I played a "kims game" with the class today. A "kims game" is any kind of game where the players have to remember a set of items to be recalled at a certain time. There are various ways to play it. Today I set a collection of things that one might carry in one's pockets. I included 13 items, a cigarette pack, a small dictionary, a schedule, a five dollar bill, a USB drive, keys, sunglasses, a pen, a pencil, breath mints, gum, a cell phone, and a lighter. I don't smoke, so I scrounged an empty cigarette pack from one of my smoking colleagues. The rest of the stuff came from student comments and actual stuff that they pulled out of their pockets the other day during class.
The class was broken up into teams of five or six and each team had two minutes to look at the items before they returned to their tables to cooperate and down what they saw. Some of the groups tried different strategies to remember what they saw. One group broke the items into smaller groups and assigned each member with the job of remembering one of the smaller groups. I did not see anyone count the number of items to make sure that they had a complete catalog of items when they compiled their lists.
Most of the groups got 12 or 13 items, and nearly all of the items were spelled correctly, without use of texts or dictionaries. Actually one group used the dictionary in the group of items during their two minutes to look up the spelling of two words. Very resourceful, I thought.