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Everyday we are bombarded with information from a variety of sources. It is estimated that the average American is faced with over 230 ads per day in the media, on the drive to and from work, and in the general environment. That may seem like information overload, and many people are able to ignore all but a small portion of those messages. What makes information stand out? It may be that it is presented in such a creative way that we actually want to pay attention to it. It may be that it gets repeated enough times that it is memorable to us. What does this have to do with teaching? This information overload status makes it harder for people to attend to and remember our message. One way to make information memorable is by repetition. If we start and end our sessions and breaks on time, we can find 1 to 2 minutes to use a fun and interesting review method that can enhance learning.
This idea is called "who knows (nose) the answer." The group forms a circle around the instructor who explains the rules of involvement and then recruits a volunteer to step into the circle to begin. The person standing to the right of the volunteer who stepped into the circle is given a squishy ball or any other type of fun ball that resembles a nose. The volunteer is asked by the instructor to name four things in a preselected category, such as "Name 4 days of the week-Go!" The volunteer begins naming these items as the ball gets passed around the circle. The 4-item list must be named completely by the time the ball gets back to its original position (if the group is fewer than 15 people, the ball should go around no more than twice). When the person finishes naming the last item, the person holding the ball at that moment steps into the center of the circle and the person inside steps into his or her spot with the ball. Ask that next person to name four things he or she learned under a category you have taught or is general knowledge, such as "Name the four steps of the RACE process for a fire scenario." I have orchestrated this activity with a number of groups and found that many love the competitive part of answering quickly or timing their answer to end when a particular colleague is receiving the ball. It can become a game of strategy as well as competition. Prepare the review categories at break time or ahead of class and offer at least four or five rounds of it.
This activity can increase learners' memory because it gains their active attention and involves an element of fun. According to USA Today, the average 5-year-old laughs over 300 times per day, while the average adult laughs just 15 times per day. Maybe this activity can increase learners' laughter quotient by a few per session. Maybe that laughter can decrease their stress and increase their general fitness. It can, therefore, be a memorable session for them. Maybe this activity can do the same for you.
Good luck and enjoy your own laughter!
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