Expanding your Pedagogical Toolkit

Looking for new and creative instructional practices to enliven your classroom? Interested in learning new ways to structure your students’ engagement with course materials?

Energetic class discussions can help connect emerging thinking to the reading students are doing. A supportive classroom community can reduce anxiety about learning, and create space for reflection and intellectual engagement. These are essential components for courses that we wish to resonate well-past the final exam. The goal of this workshop is to help build and expand your pedagogical toolkit with a range of activities that assist in facilitating these kinds of experiences in our classrooms.

We will look at a collection of classroom activities with a variety of pedagogical goals, and discuss their use and potential across disciplines. Participants will leave with specific classroom activities, along with ideas about how to incorporate them into their teaching.

This workshop was offered in Fall 2018 as an in-person workshop at the Graduate Center, CUNY. The workshop and materials were developed by Asilia Franklin-Phipps.


All materials on this page and in the linked google folder are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) 4.0 International Public License.

This folder contains outreach materials, workshop plans, handouts, slides, and resources.

Materials Folder: Expanding your Pedagogical Toolkit Workshop

Workshop Plan

Materials Needed: 

  1. Index cards with activities on them (multiple?)–all one color
  2. Index cards with categories on them (purpose and other descriptors)–all another color
  3. Handout with the discussion questions (Activity II)
  4. Handout with all of the activity ideas on them
  5. A worksheet to develop an activity for integration into particular teaching context (part of the handout).
  6. Tape –to make the activity cards
  7. Some way of presenting/displaying the different index cards
  8. Big paper (one for each table)

3:00- Introductions: 1–Overview and introductions

  • Name
  • Department
  • Teaching Context
  • Interest in coming to the workshop
  • Concerns or issues with classroom activities
  • Hope to leave with:

3:15 – Activity I 

  • Ideas:
  • Proliferation:
  • Pedagogical Toolkit Installation: Briefly discuss what the index cards are of and allow attendees time to spend some time with them. They can do this by categorizing them using a variety of headings in groups of 3-4.
  • Purpose: Attendance / Community Building / Engagement / Exploring a concept, theory, or topic / Introducing a topic / Practicing a skill / Checking for understanding / Preparing for discussion/writing/assignment / _____________________?
  • Other Descriptors: Low-Preparation (for you as the instructor) / Medium-Preparation / High-Preparation / 10-15 minutes in class / 15-30 minutes in class / 30-60 minutes in class / 60+ minutes in class / Low-Stakes / High-Stakes  / ____________?


After they have done this, they can choose 1 or 2 cards that they would like to think more about or would consider incorporating into their own teaching.

Once they have chosen a few, they can respond to three questions on the blank side.

Questions that they can choose to answer and discuss.

  • How does this meet your students’ learning needs?
  • How does this address your students’ interests and strengths?
  • Why might this activity be useful to you?
  • How does this activity serve the goals of your class?
  • How does this activity facilitate your development as a classroom instructor?
  • What challenges might this activity present for you and your students?

3:30 – Curation: 

In groups, share 1-2 your activities and discuss.

You might consider a few of the following questions for each activity (handout #1):

  • What might these activities produce in a classroom space? –community building, checking for understanding, addressing a particular course concern, introducing a topic, providing additional practice with a topic, engagement, etc.
  • How might you adapt this activity to your own teaching context?
  • If you imagine doing this activity in your class, what would you consider “success”? What would you consider “failure”?
  • What potential issues or challenges do you foresee?
  • How will you make sure that this activity is accessible?

Whole-Group Discussion

4:00 (optional, if time) – Activity II

“Speed sharing” ideas of adapting some of these ideas to particular instructional contexts