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I like to arrive in the classroom well before the students. It gives me time to get things organized. I create an entrance table (I use chairs or desks if there's no table) that holds handouts for students to pick up. From day one the students learn the routine: they arrive, pick up handouts on the entrance table, and read the screen for instructions. They know what to do, and it saves time. Here's how I recommend introducing the routine on day one. 1. Post your name and the name and section of the class on the screen, so that when students walk in they know that they are in the right place. 2. Write: "welcome" on the screen and have directions that tell students what they need to do immediately. Example: "As you enter, please tell me your name. Then pick up a syllabus, a card, and a folder from the entrance table. Fold the card so that it will stand on your desk, and write your first name on it in BIG letters. Add your last name and major in smaller print. Write your name on the tab of the folder, (last name first, then first name). Read the syllabus until class starts." Note: By asking students to tell you their name as they enter, you can hear how the name is pronounced, and avoid the embarrassment of pronouncing it for the first time yourself. 3. When it's time for class to start - start class! Late arrivals can catch up by reading the screen. 4. For classes of 25 or less, I have students do brief, 10-second introductions. I tell them there will be a verbal quiz after all the introductions and that they can win stars if they know who is who. (Have fun with this, but remember that these are adults and college is not like junior high.) 5. For larger classes, I have students introduce themselves to three or four people around them, and then we might do "stand-ups" - stand up if you are a Spanish major, stand up if you are an education major, and so on. I explain that students need to know each other for our small group work, and in case they have a question. 6. I collect the file folders and put them alphabetically by student name into a big plastic carrying case. When students need to turn in assignments, they find the box on the entrance table and they put their papers in their respective folders. When papers are graded, they can pull their graded tests or assignments from their folders. The beauty of this system is that time is never wasted by passing out papers. For small classes, I put handouts in the folders of absent students. 7. After the introductions and the explanation of the folder and box system, I turn to the "Today we will" list that I've written on the board, posted on a large paper flip-chart, or projected on the screen. I like to actually write this list on the board, so I can return to it even while projecting my notes. A "today we will" list outlines my plan for the day. For example, for the first day, my "today we will list" says: ○ See screen for instruction for card and folder. ○ Introductions ○ Turn in folders ○ Go over syllabus completely ○ Mini-lecture on _____________ ○ Interest inventory
○ Do you know what to read/do before the next class? Note: The "today we will" list lets me walk around the room, teach from the projection system, and then look at the list for what I should do next. I tend not to forget things if I have the list. As the semester progresses, the "today we will" list might contain warm-up questions that then appear as test questions. The list helps students who arrive late or leave early see what they have missed.] 8. The mini-lesson/mini-lecture - whether it's a short overview of the first reading assignment, some sample problems, or 10 interesting questions students will be able to answer at the end of the course, I strongly recommend doing some course content on the first day. For classes that last longer than 50 minutes, I include a short student activity. I also think it's important to begin with course material on day one so that students begin to see who you are and how you teach. Since I teach courses in teacher education, I often talk about my teaching career. I include a few stories about how times have changed and about how some things in teaching never change.
9. Interest inventories are great for the first day of class. An interest
inventory is just a short list of questions about students' backgrounds and interests. It may assess their prior learning as well. In addition to name and major, students can write about a hobby, interest, or goal. Do not be too personal. You can have them answer several questions about content maybe solve a problem, write a short paragraph or answer specific questions. Finally open-ended questions are useful: ○ What are your goals after graduation? ○ What has a teacher done in the past that helped you to learn ______? ○ Is there anything else that you want me to know about you and your course of study? You can always add one fun question: ○ If your song played when you entered the room, what would that song be? 10. Every good class has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. I usually teach the mini-lesson, and then save the last six to eight minutes of class for the interest inventory and individual questions. This way, students don't have to wait on others to finish. I instruct students to turn in their interest inventory as they exit. As they are writing, I alphabetize their folders and put them in the box on the table. Another good closure is to ask if they know what to read/do before the next class, and if they know three people to ask about the assignment if they have a question.
Use Checklissts to Ensure a Smooth Course Startup
No matter whether this is your first class or your hundredth, you will be more successful when you ensure that you have completed a specific list of course startup tasks. At Teaching For Success, we depend on lists and checklists to keep
portfolios.) A course grading system description.) and office hours. (This is a very. and you should modify them to fit your specific situation-or better yet. lab manuals. and dates of holidays and the final exam. A description of student behaviors that are considered inappropriate at your institution. institutional. I have read my institution's catalog sections on required student behaviors and grading system options and deadlines. Syllabus First check your syllabus. or referral to the institutional document covering student behaviors and processes for dealing with infractions. meeting check off these items: • • • • • • • My syllabus has been carefully checked for accuracy and completeness. A detailed list of your expected and prohibited classroom behaviors. A list of required textbook(s). A statement of your right to change the course schedule and learning activities as needed. tools. (Make particularly explicit details regarding attendance issues. and negative environmental situations such as noise. as well as copies of textbooks. and safety equipment. create your own checklists. lab reports.us on track with our projects. lab projects.etc. A class meeting and activity calendar showing the projected dates for assignments. email. Your current contact information (phone. exams. term papers. meeting times. surveys. lab supplies. equipment. fax. . inadequate ventilation. or late assignments. etc. I have obtained samples of required supplies. The checklists that follow are only suggestions. etc. exams. etc. I have printed 10 to 15 percent more copies than initial registration information shows. poor lighting. etc. in-class work. along with your personal. small group participation. . special tools.) A section contrasting acceptable with unacceptable academic behaviors regarding homework. etc. very important part of any syllabus. I have created a class calendar or timeline and denoted all learning activities. A synopsis of major learning goals in terms of knowledge and skills students will gain. whether it has been provided to you or whether you have developed it from years of teaching experience. team tests. section. etc. I have checked the classroom and labs for seating arrangement. handouts. Here are four sample checklists designed to help you track your progress during the first critical weeks of the term. quizzes. • • • First Class Meeting Preparation Steps To reduce the chances of something going wrong during the first class. or departmental polices for making up exams. I have a student syllabus-acceptance form that students will sign and date upon receipt of a syllabus. safety supplies. Check your syllabus for the following: • • • • • • • An accurate course description.
