Think, Pair, Share on Friday the 13th!

I have to admit that I was a bit reticent about trying a Think, Pair, Share exercise on a Friday morning Speech Anatomy class, but I think that it turned out to be quite a success. Index cards were handed out to 35 students and three questions were posed: (90 seconds to answer!)

  • Was there something in particular from last week’s lesson that stood out as particularly interesting to you?
  • What do you think was your most successful strategy for studying this past week?
  • What strategy have you been employing that might not be working very well for you or might require some tweaking?

Students jotted a couple of notes as answers to the three questions and were then encouraged to pair with another student, preferably one they did not know well. Then they had 90 seconds to learn each other’s names and to exchange thoughts about their three answers.

You cannot believe how loud and animated this class of anatomy students got! It was really fascinating and fun to watch.

We then went around the room and each student said their own name and the name of their partner or partners ( a couple of groups had 3) and shared their individual answers. The entire process took about 45 minutes, but it was totally worthwhile and an important stepping stone in the process of reinventing the way in which science might be taught.

There were a variety of different things that individual students took away from the week’s lesson, but what was most amazing were the ideas about successful v. unsuccessful study strategies. The exchange got everyone interested in and excited about what their fellow students were doing, like the use of handmade color-coded flash cards. Suddenly, we had the makings of a team…..a class of co-learners and collaborators who were going to learn from one another.

Following the exercise was a lecture with dialogue and discussion on the physiology of respiration. The energy in the room was vibrant and energized all the way to the end, when I introduced the Futures Initiative website and invited all to join in and start blogging.

Looking forward to next Friday!


14 thoughts on “Think, Pair, Share on Friday the 13th!”

  1. Richard, this is really exciting to read and hear about. It inspires me to not only use think-pair-share when my class gets going, but I also like your particular questions related to study strategies.

    I agree that 1he energy in the room that this type of activity creates is key. It doubles as an icebreaker. I’ve noticed with our Bridge program intake sessions that when we started with People Bingo (, we get the energy up in the room and that also teaches students people, group work, and initiative strategies that are valuable throughout the semester. Awesome work!

    1. Thanks Rachel. I’m so excited to see where this is going to go, though I do think it will take a bit of work to prime the pump in terms of getting students actively involved. Afterall, I’m being primed myself (by you!) even as I type this!

  2. This made me smile so big! I am absolutely stealing this! I might even end my winter semester with it tomorrow. What a great way to start your semester off. Just curious, did you get a chance to hear what some of those successful and unsuccessful strategies were? I’d love to know what’s working for them and try it out in my own class.
    You have an awesome energy! It’s contagious!

    1. Hey Michelle,
      Thanks for commenting and for your enthusiasm! Most students realized that they were most successful if they studied about an hour each day. Cramming the day before was deemed an unsuccessful strategy as there is simply too much material. Unfortunately, many students concluded that the text book was not particularly helpful and they preferred to study from the powerpoint lectures and the weekly worksheets. The winning strategy of the week seemed to be the color-coded flash cards; one student color-coded by the day of the week and another by topic. Overall, the students were wildly enthusiastic about the process and loved the interaction with one another. See you in class tomorrow!

  3. As a fellow student in the Friday mornings Speech Anatomy class, I can agree that the Think, Pair, Share Exercise was a complete success! It was great to get to know our classmates! Honestly, if it wasn’t for this in class activity, I would have never known the names of the people sitting by me.
    Being able to listen to everyone’s successful vs. unsuccessful strategies for studying helped me a lot into becoming a better student for this class. I learned “what not to do” when trying to study for this class and it helped me realize I wasn’t alone because we all shared similar strategies.
    Also, it felt great to know that my handmade color-coded flashcards was a plus for the successful studying strategies. I was happy to hear that another fellow classmate was willing to try out this studying method I presented. It felt great to know that I was able help someone else with their studying habits.
    I think that as a whole class, we appreciate Dr. Lissemore not only for this in-class activity, but for the way he teaches this class! For the first time ever, The Fear Factor of taking a science class is truly GONE!!! =)

      1. Using this strategy as a means to introduce “Mapping the futures” to the class, was brilliant! Not just the fact that we are able to compare and contrast study ideas, but the simple fact that as students, we get to state our opinions on teaching strategies, and our voices actually get to be heard! If we believe there are ways to improve the class, through “think, pair, and share” we are able to share those thoughts! This is one of the first professors I have encountered who does such a thing! Thought this was an awesome way to begin the semester and can’t wait to see what other cool ideas will be incorporated!

        – Paola

  4. I loved this exercise because it allowed us (the students) to see what was working for others that were doing well in class. Obviously if your method is not working you are willing to try methods that have been proven to work. Maybe this would be a great exercise to do for midterm and end of term just to see if methods have evolved during the course of the semester.

  5. Being a student of Dr. Lissemore has been a pleasure so far. He is a wonderful professor who keeps his students motivated and helps to make learning and understanding anatomy and physiology as easy as possible. Compared to other anatomy and physiology classes I have taken, I can say that without a doubt this class has made me feel the most comfortable and gave me confidence in learning new material.
    Completing the exercise during which we shared which studying habits worked for us and which ones did not was very helpful to me. It was also comforting knowing that other classmates shared the similar fear of taking an anatomy and physiology course. I’ve learned many different studying techniques from my classmates that work well for me and intend to use them throughout this semester!

    1. Chan Van, I completely agree with you! Professor Lissemore is a awesome, and I love his style of teaching! It keeps us all motived and up to par with these weekly quizes.

  6. I really liked this Think, Pair, Share activity! It doesn’t happen offten when you can go around the room and tell everybody your ways of studying. Being that there are weekly quizes and everyone is in it together it was definitely worth taking time during class to take some ideas from everyone. The topic of Anatomy and Physiology is not the easiest and knowing how everyone else is succeeding is a great thing! I really think that we should do another Think, Pair, Share activity again, since we have taken a few quizes already, with similar questions because 1, recapped the previous week, 2, gave others ideas on the future test and 3 we discussed what didn’t work for us. If, in the future, we do this we can hear what others have been doing (either right or wrong) to maybe help us with future tests as well!

  7. In my opinion, it is nice to have some kinds of activities during class instead of having a teaching-only class. The students can actually relax and have fun. Honestly, this class is not easy to me as the muscle names, the names of the respiration system are not easy and it does take time to memorize.

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