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Junk Drawer

Junk Drawer is a quirky way to get students thinking about your content in deeper, broader ways.


-Random items from around your home and garage


-Junk Drawer picture cards, cut and laminated


















The Objective:

Students come up with a way to connect a random, unexpected item to your content, stretching them to think deeper about your content, related content, and the broader context.

There are two ways to play.

First, you can draw one item (either literal from your "Junk Drawer" collection or a picture card) for the whole class to consider.  Give students a couple minutes to turn and talk.  They should think of a relevant way to connect it to what you've just covered.  After a few minutes, stop their discussion and let pairs share aloud.  The advantage of this approach is that, by the whole class using the same item, you're able to compare and discuss together the various interpretations of the same idea.  

Alternately, you can have each partnership draw their own item (again, either literal or picture cards) and follow the same routine.  The advantage to this approach is that some students benefit from the small act of selecting their own item, and then you get to discuss a wide variety of ideas.  However, you don't quite get the stark comparison that happens when so many people get to interpret the same item.

Either approach lets students quickly create meaning out of what you've just taught, and the brief whole-class share-and-discuss time gives you quick, useful feedback about how much they're really understanding.  You may see gaps you need to address or find that they understand far deeper than you expected.  Any any opportunity we give students to connect what we're doing NOW to content we've already covered--its broader context--helps students tremendously and avoids that compartmentalization students famously frustrate us with.


-You can use Junk Drawer as an Exit Ticket!  Check out this written version here.


We even used Junk Drawer to reflect on our implementation of some Teach Like a Champion strategies in staff PD!

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