such as favorite color. FIND SOMEONE. Have students write down one or two adjectives describing themselves. home town. If someone else has also done it. case study. etc? Make sure you: • • • • • • Come early to class and welcome students. or vacations. such as a quiz. make sure you : • • • Have learned students' names and completed at least one measurement of learning. Asked for written feedback on your teaching style and techniques. the student must state something else until he/she finds something that no one else has done. They must understand your grading system and what the term projects will be. Listed below are several examples of icebreakers. I'VE DONE SOMETHING YOU HAVEN'T DONE. or the best book they have read in the last year. do you lecture. Put these on a stick-on badge. the participants introduce the other person to the rest of the class. sometimes with specific instructions to share a certain piece of information.. demand class participation. Survey students for more information on their course subject knowledge and experience levels. favorite television program. content to be learned. • INTRODUCE MYSELF. Have class members find someone with similar or opposite adjectives and talk for five minutes with the other person. promote group learning. BREAK THE ICE The first day of class is usually spent in part by getting acquainted and establishing goals. Distribute your course syllabus. Pass out cards so • • • • . Use an icebreaker introduction to acquaint learners with each other. finally. Each person writes on a blank index card one to three statements.. Each person talks about him/herself to the other. hobby. Two-to-Three Week Benchmark Tasks At the two-to-three week mark in your course. For example." After five minutes. start to learn names. Explain contents of each syllabus section as needed. Participants introduce themselves and tell why they are there. and. how you plan to teach. Icebreakers are techniques used at the first session to reduce tension and anxiety. Use an icebreaker because you want to. INTRODUCE ANOTHER. assignment review. Introduce yourself. CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS. Variations: Participants tell where they first heard about the class. interest. how they became interested in the subject. and anticipated speed and depth of learning. etc. "The one thing I am particularly proud of is. their occupations. group problem report. not as a time filler or because teaching guides say one should be used. Divide the class into pairs. For example. and also to immediately involve the class in the course. Encouraged and given learning quality feedback to your students. Have each person introduce themselves and then state something they have done that they think no one else in the class has done.First-Day Tasks The first class meeting is extremely important for retaining students and making sure they understand exactly what the course will be like in terms of prerequisite knowledge and skills.
Then the second person states something (e. ask each group how many items they have listed. the foreign teacher should have other ESL activities based around introductions.”. Continue until someone has run out of pennies. When dealing with a basic English class. HOW DO YOU FEEL? Ask the students to write down words or phrases that describe their feelings on the first day of class. etc.. say their name. Tell them to avoid the obvious ("we're all taking this course"). Person tries to guess what name is pinned on his/her by asking others around the room yes or no questions. Variation: Use famous place instead of famous person. Everyone else who has done the same thing admits it and puts one penny in the middle of the table. such as the question “How are you?” and the proper response. • FAMOUS PERSON. Depending on how well the ESL students handle the initial questions before the actual ESL activity begins the English teacher can either teach introductions before or after the ESL students introduce themselves. • • • • Basic Level ESL Classes At the basic level the English students should simply go to the front of the class. These students will likely need some prompting and it may be necessary to teach them sentences such as “My name is. When time is up. Have that person find the person with their card and introduce themselves. Everyone who has done it puts another penny in the center. It could be the first.g. Give the group a specific time (perhaps 5 minutes) to write a list of everything they all have in common.everyone gets someone else's card. COMMON GROUND. This also works best for small groups or foe each small group sitting together as a team (4-6 learners). ask them to announce some of the most interesting items. List the responses on the blackboard. This works best for small groups or for each small group sitting together as a team (4-6 learners). I have eaten frogs' legs). water skiing).. Briefly comment on your feelings and then discuss the joint student/teacher responsibilities for learning in the course. MY NAME. ME TOO. age and how they feel. Then ask them to write down what they think you as the teacher are feeling this first day of class. Interview Icebreaker for the First Day of Class ESL Introduction Activity for Pre-Intermediate Students .g. middle or nickname. These introductions will usually go fairly quickly.). For fun. People write a famous name on a piece of paper and pin it on someone else's back. People introduce themselves and tell what they know about why they have their name (their mother wanted to name me after her great aunt Helen who once climbed Pike's Peak in high heels. The first student states something he/she has done (e. Everyone in the group gest 10 pennies/toothpicks/scrap of papers. List them on the blackboard in a second column and note the parallels. etc.
who must predict what the teacher might say. Interview Icebreaker Lesson Procedure 1. For example: a student asks volunteer one. the teacher repeats all the questions." This part of the lesson usually generates the most laughter. a minimum of two students is needed. an ESL teacher's duty is to develop a positive rapport with his or her students. When they say yes. Afterward. then states his or her genuine answers. The two alternate fielding questions until the activity is over. 4. Teacher briefly introduces him or herself by name and asks pairs of students to brainstorm three to four questions that they'd like to ask the teacher. Teacher selects or asks for two students. Teacher must record all questions and answers. a teacher can develop rapport with students and guarantee laughs on the first day of class by allowing the class to interview him Aside from establishing classroom expectations and rules. 5.and Above With this lesson. 2. to come to the front of the class. teacher asks the class if they'd like to know the real answers to their questions. it focuses on the teacher. Instead. preferably outgoing and with strong English. "Where are you from?" The volunteer mustn't state where he or she is from. Were the volunteers correct or not? 6. while the class works together to predict and find answers about the teacher. 3. but where he or she thinks the teacher is from: "I'm from Hollywood. If the class has difficulty thinking of questions or is simply a quiet group. The next question goes to volunteer two. However. For this lesson to work. Students may ask follow-up questions. while students continue interrogating the volunteers. the team with the most questions answered correctly by the volunteers wins a prize. The following activity works well in a class where the students already know each other and would not benefit from asking each other get-to-know-you questions. . The rest of the class must ask their questions to the two volunteers. Teacher tells the class that they are to imagine that volunteer one and two are the teacher. It helps if the teacher has a sense of humor. the teacher can divide students into teams and motivate them with competition. it is far more interesting and diverse if the class size is bigger. When students run out of questions. but the teacher still needs to draw the line if an inappropriate question is asked. writing quickly.
that teachers who were slow in learning the names of their students tended to be uninspired and uninspiring. Focus on the last names and honorifics (Mr. and includes an open-ended essay question about backgrounds and expectations. This visual information also sets up a cognitive dissonance. clothing styles. Before becoming teachers. That just increases memory burden without yielding initial benefits. we as teachers also must confront a humbling task: how to learn the names and faces of the 20 to 40 unfamiliar students expectantly sitting before us. Memorize as many of them as you can. but there isn't time for everyone to be as longwinded as you've been. skillful use (i. haircuts . Allow students at least 15 minutes of writing time.NEW STUDENTS. first impressions count for much. students with unusual names become easier to remember. Actually.e. NEW SEMESTER HOW TO REMEMBER NAMES AND FACES Introduction It's the first day of a new semester. all of us were students. the right amount of showmanship) of this technique can leave the impression that you have gotten to know almost all the students' names and faces by the start of the second class meeting.). Although we certainly don't want our students to come to that harsh prejudgment of us. The only individuals who seem to succeed. Step 1 Before coming to class. While the students are busy writing. Conclude by saying that you would like to learn more about them. we set up a kind of cognitive dissonance: If we know there is a Jones in the class. in short. take the opportunity to study their faces. And we must learn them quickly! In teaching. Step 2 Start the class by introducing yourself and describing your background and expectations for the course. if only subconsciously. Hand out a "Student Expectations Survey" that asks for a name. are politicians. them we can concentrate on looking for Jones and remembering what he or she looks like. but is also a way to take attendance and gauging the overall intellectual potential and interests of your new class. as in so many other fields. In addition to the enthusiasm and optimism inherent in a new beginnings. Under this procedure. we learned. paradoxically. or given names. read the class roster several times. you'll certainly want to learn the name of the punk rocker with the purple hair. and phone number(s)..anything. Almost all of us find it difficult to put together names with the faces of so many new people in short order. we are only human. . that you can use to personalize the individual student./Ms. apart from professional memory trainers and sales representatives. posture.address. At this point there is no need to focus on the first. there is a technique that can reliably be used to associate the names and faces of at least 75% of a typical first day class size of 20-40 new students. By familiarizing ourselves with the names beforehand. The writing exercise is not only a chance to study the physiognomy of your students. Even better.
