Active Learning Alphabet: A Fun & Easy Activity to Engage Students
If you are looking for a way to mix things up and do something a little different in your course, try this active learning alphabet activity. It’s “light” enough to do at any point in the semester without adding much stress, and there are many ways you can adapt it to work with your content, class size, and format.
What’s the Active Learning Alphabet Activity?
A little background: I recently played a “game” on Twitter where someone posted a chart that says, “What’s your superhero name?” My task was to use the first initial in my first name and the first initial in my last name to create my superhero name. See the chart below (from Twitter and Pinterest). So, my name looks like this:
B (Barbi) = Doctor + H (Honeycutt) = Doctor Sprinkles
Yes, apparently I’m saving the world by sharing sprinkles! LOL! My 5-year-old loves rainbow sprinkles on his ice cream and cake, so I’ll take it! The world could use a few sprinkles to make things a little happier right now I think.
Your turn: What’s your superhero name?
Now, what does this have to do with the active learning alphabet activity? Well, it was my inspiration for creating an activity you can use to have a little fun and increase student engagement in your course.
Instead of superhero names, your students complete activities related to the course content. I also included a few “getting to know you” or “icebreaker” activities to offer opportunties for connection and building community.
Here’s the active learning alphabet chart:
How Can You Use This Activity in Your Course?
There are many ways to adapt this activity in your course. Here are a few ideas:
- Use this activity in breakout rooms or small groups.
- If you teach a small class, use this activity in your whole class so all students can participate.
- Use this activity in both your in-person, socially distanced classroom and in your online classroom so students can connect, share, and challenge each other.
- Try this activity in a webinar (although, if it’s a one-time event, then you’ll need to adjust the questions slightly unless your participants have completed pre-work or a prerequisite).
- Change the questions to work with your content. I kept it general for the purpose of this article, but you can reference specific course content if you adapt the questions. For example: “A”: Ask a question about Sandford’s Theory of Challenge and Support.
- If you want to extend the life of this activity, ask students to do it the first time using the first letter of their first name. But then you could repeat it with their last name, their child’s name, their partner’s name, the city they were born in, etc.
- Use this activity at end the of the semester to help students review, share their experiences, and reflect on their learning as they prepare for the final exam or final project. Adjust the questions as needed to integrate activities related to the exam.
- Create a “theme” around your alphabet activity based on the topic of your course, a holiday, your campus sports team, or pop culture.
- Use a random alphabet generator to mix things up. All students in the same group can work with the same letter or you can ask students to use the generator to select their letter.
- Adjust the questions and try this activity in a faculty development webinar, workshop, or learning community. It can be a fun way to encourage educators to meet each other and share what they know.
This is a fun way to encourage students to share ideas, show what they’ve learned, and connect with their colleagues. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
Until next time,
Doctor Sprinkles : )