Posted by: Steve J. Moore | May 8, 2008

Openers: Who’s Who? By Katye Rushing

Forum: Openers
Date: Thu Feb 28 2008 11:42
Author: Rushing, Hannah <>
Attachment: InClassOpener.docx (19756 bytes)
Subject: Katye’s Opener

My opener was something like a game that could be used to increase students knowledge of important literary figures.

What I did:

I took notecards and wrote the names of thirty or so authors on them.

I made a list of these authors, categorized by the century in which they lived, and included important/interesting information about each of the authors. I made this list to give everyone an idea of the questions to ask as well as to provide the answers. My line of thought was that if someone with the name Chaucer on their backed asked me if they were born in a certain century, I wouldn’t know the answer. So, I wanted everyone to have the answers to potential questions so that they wouldn’t feel stupid (like I would have) and would be able to learn about the writers in the process.

The activity:

Tape the note cards to the student’s backs and have them ask each other questions which can only be answered with “yes” or “no.” It is up to you if you want to use a “cheat sheet” like mine, but I personally think that it would make the activity significantly less intimidating for high school students. You would just have to walk around to make sure that students weren’t cheating by asking questions like “Did I write…” Another way that I have seen this activity done is that you would have each student stand at the front of the classroom and as questions to the entire class to try and figure out what writer/important person they were. The problem is that it can be time consuming and sometimes embarrassing for the student if they cannot come up with the answer. The best method that I have found is to pair students (this would have taken too much time in class) and have them record the number of questions that it took their partners to guess their writer. Then give candy or some other prize to those who guessed with the least amount of questions.

You could really use this activity for any subject, for those of you that aren’t English majors, such as important historical figures for History. I suppose you could also put parts of speech on the cards rather than people. It is pretty flexible.

I attached the information that I gave out as a cheat sheet in class in case anyone wants to use it.


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