the second. and vice versa. For example. the second row. review the surnames and honorifics of the students on the class roster. 1. For example." covering up the names of the student. set up a mnemonic position framework.) If you have memorized or nearly memorized the set of names. Again. But it does set up the next step. Despite the resemblance. Step 7 Before the second class meeting. You might be surprised to learn that the technique described above is virtually identical to the method used by ancient orators like Cicero to deliver complex orations without reading them to their audiences. is not very different from ordinary classroom practice and sound group leadership. starting with position "A1. like the preceding ones. students who choose to sit in the back of the room on the first day will almost never voluntarily change their seats to the front. or in reasonable proximity. and vise versa. Step 5 While listening as carefully as possible to what student "A1" is saying. Step 4 Collect the student papers. call the first student in row"A". call the first row on your left "A". find the name on the class roster and code "A1" next to it. like LOTUS 1-2-3. particularly Frances Yates. "B" and so on. This framework is the heart of the techniques presented. 2. Attempt to remember the name. it isn't. Reread the "Survey" and attempt to recollect names. write in the name and the code. and have carefully studied the faces and appearances of your students. (For more information on the techniques. in a traditional classroom layout. Step 5 appears to be the result of cross-pollinating cognitive psychology with an electronic spreadsheet. this step. Students who seem to prefer quick access to the door will sooner die than sit over by the windows. based on your recollections of what students said in class about themselves. Refer to your class roster and position-code the "Student Expectations Survey" so that you can "triangulate" if necessary. Similarly. if the student is not on the roster. etc. Then. read the "Student Expectations Surveys. (Obviously. then the positional code will serve as the link or index between names and faces! At first glance. . This step provides additional reinforcement of the links between names." ask the students to introduce themselves and say a few words about themselves and their expectations for the course.) Step 6 As soon as you can after class. consult any scholarly work on ancient oratory. Modify this positional framework to fit various possible seating arrangements. faces and places. It relies on a curious fact of student sociobiology: students almost invariably return to the same seat they occupied during the first class.Step 3 In addition to absorbing the "tableau" of visual information presented by individual students. faces and places.
well.or herself was not found to significantly contribute toward attitude about the course. in a follow-up analysis that explored some of the factors related to course execution (which these researchers defined as overall design . this group of students did not see themselves as being instrumental in shaping their own education experience. it was surprising to find that. They covered topics about which students had a range of interests. I remember that my best teachers always seemed to take some extra effort to learn (and use) students' names as quickly as possible. you can appear to be a close relative of the "Amazing Kreskin. faces and places should be almost committed to memory. "Given the emphasis some educators place on encouraging students to take ownership of their education. At this time most course evaluations focus exclusively on instructor-related variables. This means that "educators cannot assume that students will automatically appreciate the value of the diverse student population that takes a given college course together. if they themselves do not try as hard as they can to show they care about one of the most important possessions anyone can have in a mass civilization: a face and a name. 144) Only required courses were included in the study. at work shaping a student's attitude toward a class that he or she may take. The worst (i. then their level of interest ought to be acknowledged as a contributing factor on course evaluations. and if during the second class you don't mind using the roster with positional codes as a kind of crib sheet -. Using a complex statistical model. the majority of the names. It seems to reconfirm the extremely passive orientation many students take toward knowledge acquisition. with the right amount of showmanship. The model shows that course topic has just as strong an influence on attitudes as does the instructor. Much previous research establishes the powerful ways instructors influence how students respond to and in a course. 146) What the findings confirm is that students (at least those in this cohort) do not understand that they are at least partially responsible for what happens to them in courses." CONCLUSIONS Make no mistake: this technique does require a certain amount of work. they tested the seven factors and found that four of them explained 77 percent of the variations in attitude toward the course: instructor. For example. and the room (physical environment). The researchers explain why they were surprised by this finding.e. in my mind at least. in addition to the instructor.. They write of these findings: "An important result is that there are significant factors. Like anything else. Bit is it worth the effort? There is no doubt. In fact. overall." (p. Equally interesting in this work are those other factors not found to influence student attitudes toward courses. The researchers point out that if the subject matter of a course influences how students relate to a course. Also surprising was that fact that other students were not seen as a factor influencing student attitudes. course execution. services marketing and management.By this point. But two researchers wondered if the instructor was the only factor influencing student attitudes. course topic. practice makes it easier and easier to apply. they extrapolated seven factors that might be significant determinants of student attitudes. graduate assistants in large undergraduate lecture courses) never bothered. you can make it seem as thought you know more names and faces that you really do." In my own career as a student. Drawing from work in their discipline. from not being interested at all to the course topic being introductory to a major." (p. that "the pain is worth the gain. WHAT INFLUENCES STUDENT ATTITUDES TOWARD A COURSE? The first and most obvious answer is the instructor. Teachers cannot claim to be concerned about how well their students learn." Finally. the student him.
