smallestkids.jpgIn this section are links to ideas, activities, and demonstrations that can be used during class sessions. They refer to a variety of topics within an ed psych course, and may be appropriate at various places within a course. See also the pages in this wiki about specific areas of ed psych; they often also contain activities that can be done in class.

(Go back to the home page.)

A First-Day Activity: Learning Students' Names

Whatever sort of course you teach, here is a way to initiate having better relationships with students at the start of the course. You may also find useful related ideas in the section called Social relationships.


- Seifert Seifert May 7, 2009

Lots of Specific Things To Do in the First Three Weeks of Class

This is an essay full of suggestions for specific things you can (and/or should) do during the first three weeks of a college or university course. The link has turned up a number of places on the Internet, but this is one provides the essay in PDF format, which is convenient for high-quality reprinting. The intended audience is broader than simply instructors of educational psychology, but many of the suggestions are highly relevant to teaching ed psych in particular.

- Seifert Seifert Jan 6, 2011

A Last-Day Activity: Graphing Students' Ups and Downs--and Future Expectations

Here is a useful way to help students (and yourself) to take stock of what they have experienced in your course. You may also find useful related ideas in the section called Social relationships.

- Seifert Seifert May 12, 2010


Critiquing an Authentic Assessment

I use this task as a course assignment in my graduate assessment course, but I have also used it as in-class activity. I distribute the Media Critique task in class. I give students, individually or in pairs, a few minutes to evaluate it. Then we engage in a whole -class discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the assessment, and identify ways to improve it.

- jonmuel jonmuel May 8, 2009


Case Studies for Discussion in Class

Clicking on the heading above takes you to three brief case studies depicting realistic teaching situations. (Note that many case studies have been published, in various lengths and styles. They can often be found in many commercial textbooks, or collected and published as volumes of their own. And you can sometimes have students write their own!)

- Seifert Seifert May 12, 2010 on behalf of Robert Renaud and David Mandzuk.


Metaphors for Classroom Learning

A combined discussion/brainstorming activity, especially good for clarifying students' existing beliefs about the nature of teaching and learning (vs. assessing their knowledge of theories about the nature of teaching and learning). You might also find useful ideas or activities in the section called Theories of learning.

- Seifert Seifert May 13, 2010


Learning as Assisted Performance

Preservice education students can simulate a zone of proximal development (ZPD) with the following class demonstration. You might also find useful ideas in the section called Theories of learning.

- Seifert Seifert May 13, 2010


Demonstration of Active Listening: A Whispering Chain

If you teach about communication in your ed psych course, there are a number of ways to demonstrate the nature of "active listening." This is one that worked for me.

- Seifert Seifert May 13, 2010

Classroom Bingo

It works exactly like ordinary bingo, but uses terms from educational psychology instead of numbers to fill up the bingo card. Read more by clicking on the link above.

- Seifert Seifert Nov 1, 2010

Concept Maps

Students can make an "organization chart" of key ideas or terms from ed psych, or from some section or topic within ed psych. Here are a few suggestions and variations on this idea.

- Seifert Seifert Nov 12, 2010

Simulating Learning to Read

One way to understand the child's experience of learning to read is to simulate the experience yourself. Here is a classroom activity that does this for preservice education students; it focuses on the challenge of initial "word attack."

- Seifert Seifert Nov 19, 2010

Learning Benefits of Dialogue vs. Lecture with Students

This classroom demonstration suggests the value of allowing and encouraging students to ask questions while they are learning. It supports ideas from a number of theories of learning: 1) operant conditioning because getting answers to questions is rewarding to students, 2) constructivism because asking questions allows the teacher to structure a more effective "zone of proximal development" while teaching, and 3) information processing theory because getting answers to questions helps students to consolidate their learning as it occurs.

- Seifert Seifert Nov 19, 2010

Grouping Students Effectively

What is the best way to put students together for group work? Here is a discussion activity meant to highlight the choices and dilemmas involved.

- Seifert Seifert Nov 29, 2010

Forces Affecting Cooperation

This class activity demonstrates some of the non-verbal behaviors and motives that affect whether or not small groups succeed at a common task.

- Seifert Seifert Nov 29, 2010

The Relationship Between Divergent Thinking and "Creativity"

What constitutes "creativity," especially as it might manifest in the classroom? Is the classic measure of divergent thinking really part of it? This participatory and discussion-based activity can help students begin to address these questions, if not fully answer them.

- Seifert Seifert Dec 7, 2010

Demonstrating Basic Elements of Information Processing in Class

Here are several activities, suitable for demonstration in class, that illustrate various aspects of information processing theory, including attention, short-term memory, long-term memory, and more.

- Seifert Seifert Dec 8, 2010

Using Improv and Role Playing Activities in Class


Blog about Using Improv in the Classroom


There are many activities in any teacher education course that can be profitably organized as improvised role playing exercises. How can you make your students comfortable with this sort of activity to improve the results from them? The first link above points to a book that can help. The second link points to a blog that the authors kept for about a year shortly after the book was published; it contains additional ideas about using improv. Both links are originally focused on improv for K-8 students, but many of the activities and ideas can be adapted easily to older students, including college- or university-level education students!

- Seifert Seifert Jan 19, 2011