Design Teaching

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 16 2011

So Guess Who Created the Paper Passing Procedure? That’s Right, My Students

That’s right, my students. I didn’t think of this until my second class when I realized that paper passing can be really boring. But then, give students the challenge, and then all of a sudden it’s interesting!

Guidelines I gave them:
- Only one person can ever stand up during the whole procedure
- These are pristine, white papers. We want to be able to use these papers again, so no shoving, rustling, wrinkling. Be very careful. The work that you will pass in, in the future, is even more valuable and important.
- All papers right side up and sides aligned.
- I can’t hear any sounds, chairs squeaking, people loudly whispering “Here!”, etc.

Questions I asked:
- So how do you get all the papers to the front of the class if only one person can stand up? (We can pass them to one another).
- Well, it’ll take too long for just everyone to pass up just one piece of paper. What can we do then? (We can make a pile at each table, first).
- What order do we pass these piles in? (Back to front…)
- Well, this person here passed piles of papers twice… that doesn’t seem very efficient [teach efficient]. (Wait until you have all the papers from groups behind you until you pass them forward).

The final test:
I sat in my chair, turned my back to the class, set the timer next to the inbox, and then let my students pass the papers in by themselves (a la our Big Goal of Running the Classroom by Themselves). They passed the papers in in 27 seconds.

One Response

  1. thelearningcurve

    That’s just awesome!

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