. this will translate in a "reality check" which will increase our retention rates.. and be more prepared to face the future. what college is about. So. She tells me all the time that she hires (and then sometimes eventually has to fire) college graduates who can't think or don't have a clue as to how to begin to solve a problem in her area of banking. I find that many students have really not given much thought to or have not been exposed to the "whys" and "whats" and "hows" of college life. checklist of questions. Through the years. I call them: Tom's Essential Survival Tips for students on the first day. in many different ways. "Students in classes where participation was expected and graded were significantly more likely to prepare for class. Using your brain means that you will be paid more to be able to think and solve problems. take their college learning more seriously. get better grades. we discussed many aspects of the retention issue. Some the people she hires even have master's degrees in business administration! After I relate this story to my students. The first thing I do is to tell my students a true story. the committee has decided to first get faculty involved in the process by suggesting that you try discussing the following on the first day of classes or sometime during the first 2 weeks of classes. They are unable to offer alternative solutions to problems and also cannot write or cohesively present a logical explanation or argument of their work.and conduct of the course). Over the past year. I take students through a "reality check" so they know what to expect of me and the college experience. Instead of requiring all new students to attend an orientation session to expose them to the "answers" to such questions. there was confirmation for some facts about participation many of us have observed in our individual classrooms. Students in those classes where participation was emphasized were also significantly more likely to value the contributions that other students make to their learning experiences. Although many of you are doing some of the following. the committee believes that if we all establish some basics related to our own classes. I then ask and discuss with them. here is a list of things I do in the first few days of the semester. and what it takes to succeed in college. Some of these ways are: • Quantitatively through the study of math and science . and commit to excellence. I tell them that my wife (a college graduate) is at the mid management level at one of Hawaii's largest banks. Each course you take teaches you to think (analyze the world around you) in different ways.the first "reality check" Q: Why are you coming to college? [Call on students to get some of their answers] Q: Why do employers hire college graduates and pay them more? [Solicit student responses] My A: Employers pay college graduates (more money) to use their brain. students will perhaps "get the message". and it is my belief that we can best serve (and hopefully retain) our students by getting them to realize why they are here. Hopefully. While some of you may be going over some of the things I will be covering. keep in mind that the main purpose of attending college is to learn to think and solve problems." TOM'S ESSENTIAL SURVIVAL TIPS Fellow Colleagues: I am a member of the college's ad-hoc Student/Faculty Advising/Retention committee. In addition to learning the content (information) in the variety of courses you will take. attend class.
one and perhaps even two of you won't be here at the end of the first semester! [HCC has over 60% attrition!] Q: WHY? My A: Because many of you will treat your experience here as an extension of the high school experience. you will need to put in some study time --. The reality is that you MUST spend more time studying for college courses than you did in high school. but most of you will fall into the same habits you formed in high school: get by with the minimum effort. art. Here are the "realities" of college vs. religion Logically in all disciplines Temporally (analysis through time) as in history Spatially (analysis of Earth) through geography Socially [Add your own for the discipline you teach] In order to learn to think. Yet. of the two other students sitting around you. high school which require more studying. There are 182 class days in the high school academic year . but very close! You need to get into it as soon as possible. solve problems and truly train your mind. the semester would only be 6 weeks long. and. many of you will be "D"s and "F"s.much more study time that went into passing your high school classes! Getting "good grades" is more a matter of how much "sweat" you put into a course rather than "how smart you are". Q: Can you get the same "A"s and "B"s IN COLLEGE by devoting the same amount of study time that you did in high school? My A: I think most of you intuitively know you need to devote more time to studying.• • • • • • Qualitatively by studying humanities and social sciences. you must study daily. Two to three hours for each hour of class time . sadly. none of you raised your hands and most of you think of earning "A"s and "B"s because all of you have very high expectations at the beginning of the semester. Study time: HCC: With "time compression" (from the previous discussion of meeting days). Q: How many of you got "A"s and "B"s in high school? [Show of hands] Q: How many of you who got "A"s and "B"s had to really study hard to get those grades? [Show of hands] Q: How many of you expect to get "A"s and "B"s at HCC? [Show of hands] Q: How many of you expect to get "D"s and "F"s? [Show of hands] Comment: Of course.6 times the number of days of the HCC semester! Conclusion: The end of the semester is deceptively distant. and getting right down to business "from the get go": Meeting days: HCC: A 16 week semester course which meets twice a week. will meet for a total of only 30 days! If classes were held daily. High school: Courses are held daily over 10 month period. music Ethically through philosophy.
] Studying is understanding the material. Result: High school: "A"s and "B"s without studying HCC: "D"s and "F"s without studying Q: What do we mean by studying? A:[You may have your own definition and tips. Simply reading all of your notes and the text is not studying. High school: Learning occurs over such a long period of time (and so slowly) that students devote little or no time to studying. I ask them the following to consider about their experience and preparation for the future: "How many of you would feel comfortable going to a professional (mechanic. or problems. or whatever) if you knew that they got mostly "C"s and "D"s in college? Would you place your trust or money in them?" As I retire. teacher. The teacher should. There are ways. of course (in one sense). the more. and how much of themselves they will be willing to invest in improving themselves. on your skills. so reading is often left to the "last minute" and texts often go unread. and the teacher because he or she doesn't know what kind of collective attitude the students may possess towards learning. teachers often have time to review material before a test. As I end my session with them. I will be relying on what you learned. the teacher.is a good "rule of thumb". during and after All parties – students and teacher included – are just a little nervous on the first day of a new class: the students because they don't know what to expect and are afraid of being unable to perform. In addition. financial advisor. like an actor performing before a new audience. though. Again. so there is a perception that there is a lot of time to read and study the information. Understanding the information and concepts means that you can apply the information in the solution of problems. The First Day of Class What to do and not do – Before. know better than to feel anxious. really cannot know in advance how receptive the students will actually be. doctor. but here are some I discuss with students. not less. most courses do not assign homework. If you don't understand your notes or the text. concepts. see your professor. not on the night before the exam. No class time is available for "review" before exams. if you don't understand the material. The more you don't understand the terms. Homework and assigned reading: HCC: While some courses assign daily "homework". hair stylist. High school: Homework or reading assignments are constant reminders for students during the school year. and on your qualifications and expertise as I pay for the services you will be provide me. you will need to study. you can't really say you've studied the material. There are also no "reading assignments" per se during the semester. at least of their own accord. Studying for understanding required of exams requires studying and continual review of the material throughout the semester. . because he or she has probably "been there and done that" numerous times in the past. You must understand what you read. however. In another sense. Studying for an exam is not simply reading or "going over" your notes the night before an exam.
