Playlist #2: “Mission: Fun”

It may be the current gorgeous weather, seeing friends ‘off screen’, or too many cups of coffee too early in the morning, but we are embracing playful moments. If we’re being honest, teaching this past year was not always full of joy—lots of shoulds, lots of musts, and lots of anxiety for us and our students. Joy and play? They were maintaining their social distance.

As we start making plans for fall, where can we bring joy and play back into learning? How can playful philosophies about teaching help us address the serious challenges to learning in our classrooms? Here is what we are reading, watching, and listening to as we look for playful approaches to our classrooms.

What We Are Reading

  • Minding Bodies: How Physical Space, Sensation, and Movement Affect Learning by Susan Hrach: As we contemplate reconfiguring teaching and learning into shared physical spaces once again, I’m curious about how we can take more advantage of and embrace our environments. Likewise, how can that physicality be embodied in virtual and hybrid spaces? Another great title from the WVU Press series on teaching and learning in higher education–look for a CfT workshop on the ideas from this book!–Victoria
  • What the Pandemic Should Have Taught Us About Effective Teaching: This is a great brief overview of the various things that we’ve learned over the course of the pandemic and some of the strategies we should take with us going forward.–Shannon

What We Are Watching

  • DramaBug: What summer viewing list is complete without an animated 2-minute long soap opera where the main character is a cat/bug mix.–Jerry

What We Are Listening To

  • Lecture Breakers podcast-Episode 85 and Episode 86 (The Power of Play: Using Play to Break Up Your Lectures and Improve Student Learning, Parts 1 and 2): Barbi Honeycutt’s podcast, Lecture Breakers, is “the place where college professors, instructors and educators share innovative teaching strategies, practical ideas, and teaching tips to help you break up your lecture, energize your classroom, increase student engagement and improve learning”. In these two episodes, the power of play in the classroom is examined (Episode 85) and practical strategies are thoroughly discussed, including impact on assessment practices (Episode 86).–Victoria


Are you ready to bring some play into your fall classes? Consider:

  • How can you convey joy through your course materials? Consider ways your syllabus and online course platforms communicate excitement for the semester or your sense of humor. Ideas to explore include creating a liquid syllabus, a graphic or creative syllabus, or personalizing your Canvas site.
  • Class transition points (opening, ending, between activities) are great small spaces to incorporate a bit of play into class. If you need ideas or are interested in more intensive activities, revisit our One Hour, One Idea workshop on playful engagement from this past January!
  • Interested in something more intensive than a playful opening or assignment? Unsure about how to personalize your course presentation? Book a consultation with the Center for Teaching or Digital Learning Support– we are here to help you!

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