Standing in the front of a classroom full of students while leading an activity or presenting a lesson, or even sometimes dealing with contentious students, is what teachers who love teaching truly enjoy. This tab contains two classroom activities that this author has found enjoyable. If you would like me to add more, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
COOPERATIVE LEARNING ACTIVITIES
Activity # 1
After reading a Sherlock Holmes story – "The Red-headed League" works well for this – have students work in groups of three to write a short play following a typical beginning of these stories. Their play can begin in the parlor of Mrs. Hudson's boarding house with a short conversation by Holmes and Watson about their last case or how much money Watson lost yesterday at the racetrack or whatever. During the conversation there will be a knock on the door, and after the client is introduced, Holmes makes "deductions" about the client and, at the client's request, explains them. Then Holmes interviews the client, with the assistance of Dr. Watson, and the identity of the client and his or her mysterious problem is revealed. The students' play ends with the client pleading to Holmes for help. They are not writing a complete Sherlock Holmes story.
Students not only write their play but will also act it – one reads the part of Sherlock Holmes, one is Dr. Watson, and one is the client. Usually students put a rough draft together in class, then one students takes the rough draft home, types it on his computer, and makes copies for himself and the others. Students can do this, and many do it quite well. After the play is read, possible solutions can be discussed.
To help students, read or talk about other Sherlock Holmes clients, their problems and the deductions that Sherlock makes about them: Helen Stoner, from <em>The Adventures of the Specked Band,</em> whose sister mysteriously died in her locked bedroom from unknown causes; Dr. Mortimer, from <em>The Hound of the Baskervilles,</em> who is concerned about the new Baskerville heir because of the strange death of the previous Baskervillle Hall owner and resident. Also brainstorm some possible situations: A client being stalked. A client receiving bizarre gifts.
In this small group activity students again work in groups of three to write a short play. This time two students play the part of company executives and one student plays the part of a person interviewing for a job with their company. The three students work together to create a company, a job within the company, and questions to ask the applicant. Their play can begin with the two executives talking about their company and the job and the kind of person they are hoping to hire for this job. They may also talk briefly about the person they are about to interview. Again, there is a knock on the door, the applicant enters, introductions are made and the interview proceeds to its conclusion. The play ends with the executives thanking the applicant and telling him/her that he/she should be hearing from them soon. After each play is read, students can discuss positive aspects of the interview.
The main objective of this activity is to teach interviewing skills, and articles about interviewing skills can be easily found. And search the want ads for ideas for companies and jobs.