a conscientious teacher is likely to arrive with plans for teaching the first two or three lessons. a textbook and other study materials have been chosen. Give more attention to the brighter or more outgoing students than to the others. Do not speak too fast. helping them. Never speak "pigeon English" in order to the understood. is the time for caution! Read and heed the following instructions about what not to do on the first day of class: DO NOT: Start right in teaching. Learn the students' names and how to pronounce them and take brief (and non-distracting) notes about the conversational strengths and weaknesses of each one. Smile and be modest. especially your personal life. Begin speaking in your students' language. Find out the various study objectives the different students may have. the teaching is not likely to be very successful. Given that the above conditions have been met. DO: . while also finding out and noting down what English problems each student feels he or she has. Correct any conversational errors at this point. as otherwise your students may understand only you.e. and the students may not be happy no matter how well the teacher may teach. Spend too much time talking about yourself. If any of these elements is lacking. A successful first class begins before it ever meets. i. you must not at any time allow your personal attitude to be known! Introduce yourself briefly. and interest in. while at the same time assuring the students of your qualifications for. probably along with some supplementary material (and realia to bring conversational situations to life). if they are above beginning level).to virtually ensure a successful class from the very first day. Now. Answer with a smile any questions relating to your marital status. however.. amongst all the other English native speakers they will meet! Take your time and get thoroughly acquainted with each member of your class. if it can be avoided (in other words. Criticize the book that has been selected by your school for the class! If this is not your favorite textbook. which of course is exactly the correct procedure. etc. whether you like Thai food and Thai people (if you are in Thailand!). And never stop joining sounds in a natural way between your words and syllables. a placement exam has been given to the students to group them in a class of a similar knowledge and ability level. or at least has been trained to know how to teach them well. Find out brief personal (but not too personal!) information about each student. First things first. or even if you hate it. and show very briefly how these can be met during the course. You and the class need to get acquainted and bond with one another first. even without prior experience. and that is what we will be discussing here. Clean up your native accent to make your speech as understandable as possible. but also do not speak unnaturally slow. and a teacher has been selected for the class who is experienced and successful with the given level of students.
and you must do this now! We might compare this procedure to that of interviewing someone to work for you. and be assured that you will have ample chance to do work in pairs and small groups during which you can do a minimum amount of conferring. and these duties would. and are intended mainly as guidelines for you to establish your own. The fact is that if a given person has a question (whether he or she asks it or not). however. Ask questions if something is not understood. After getting acquainted with each student. If you have a bit of time left over.) Finally. Do the homework assigned. the teacher. as mentioned above). stick to your word. unless it's absolutely necessary to speak in your own language to find something out. and later ask him or her to accomplish certain duties not described at the job interview. if necessary. Speak only in English. the chances are other students will have the same question. just because you are afraid of admitting you don't. promise them exactly what they will achieve in their course. Try to avoid telling the teacher that you understand something. explaining exactly the purpose of it. In fact. If you follow them well. more often than not they will assure that you they do understand. be found acceptable by the job applicant. do a few communciations incorporating the skills demonstrated. and when they don't understand at all. Be upbeat and positive! At the end of the class. 6. even though you have trained them not to.) 5. but will eventually be told in no uncertain terms that such work is not part of their duties (in other words. you will have bonded with your students on the first day of class – which is actually what that first day is intended to accomplish! . if they apply themselves and do the homework you assign. Show how. (This actually should not happen. they will feel they are being imposed on)! The following are some of the rules you may wish to lay down to your class: 1. However. their materials give them all the information and tools they will need in order to be successful in improving their English and achieving their objectives. 4. 3. and make sure you always react as predicted. and give them a very short homework assignment. the person daring to ask it will not lose face. and would also like to know the answer. Certainly. try to build some excitement for future classes. 2. and the teacher will not be unhappy. Thus. and turn it in on time. you describe the duties the person would have in doing his or her job. introduce a small part of their first lesson. you may receive a small amount of cooperation at first. All of the above are reasonably good rules. LAY DOWN YOUR STUDY RULES NOW! You will need to establish a set of rules that your class needs to follow. instead of conferring with your colleagues first. making mistakes is often how we learn best! (Then you. Answer teacher questions directly. with your help. Introduce and describe in a very favorable way the course book(s) they have been given (despite any feelings or reservations you might actually have to the contrary. In doing that. No one will laugh if it is. no doubt. as you the teacher will know to elicit the given conversational skill – showing whether it has been understood or not – rather than depend on asking students if they understand. Don't be afraid that an answer might be wrong. if you hire the person.
Seat Assignments 5. this just needs to be a rough outline. Having this data storage tool handy on the first day of school will make your start easier. Your students will be more likely to follow the prescribed rules if they are enforced consistently from the beginning of the year. Make seating arrangements before your first day of school. so that they can tell immediately where they should sit. While you may ultimately decide to allow your students some choice in selecting their seat. no make that I need my students’ first impression of me and my classroom to be a positive one because I know that if for some reason things don’t get off to a good start it’s going . Also. Keep this book in a convenient location. The first impression. At the beginning of the year. Your grade book should be your No. This useful recording device contains class rosters. that’s what concerns me about the first day of school. Your grade book is as important as your right arm. Balancing your time and accomplishing the most important preparation tasks is much easier if you prioritize and determine what things you absolutely need for the first day of school. Use a lesson plan book. Don't allow chaos to prevail. Grade Book 1. This can be particularly challenging for first-year teachers. AUG Nine questions I ask my students on the first day of school Filed Under "At-risk" students. Lesson Plan Book 2. Having an established set of procedures will help your students understand what they need to do in class each day. This chart will help you learn student names more efficiently. Establish your rules and procedures on the first day of school. Syllabus 3. The creation of a syllabus is a daunting task for many new teachers. simply list your intended plans. you should assign seats for the first day of school. Have rules and procedures ready for the first day of school. To keep yourself organized. Don't stress over the creation of this document. teachers are often faced with a plethora of things that they must get done before the first school bell rings. Remember. Rules and Procedures 4. Label desks with student names. not a day by day list of activities. This should be given out to students on the first day. I want. Behaviour Management You’ve probably heard that expression that goes something like “you only get one chance to make a good first impression”. so that they can share the information with their parents. it is fine to deviate from the syllabus during the course of the year. and what things can wait for later.What to do for a Teacher's First Day in Class A teacher's first day in class is often a stressful and busy time. Don't add to their stress by forcing them to enter a classroom and decide for themselves where they want to sit. so that you can grab it and use it as a reference if you need to refresh your memory. 1 priority when preparing for the first day of school. Also. Students are likely as nervous as you are about the start of the new school year. centralized location. you need to record all of your lesson plans in one. who do not yet have a feel for what is and is not requisite. create a seating chart for your use. and draft out your intended lessons for the first week of school. post them in the room and provide students with a copy to take home. student grades and attendance. Create a syllabus including your basic plan for the year.
