Last week, we had our first Circles of the season, and I am happy to report that ideas have already starting coming in supporting the Fun Theory Challenge. For those of you unfamiliar with the topic, Fun Theory Challenge is a circle around the idea that something as simple as fun is often the easiest way to engage people and change learning behaviors for the better. If you missed it last week, please feel free to join us this week. To RSVP your interest, please click on any of the campus links below; you are welcome to join us on any campus. If you would like more information about the rest of the fall season of Circles, Click Here.
In addition to meeting again this week, we would also like to challenge any of our readers (from any college around the country) to share their ideas for how to make learning fun, click here to get to the submission form. We would love to repost your idea for you to Circles and share it with a larger audience. We are excited to know more about the kinds of things you are doing during the First Five minutes of class to engage your students. For example, we just got a submission from Lauri Lott describing how she uses a “Good News” activity during her First Five to help students get in the right Mindset, ready to learn. We would also like to hear your bigger ideas for how to use Fun Theory for your classroom and beyond. For example, Alan LaCerra from West Campus wrote to us about “Winning the Writing Race!” which reminded me a little bit of an activity we did this past summer as part of Destination: Circles of Innovation.
Winning the Writing Race
Many students who could benefit from consultations with the writing center do not make time in their lives to go to the writing center. To get more students to take advantage of writing-center consultations, we could assign students randomly into houses (think Sorting Hat and Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin, but more Valencian, perhaps a house for each core competency), and then we could keep track of how many minutes total each house spends in writing-center consultations for every week, month, semester, or year. Students would want to have more writing-center consultations so that their house could reach the target first (it’s a writing race, after all), but we could allow all houses to win so long as they reach the target within the time frame. Prizes could follow!
I hate to admit it Alan, but as challenges go, West Campus is currently in the lead on this challenge (let us hear from you East and Osceola!). Good news is that there are other submissions that are coming in from other campuses and even other colleges as I write this post. Hopefully, after this week, we will be getting even more fun theory ideas. Andy submitted a fun theory idea on how to get people to eat healthier.
The Golden Ticket
While there are vending machines on campus, we all know that the healthy options are few and often under utilized. To encourage healthier snacking by students (and Faculty) perhaps machines could dispense every tenth item for free; every 100th item contains a “Golden Ticket” for a free item at the bookstore (backpack, t-shirt, umbrella) with a design/message that promotes wellness, recycling, or sustainability – a positive social message.
The Circles team is looking forward to reading more great ideas. Thanks Alan, Andy, and Lauri for being the first to submit.