I joked with my students today that some of my fellow professors likely spent the summer researching and publishing academic journal articles, but I spent the summer painting popsicle sticks.
Since I believe in a very active learning environment, I have my students doing a group work at some point during almost every class. As opposed to students gravitating towards the same exact groups over and over, I like to find ways to facilitate more interaction with everyone throughout the semester. This year I started using an idea I saw on Pinterest about grouping students with popsicle sticks that have different colors, numbers and symbols.
I took the idea and painted 50 sticks with ten different colors so I can get groups of 5 students. Then I stamped 16 different letters of the alphabet so I could get groups of 3 (with a couple extra). The numbers on the stick creates groups of six students working together and symbols makes up groups of four. Students each take a stick and then I tell them what aspect of the stick will be grouping them for the activity. Figuring this out involved a huge chart and lots of help from Sean.
Colorful popsicle sticks might seem silly at this level of education, but I tried it today for the first time and it totally worked.
In my soul I must be a kindergarten teacher, who just really wants to teach college classes.