as so many of them keep telling me . What do I do to try to make a good impression on the first day? You know part of me thinks it’s amazing that I’m even talking about the teacher making a good first impression. So you can appreciate why I’m a bit concerned about making a positive impression on the first day. We make our first impression within seconds of meeting someone. I get subject specific. especially the grade nines who are new to the school. The questions are 1. I’ll have to be organized for them. There’s that first impression. Oh sure. When have you felt particularly successful in school? 2. but I’ve forgotten exactly how long that was but was an astonishing short amount of time. Don’t quote me on that one. When I teach a math class. I’ll have an outline on the board of what we are going to be doing for that class. When have you been the most proud of learning something? 3. As a Special Education teacher. So I’ll start by be organized. and I know from experience that it is important to set the right tone on the first day. What is the hardest part of school? Next. for one thing I want them to leave that first class respecting me. That sets the stage. being organized is so crucial on the first day because the first day of school is so confusing for my students. What is the easiest part of school? I ask these questions first because I want the first thing they write for me to be about something positive. One of things I ‘ll do that first class is get to know my students better by having them answer nine questions about themselves. I teach students who need extra support in some way or another to help them be as successful as they can be. Most of them come hating math and hating my class because . So I ask 4. When I teach a literacy class.so I need to engage these kids right from the first bell. Maybe someone can remind me. Then I go on to ask about challenges they have at school because the sooner I know about the challenges. I do remember reading some statistic about the length of time it takes us to make a first impression . That part of me is thinking isn’t making a good impression something the student needs to be concerned with? The other part of me realizes that of course times have changed since the days back when. Some of my students are so disconnected from teachers and school that they are at-risk of failing classes and even dropping out all together. what do I do the first day of class. it’s a class for losers. I ask about reading and writing. I tell them that I would really appreciate it if they could answer some questions about themselves because their answers will help me plan the lessons and the activities we’ll do in class. I ask about math. Well maybe it’s longer than a few seconds. Well. if they decide to hate me too how much am I going to be able to teach them? How much are they going to be able to learn? So. and I’ll greet them at the door and welcome them and introduce myself. I want them to remember they have been winners. they have been to orientation activities but still their heads will be spinning. How do I do that? Demonstrating competence never hurts. Since they probably won’t be organized. so because I’m teaching math the questions are . Remember these kids think of themselves as “losers’. I’ve had kids come and tell me they hate their teachers after just one class. We all do it. the sooner I can teach kids strategies and give them support so that they can help themselves cope with whatever.to be an uphill battle for a long time. and if if they already hate the idea of coming to my class because they perceive it as a class for losers . I want them to remember that they have been successful at something in the past because I want them to be open to being successful in the future in my class. I’ll have extra supplies for them to use. Now my challenge is that the students who come to my math class on the first day are specifically placed in my class because they haven’t enjoyed very much success in math thus far. If they already hate math. I really do use their answers. I certainly don’t want that to happen . Me.
Certain behavior in the classroom are not conducive to learning and these are to be discouraged 6. and my students need to know what they can do to help themselves be more successful. Please keep those comments coming. and we’ll discuss the second set of answers vis-a-vis the first set of answers. Tracy. At the end of the semester. What's the Truth? Most teachers know the difficulty of an opening lecture. Then. I have found a fun and inventive way to make my students feel relaxed with me and to . In my last post . I need to know what I can do to help my students be more successful. That. I’m open to other points of view. For example. I’d also like to thank three feet up and the podsafe music network for my theme music. The posters in the classroom are like the signs along the highway. Discussion is healthy. “come to class on time” and not “don’t be late for class”. 8. I’m not always right. What three things can you do as a student to help yourself be more successful this year? Usually I get good cooperation. Emily. a student will answer all questions in a negative way. These questions focus on the team aspect of the student/teacher relationship . After completing this activity. They have their job to do 3. Peggy. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. So please. It’s important to hear other points of view on a topic. they are experts at knowing what makes a classroom work so that it is respectful and learning can go on. introducing students to the goals and expectations of the course. I talked about my theory about rules for the classroom. I don’t want to repeat myself here. and Ron for their insightful comments about my last post Nine things my students taught me about classroom management and teaching. I’lll have the kids answer these questions again. Sarah. by now. We each have our part to do in the learning that goes on in class. At this point I’d like to thank Mathew.5. that the students might respond at some point during that first session. not just mine. don’t hesitate to make a comment. When is math easy or fun for you? 7. I’ll tell my students that since they are in grade nine. I go on to ask the following questions. we’ll create posters and post them around the room to remind us of what we need to do. I have my job to do 4. Given this. and I discuss this with them. What three things can I as the teacher do to help you become more successful as a student in this class? 9. and I don’t ask him to change them to positive ones. I want us to come up with some rules for the classroom that are stated in a positive way. What do you like about math? 6. I want my students to realize that we are a team. hoping beyond hope sometimes. Once we have decided on the rules for the classroom . in itself speaks volumes about that kid. Certain behaviours are conducive to learning and these are to be encouraged 5. They tell us what the appropriate thing to do is. not often. Sometimes. and. Their input is valued At least the way I see it. The students and I are a team 2. I just want to say in closing that I hope by the end of the first class the students realize the following: 1. When is math difficult for you? Believe me. and I respect his answers. the kids like having the opportunity to tell me what they like and don’t like about the subject.
Everyone votes and the teacher then spends a few minutes talking about herself: her love for ethnic cooking. Step 3 Next the instructor reveals the three statements that are true and asks the class which one they would like to know more about. Step 5 The final phase of this game is for the pair teams to stand up and introduce each other. to the rest of the class and tell one "true" interesting fact about one another. these can be very basic or more complex depending on the level). Step 1 The instructor introduces herself to the class and makes a few casual remarks to get the students acquainted with his/her voice and intonation. English and Russian. 2. I believe it helps to get the students thinking about the instructor as a "real" person. The teacher counts the votes and writes the numbers next to the statements. etc. race. her life in Japan. etc. I love to cook and eat Indian food. The main objective is for the students to feel comfortable and to meet at least one person in the class and to begin building rapport while practicing writing. I speak three languages: Spanish. She reads the sentences aloud to the class and it. I am married and have two children. For lower level classes. The "opening up" of the teacher in front of her students helps to lighten the atmosphere and begins to set the tone for the semester's learning experience. Next. break the students into appropriate pairs (perhaps selecting them by gender. to form diverse groups) and have them begin to play "What's the Truth?" This instantly gives them something to focus upon and talk about as they try to guess the truth about their partner. After the true sentences have been revealed. by name. Step 4 Now it is the students' turn to play the game. 4. but I usually stress that students try to be as creative and free as possible. For more advanced. the instructor should allow about twenty minutes (10 minutes per person) for the elaboration of the true statement. On a sheet of paper they must write two false statements and three true ones about themselves. just like them. the book of poems she just wrote. For example: 1. must choose one sentence or topic statement to discuss further. two that are false. age. 3. After completion. you can expand your "true or false" questions based on students' capabilities. listening and speaking. Allow about 5-7 minutes for the writing process. the performance pressure is lessened for the speaker and the rest of the class begins to become familiar with other students. too. All of this creates quite a lot of giggles and guesses as to which sentences are true. Depending on how talkative and lively the class is in response to this game. 5. I love to write short stories and poetry. votes on which are true and which are false. Step 2 The teacher tells the students that some of these statements are true while others are false. the students. collectively. . three that are true. pair share activity. I've found this specific warm-up game workable and useful at a variety of English proficiency levels.begin to feel relaxed and comfortable with one another in a question / answer. native language. simply make the statements more direct and use appropriate vocabulary. I lived and worked in Japan for two years. By warming up with the pair share activity and by introducing and talking about someone else. These sentences can be very simple or more complex. the instructor tells the class that they are going to play a game called "What's the Truth?" On the board the teacher lists five sentences about herself (again.
