There were two votes for yesterday’s poll on choosing a connected learning story, “Naming continues to provoke odd and interesting connections.” As promised here it is.
I have stuck with variations of the “Name Game” throughout the first two weeks of class. No groaning yet from the groundlings. The variant today asked them to create a map of all the folks in the class.
The usual suspect questions from the strategic students: what do you mean by a map? You figure it out, I say. They turn to each other for help. Can I write a list instead? Is that what a map means to you? Yes, I was that infuriating Socratic gadfly. And so on until they finished.
What was new to the equation was that I insisted that the students spell each other’s names correctly. Abdulrachman gave folks some pause as did Shontoria who sits next to Shatari. Question: what if I can’t remember his name? Answer: well, how do you usually find out someone’s name? Oh.
There was a much more lively, up and down walking across the room, node-filled discussion in the classroom. I was rigorously anti-hub. Aggravatingly so. I did insist on their naming correctly. I mean…his name is Tayler not Taylor. I did ask them over and over why we might want to remember each other’s names. Teacher as naive jerk. Yeah, I can play that role.
It felt different. More connecting. More playing. Both inside the head and outside, too. Of course, the proof will happen some farwhere else for the most part. Saying hello in the student union. Asking for help on the fly. Asking someone for…a date? There is no way of predicting the potential connections in the wild. Or in the classroom. Now I need to tie in other connectable moments with the names. For example, write down your expectations for class today on this 3X5 card today and share them with [insert name here] by folding over your card and putting their name on the outside. Reciprocate. Rinse and repeat.
Building connective capacity through the respectful naming of names. Maybe a call for a meme name game?