Q & A Cards

[by Yago Moreno]

This is another trick I learned in the fantastic course “Talk-Less Teaching” from Isabella Wallace, organized by Osiris.

When you want to introduce a new topic to your students, and you know they know almost nothing about it, a good way of passing information without you having to do all the talking is the “Question and Answer Cards”. I combine this technique with the K-W-L Framework for a lesson (another blog entry soon on that). Once established what little the students know about the subject, I give each student a card with one question, and the answer to it.

Students have to go around the classroom with their card, asking the question to another student. If the other student does not know the answer (as expected) the first student reads the answer. If the second student has already been asked that question before, he/she says the answer (thus reinforcing the learning) and the procedure goes on: the second student asks the question on his/her card, and reads out loud the answer if it is unknown. Then they both swap cards and go on to find someone else.

In about ten minutes all the students have learned the questions and the answers! Next step, to recap and check learning, we do a mind map on the whiteboard with all the concepts learned. (For this step I have several tricks, but one that works very well is choosing randomly students to come up to the board and write down one idea/concept/definition/fact.

I have used very successfully this method to do a fun lesson that students enjoy a lot with a subject as dry and boring as explaining Trade Unions. I have 11 cards, one with the definition of trade unions, five with the five main different aims of trade unions, and another five with the five main strategies that trade unions use to achieve their aims.

You can have some cards repeated, to reinforce the learning.

I wouldn’t put more than 10 -12 concepts, as it would be too much information.

Students seem to love this technique. It is varied, they walk around the classroom asking questions, it’s all full of buzz and excitement, and they learn so fast! Even better, students themselves are very aware of what they’ve learned in the lesson, and you don’t have to be passing a lot of information about facts/definitions/concepts while your students are passively taking notes!

Enjoy!

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