___________________________ lives more than two hours from school. This checklist doesn't cover everything. 11. 6. __________________________ likes to play volleyball. 13. ___________________________ rides a bicycle to school. dislikes and has possibly experienced a few adventures! My Classmates How well do you know really know your classmates? Find someone who fits each sentence and let that person sign his or her name in the space.Caveats If time allows and the instructor is stressing listening and memory skills. __________________________ has a dog for a pet. 14. I had a student reveal that he was a doctor in his native country. 5. __________________________ enjoys swimming. ___________________________ has a telephone number that ends with 5. Is your room ready? You should have up a few things on bulletin boards. 8. ___________________________ went skiing during winter vacation. __________________________ does not like cake. 10. . but save lots of space for student work to be added the first day or two. 7. to personalize the room. ___________________________ will go to a movie on Saturday. very similar to them. __________________________ likes to read books. ___________________________ rides a motorcycle to school. 16. Ask questions in English. ___________________________ plans to go to New York this summer. 1. 15. each student has become better acquainted with another student and all have become better acquainted with the instructor as a person. For example. At best.00 to a street beggar because she had no change! Most of the students really begin to speak and laugh with one another as they read their "lies" and tried to decipher the truth. __________________________ plays baseball. which takes virtually no preparation time. who has likes. or what information they have learned about each other. to produce lively. the instructor could say. 12. 4. but it's a good place to start. fun and often-times surprising results. 17. "Keiko. __________________________ eats bread every day. 3. ___________________________ `s favorite color is blue. a woman who adores Elvis Presley songs. and one young girl confessed that she once gave $50. she could also "test" the class on each other's names. 2. 9. ___________________________ has two younger brothers. __________________________ can play the guitar. 18. 1. __________________________ has a birthday in June. what do you remember about Hsui-Jen?" or "Who can tell me first the name of the student who studied in Russia?" I have found this introductory activity.
and don't put names on any of them until a child begins using them. blank writing paper. Do you have a sign-in sheet for the parents who come with their children the first day. and you'll get new students enrolling for the first week or two.. Do you have nametags for the students and for their desks? Be sure to have extras. hand lotion. Do you have stickers. especially before you've even matched faces to all the names. 8. math manipulatives. Decide what your reward system will be and be generous with it while getting classroom routines established. Do you have the following items on your desk? * a picture of your family or pets * a daily inspiritional calendar of some sort * notepaper. Few things in life are as scary as "losing" someone's child. cosmetics. * anti-bacterial soap for washing your own hands * baby wipes for washing little hands (I don't let kids use my sink) * room freshener spray * a good supply of bottled water . pens. games. etc. puzzles. 6. Do you have a paper for parents to indicate how their child gets home from school? This is *very* important. it's important to keep your throat from drying out from all the talking you do. run on the ditto machine to save my copies for later in the year. your rules and expectations. Have you selected what stories and poems you will read? Do you have follow up activities ready to go? 11.2. because the first week is very hectic and you have to be sure kids go where they're supposed to go. Skittles or M&M's. Do you have a project or two for your students to complete and take home the first day? 10. because some kids on your list probably won't show up. and other fun learning activities to use during quiet times the first week or two of school. cologne. toothbrush and paste. Do you have soft music to play in the background? 4. 12. which can cause laryngitis 13. Do you have a Beary Good Work folder made up for each child? This folder will have coloring pages. or some other form of reward to give out several times each day for the first week or two? Reinforcing good behavior is extremely important.. Do you have a packet of materials to send home about yourself. 3. Make 5 extra folders.. Do you have some games. books and magazines. mazes. 7. and pencils . Do you have the following items tucked in a drawer or cabinet? * aspirin * deoderant. 9. Mine is about 20 pages long. and your classroom routine and schedule? I'll be adding my first day packet to the website sometime soon. etc. where they can leave you personal notes if they don't have time to talk? 5. out and ready for the students to use as they arrive in class? You'll need these ready so that you're free to talk with parents and handle paperwork.
-. so be sure you've decided how to handle this :) 6. if your school uses them * a jar of colored markers * your reward/candy/sticker jar 14. I keep two large photocopy paper boxes under my desk (I never have time to sit there anyhow).? 3. 5. unless your school has a different procedure. and counters straightened up and presentable? This is the hardest part of teaching for me. that's quite a bit already :o) Here are a few more things to think about before the first day of school. 17. etc.? 4. to take outside during Fire Drills. eraser. What is your policy about excusing children to go to the restroom during instructional time? (5 and 6 year olds *all* need to go to the bathroom as soon as you let the first child leave. crayons. and notes/phone calls from the office? 8. raising your hand and expecting them to do the same. when teachers are often busy with tons of paperwork and are frequently interrupted by the arrival of new students. help pass out papers. Have you organized a warm and welcoming library area/reading corner? 18.I usually buy a pencil box or basket to hold these items so they stay together. etc. What type of behavior reinforcement/positive discipline plan are you going to use? You will probably need a pocket chart to keep track of . 1. Do you have a paper where parents can sign up to help in the room or by doing work for you at home (stapling and collating papers. 16. How will you choose a student helper the first day of school. What will you use as your signal to get the children's attention? Flashing the lights. parents. Are the following items on student desks/tables? * Beary Good Work folder * Nametags * pencils. Are your desk. How and where do your students spend their time before school? If they come directly to the classroom. work tables. and I use them to stash things out of sight when we're expecting important guests or a substitute. too. How often will you send homework and when will it be due? What is your procedure going to be for collecting and recording homework? 7. What activities have you chosen for the first week of school. ringing a bell. take the attendance and lunch count folders to the office. what activities/procedures will you use until the bell rings and it's time for class to begin? 2. Where will your students line up after recess and lunch? Will you have one line or two? Alphabetical order or whoever gets there first? (ABC order really cuts down on pushing in line). 15. etc. Do you have at least THREE copies of your class list? Keep one on a clipboard near the door. to do things like lead the flag salute. etc.)? OK. singing a song. Empty videotape boxes work well. if your school uses them * referral forms.* hall passes.
