- Create a Padlet account.
- Recall your family stories of why you were given your name.
- Research the origin of your name and its cultural significance.
- Describe your personal relationship with your name and how it is to live in this world with it.
- Present your findings creatively using Padlet.
- Share your completed Padlet with the class.
- Introduce yourself and connect with two other people in the class by responding to their Padlet post.
I love this idea, Hillarie. Not only would this be a great conversation-opener, it could result in a finished product (the short essay or padlet) which the student may value for a number of other reasons. It's also offering a way for the student to invite a conversation while being as revealing or reserved as they want/need to be.
I'm thinking that it *could* be a lot of work... If students are not terribly familiar with padlet or technology (searching for images, pasting links etc.) they may find it somewhat intimidating. However, this activity would be very configurable & you could easily reduce the technical requirements if your group felt uneasy.
When were you thinking about trying this?
Hi Gina, Thanks for your comments. I have been using Padlet with my students this year and I am finding it a very easy interface for them. It required very little instruction and the students seem to be having a lot of fun with it. In an online environment, I would likely provide some relatively detailed instructions for its use on the class website. And of course, I would be available to the students should they encounter difficulties. I might try this activity next semester as a "get to know your classmates". Thanks again for your feedback!
This got me thinking of how even if we don't feel particularly connected to our names, we often use them as the first (and sometimes only) way we introduce ourselves to others. Where is the community building in that?
I appreciate how you model the activity and share some of yourself before asking others to do the same - it makes you seem relatable, vulnerable, and approachable which sets a nice tone for the activity.
I'm curious if you thought about offering students a choice of completing two or three of the naming prompts. You may have participants who have trouble connecting to family to find out information or participants who, for various reasons, aren't comfortable sharing their name origins.
Padlet seems to be a great fit for this activity (maybe with some basic instructions or a "how-to" video link included in the activity description). I can see folks with a range of technical skills participating in various ways - some may include images, videos, audio, and gifs, and some may stick to text. I'm assuming all would be ok?
Hi Colleen, Thanks for your feedback. Your one comment has got me thinking .... How do individual activities (like this one) lead to community building?? I guess they focus on sharing and opening up but how do we move beyond this to actually building a community. It is a very good question. The tags that are being used in the Situating activity are interesting and it was fun to look for similar tags between the participants. What are some other options?? We can ask students to comment on one or two other posts but sometimes this feels forced. I am going to give this some more thought and see what the other participants in this micro course come up with. I will get back to you with more thoughts on this later!
These are great comments Hillarie. Potentially we could ask the students/participants to actively find strings of connection to each other. For example, an instructor I know at RRU has a "Six Degrees of Separation" assignment (not activity, it's actually graded), in which she asks people to actively search for - and detail back to the class - ways that they are connected to each other. I can ask her if she would be willing to share this assignment to post here if you would like to see how this works? There are four parts to that assignment.
Hillarie, you mentioned ...
>>How do individual activities (like this one) lead to community building?? ... how do we move beyond this to actually building a community
... & I've been thinking about that all morning. I think to answer such questions we have to re-visit the even more obtuse questions: "Why are we trying to "build a community" in this course, anyway?" and "How will we know when we *have* built a community? What will it look like, feel like, how will things be different once we have this elusive community in place?" Your idea about grounding this activity within indigenous ways of knowing sounds like a good starting point.
I will continue to ponder this but would sure welcome other thoughts on this.
I think this is a great question Gina, but the answer isn't so easy! Or maybe it is. I want to say something like, "we will all know on an individual level if we feel like we are part of a course community". And boy, that sounds pretty tough then to help create for others as a course facilitator/instructor, doesn't it? With all these varied humans (as Colleen would say) taking part in our courses who are each unique individuals!
Like so much else in this work, I will keep on the journey of trying and learning and trying some more... :-)
Yes, yes, and yes. Asking people to make comments or connections can feel forced. For me, this is most often true when there is a grade attached to activities intended to build community. Sometimes the lurking without comment can build a quiet community, too. Do you think people need to comment on each other's padlets in your activity? Do people need to make visible connections to build community? Maybe this is a broad question for the open forum.
I'm guessing any single community building activity is most often a starting place, but having the activity happen in concert with many other pieces (like adequate facilitator presence, opportunities for vulnerability and story sharing, engaging small group activities, multiple ways to connect, etc.) may inch the group toward community. Or not! A lot probably depends on the group, too.
Your activity reminded me of a comment that came up during our last institutional teaching chat on Indigenization and Assessment. I went back to the notes to quote it. Someone said: "Western values have been driving our pedagogies. What else is out there?" An Indigenous scholar in our group said, "sharing, relationships, listening, and connecting to land and people using an individual-family-community-nation framework." For me, your proposed activity aims to do just that. You explore the name and its affects on the individual, and then aim to connect it to family/community/culture.
Hillarie it was so interesting to read about your proposed activity! I must admit, at first I thought thinking of my own name and was wondering, What would I say? There's nothing to say. Or That may be difficult for some people who don't know the origin of their name.
But reading through your example, my mind started to broaden. It was really wonderful to see what you said about your name, but also - and maybe very importantly - how you felt about your name and what it might or might not say about you - in your eyes. It gave me a tiny insight into perhaps who you are and what you think about yourself and what you think about the world and important things within it (gender divide, striving for great heights, etc!)
In fact, in the end, what you said about your own name encouraged me to think more about what I would say about mine. And you know what? I think I would have a LOT to say! (Funnily enough, I have had "name issues" my whole life...including being always called a nickname of my middle name (no end of admin issues at the bank etc!), and then choosing to 'double barrel' my last name when I got married, joining two very unusual last names together (what was I thinking? ha ha).
So I like this activity and think Padlet would be a great choice for it. Looking forward to what others have to say as well.
Thanks so much for your comments. I am not sure about my activity either!! Funny, I felt much more connected to my name after doing my exercise. I think I actually like my name more now!!
Some context for my activity - I work at Yukon College and the institution is focusing a lot on indigenization, decolonization, and reconciliation. Instructors are being encouraged to incorporate multiple ways of knowing into our courses and consider how we might indigenization course learning outcomes, assessments, and learning activities. I was inspired to build an activity that tried to incorporate an indigenous perspective on names and identity. I tried to come up with an activity that was broader but still tried to link a person's name with their identity. Not sure if I was totally successful, but it was sure interesting to think about!
It has been great to think about!
I tried this activity out so you could see what a "student" might come up with. It was fun and a bit introspective, which was great.
For example, I didn't foresee the 'name mug' comment coming up in my thinking until I got thinking about the origin of my name and broadening out from there. It got me thinking about, "Well in whose culture does it mean what?" There isn't just one meaning of a name across the world so now I realize I'm a little bothered by companies printing on mugs THE meaning of a name! So weird and ethnocentric when you think about all those name products out there that you can buy. Anyway, I digress! :-)
So I digress too! But I guess we all have some stories about our names & I can see how this could be a productive icebreaker.
I also couldn't resist! Plus I used Adobe Spark which used to try out SylviaR's 5 card activity. Gosh, this is all starting to feel very connected.
I completely got into reading what others had offered for this exercise. I found myself looking for similarities and connections. Then creating my own wasn't too time-consuming. Win win for a community building activity, I'd say!