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American Sign Language: "Practice Cards"

After using "practice cards" for group or pair work, you will need to have a process for gathering, sorting, and storing the cards until the next time you use them. It is good to involve the students in the gathering and sorting process. Since 20 or 30 students pitching in can sort the cards in a couple minutes compared to you (the instructor) sitting there long after class is over sorting the cards on your own for 10 minutes. Maybe that is "only" ten minutes, but over the years those 10 minutes add up to untold hours.

So, how do you ask students to "help out?"

Most of the time you can just ask / tell them and it will be no big deal. Unless you keep them until the bell and then expect them to help. That's not right. Some of them have other classes to get to across campus and will bristle at having to stay after to help clean up your lesson activities. To make sure it goes smoothly, end your instruction early enough to allow time for the process of gathering and sorting the practice cards.

I clearly label each practice card with the lesson number and section. That way it is easy to tell which pile it goes in. Then near the end of class I flash up on the overhead a message something to the effect of:

"Soon we will end class…we have many cards to put up and it is a bit complex since the cards need to be put in the correct pile.
Thus send the smarter of the two of you up to put away the cards in the RIGHT order. Thanks. Have a nice day."

That is usually good for a chuckle or two from the students and half of them come up and put away the cards.


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