaboration. Here are some of my favorites!

1. Top that Toast Card Game. I’m so excited to add this one into the mix next semester. We are going to use it when we discuss ceremonial and impromptu speaking.

2. Snake Oil is a game idea shared with me by a fellow faculty member. We don’t play by the traditional rules, but mix and match the cards that the students have to then turn into one minute persuasive presentations.

3. Taboo is a great game to work on effective delivery, where students have to maintain eye contact, avoid vocalized pauses, and keep a steady rate while trying to get students to guess the word.

4. Every semester I do a marshmallow challenge group collaboration activity. However, I found the collaborative game “Junk Art” while Christmas shopping and my creativity wheels started turning with an idea to make a more permanent group collaboration activity. I’ve got it on my teacher fund list!

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