Please comment below to share any teaching tips and assignment ideas for back to school!
I teach freshmen so the first day is always rough. They aren;t sure where they are going or what they are doing. I make the first day a little light. It makes it seem easier for the people who make it to class and not a huge problem if they don't. I go over the syllabus but warn them they need to read it for themselves. It's a contract between us.
That is great, Brenda! How did you create the syllabus? I think it's important to tell the students to read the syllabus on their own. What class are you teaching at The University of Toledo?
Hi Elizabeth! We have a lengthy template syllabus based on HLC requirements. I had a pretty long syllabus before that template. I put a lot of detail into my syllabus. Most of that is based on problems or questions from past years.
I teach nonmajors and intro majors biology. In this case, the first day is important no matter what subject you teach.
So much of college is about what you don't know. I like to begin the semester by asking students to inventory their strengths--what they do know or what habits they already have. I put 10-12 statements on the white board (e.g., "I usually have good ideas for writing." "I am comfortable working in groups." "I can solve technology problems." "I often participate in class." "I can design presentations." and so on), and I ask students to go up to the white board and write their names under all of the statements that apply to them. Thanks to this public display of "expertise," I have already sought out Travis to help fix the volume on a Nancy Sommers video about teacher feedback, and I've already put Lindsey in charge of a small group that's presenting on topic sentences in class tomorrow. I also asked Matt to log into LaunchPad to show everyone how he registered for access. The first drafts will come, and I'm sure some of the students will slip in confidence a bit based on comments from peers, tutors, or me, but at least they know I value one or more skills or habits they brought to the course on Day One.
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