Today was our first day of school, so we saw all 8 of our classes (we are normally on a block schedule and only see 4 a day). Sooo... our classes were each 34 minutes instead of 82. In that time I spent about 5 minutes going over my syllabus (I still have a traditional one) and about 5 minutes pointing out important things in my classroom. I then gave the students about 15-20 minutes to fill in the charts (which I posted about here).
For my first class, breaking up the chart into pieces worked exactly how I had envisioned. The kids chatted with each other and me, they were out of their seats switching pieces with each other and interacting. It was lovely! Second class was similar--a few of them started just copying from each others charts instead of from the pieces of the notes, but that was very few of them. Again, I would say this was a successful way to get them the boring vocabulary notes they need.
Then came my last class. Once they copied the first four pieces (they were seated in groups of 4), all they wanted to do was just trade charts and copy from each other's charts instead of from the pieces of my notes. I know in the long run that it doesn't make much of a difference, but it did mean that they weren't really talking to each other and that they were just huddled in a big group. I was a little disappointed in this and once I re-explained my expectations the kids were better about it. I think part of it was them being lazy and it was also the very last of the 8 classes they had today (plus lunch and homeroom twice), so they were probably exhausted.
Overall, a good idea for getting them the notes and I will use this again next year.