Monday, September 21, 2015

Quick Post on Nuts and Bolts: Index Cards

I am teaching calculus 1 this fall quarter to mostly freshmen, and truly excited about being in the classroom again after a summer off!  Day 1 is tomorrow.

This short post is about the basics. I'm bringing index cards, my binder full of activities, and colored pens.     The index cards are useful for making name "tents" on day one.  I can start day one by learning names and calling on students to share their ideas and strategies.  One of my classrooms has stadium seating, which makes it difficult or impossible for me to get t the middle of the class. Using index cards (and maybe some creative seating strategies), I’ll still be able to engage with all students and learn their names.

Index cards can also be used to write student names to select students (or groups) randomly, for keeping track of student presentation, for mixing people into groups (by writing numbers or letters), and for writing question prompts to pass out to groups.  I am sure there are more uses.  I keep a couple of stacks handy at all times.

Edit:  I use some cards to help me learn names.  I use other cards to mix groups.  I used to mark presentations on a card, but now write notes and use a spreadsheet.  The point here is that cards can be used for lots of things, and having them around is really useful.