A. etc. semester. I *always* have work ready for helpers to do). 9. 14. What type of letter will you send home with students the first day of school? Your letter should introduce you. What are your policies for allowing children out of their seat during worktime? Will most of your work be assigned seatwork. students may only interrupt me for B Emergencies . tell them a bit about you and your goals for the year. What will your rule be about interrupting you when you are working with a student or a group? (In my room. bathroom. Therefore. you'll have to go over class rules and procedures every day for at least a week. and lunchboxes? (In my room. or will your students spend most of their time out of their seats.. blood. to help your students learn your expectations. and spend time the first day explaining them to your students. and school. This will be a teacher's first and best opportunity to make sure student's attitudes toward you. jackets and backpacks are kept on their chairs. Where do you want your students to keep their jackets. doing individual and group learning activities? 13. 18 Things Teachers Need to Do the First Day of Class The first day of class is perhaps the most important time for teachers in setting the atmosphere for the class for the rest of the term. 10. the course. What is your plan for making sure that students who are absent are able to catch up their work? (I have the person next to them get a yellow "We Missed You" folder and put on the absent child's desk at the beginning of the day. backpacks. showing them where they meet and line up during a fire drill. or something similiar. which greatly reduces the spread of lice. Enthusiasm . and behavior management plan. Here is a list of ideas from a high school teacher. I use the area beneath the coat hooks as a work area for centers and independent work). so that any and all work papers can be put in the folder until the child returns to school). and give them a tub of papers to collate and staple. personal style. If a parent shows up unexpectedly and wants to conference with you during classtime. grade level. What will you do about students who consistently don't complete their work? 12. 18. and explain your rules. 16. what can you do to make the first day a positive experience for all involved. I also ask them if they'd like a job to do while they wait. What other class rules and procedures are you going to have? Be sure to have them in writing before the first day of school. and barf :) 17. What are your procedures for fire drills. and other students will support a constructive learning environment.? Be sure to go over these the first morning. Do you have cubbies or mailboxes for your students? 15. 11.. if they aren't with you when the bell goes off. and these can be changed or added too depending on your subject matter. procedures.color changes if you are going to use that type of system (I use a calendar pocket chart with 4 colors of apples). or year depending on the length of the class. and take your students on a walking tour of the campus. what will you do? (I usually ask them to have a seat and let them know when I will be able to talk to them. Realistically.
8 classes a day depending on the high school and its scheduling. Students will have between 4 . Tell students up front will the class be hard. Tell them about other classes you teach. Be energized and enthusiastic 5. Remind student's that it is their responsibility to keep it in good shape. or what classes it will help them with in the future. Ice-Breakers Do some form of an icebreaker exercise. and I doubt it was the teacher who dryly read off the periodic table from memory. Give out a short assignment or project 10. Assignment Give out an assignment the first day. Introduce yourself and tell something about you and your family 3. Have students introduce them selves. Everyone has had a favorite teacher in his or her life. Write a brief overview of what you are doing today or the week on the board . and get away with it. You want the students to leave knowing this is a real class. C. A 10-minute project is not a lot. everything. It is much easier to set rules. Tell them what supplies and materials they will need 8. Questions Provide an opportunity for students to ask questions about you. E. B. and you expect them to work. F. Even if you have wanted a new one for years. where you have been. there are many ways. Introduction Introduce yourself to the class. say their favorite kind of pie. but times that by 8. we tend to think our material is the most important. especially on the first day is a lot. use of cell phones or iPods. You want the students to feel comfortable asking questions so make sure the students leave the first class knowing they can. Learn how to pronounce the students names correctly 7. Write your name and class on the board 2. the weather. they will be more likely to treat you with respect and politeness. This is not only your time to set down the rules. The goal is to get communication going in the class. the book. clarify expectations for grades. Suggest or demand that students put a cover on it to protect it. and a few teachers give more homework then everyone else. how it will help them in the future. Who you are. Tell them why the subject is important to you. but gives you something to go back to with students or parents if problems arise later. A hard candy or treat for students is not a bad way to end class the first day 6. You do need to remember that this is not their only class. or what ever. and tell them a few things about you. do not let the students think you hate it. and 80 minutes of work a night. the class.You must be enthusiastic about the class if you want the students to be interested in the material. and lighten up later if the class can handle it. D. and have things in common with them. As teachers. If they get a feel that you are a real person. and what you like to do is of interest to the students. G. First Day Check List 1. then try to toughen up later. Textbook Give the book out the first day. Hand out the textbook 9. Course Expectations Give the class a well-designed syllabus. class rules. Give a brief positive overview of the book. and student activities you are in charge of 4. late work. what is needed to pass and receive an "A".
Students should understand the importance of good interviewing and note taking skills. Go over your class rules 16.11. and get their names at the start of class 12. When it is time to start class . Teacher recommends that students take notes. Take attendance at beginning of class 17.) to encourage students to ask questions along those lines. while the students will run the newspaper. • The students will not ask any questions. (Even if this is the first time for the assignment. therefore. • Requirements: • • The teacher needs to have a clear idea of everything the students need to know. but the teacher will not be giving the students a syllabus.Start class! Title: Lesson Plan for the First Day of Class Description of School and Students This lesson will be taught to 10th-12th grade journalism students in an advanced journalism class in a small. Tell students how much time your class will take up of their time 18. Unit Objective Students will discover the information normally given on the syllabus through interviewing methods. If possible. grades. it would be helpful to start questioning with students who have been in the class previously. Be on time yourself. but important topics on the board (i. etc.e. and barely make it back 13. Have the classroom arranged properly and clean 14. ○ Solution: The teacher can give hints to draw students to those questions. Activity: • • • Teacher introduces him/herself and welcomes students to the class. Potential Problems and Solutions: • . those students might feel more comfortable asking questions and will be more familiar with procedures from previous years.) The students miss important questions and. assignments. information. do not run down to the office. Teacher explains that he/she will run the class. public high school in California. Teacher explains that the students need to know the very important information that is usually given to them in a syllabus. therefore. The teacher explains that interviewing skills are among the most important in journalism. positions. ○ Solution: The teacher can write random. Greet students at the door. Give out a clear and complete syllabus 15. students will begin their journalism experience by interviewing the teacher to get the information normally given in a syllabus.
if a significant number of your students are likely to have Spanish surnames. On the First Day of Class First impressions tend to be lasting impressions. Students compare the written syllabus to the information they gathered in their notes the day before. Ask department members to recommend sites they find helpful. Planning for the First Day of Class Preparing for The First Class Meeting On the first day of class. The teacher can lead a discussion on what information the students missed. "What is this course all about and what kind of person is the teacher?" For you as the instructor. Strive to convey organization. wait-listing students). your students' concerns are. Under ideal circumstances. add/drop. the first day of class is your opportunity to answer those questions and to establish a tone for the entire term. Make sure that your handwriting on the board is clear and readable from the back of the room. For example. course sequence and lessons. ○ Solution: The teacher should have a written syllabus prepared to give students the next day. Check the operation of overhead projector. If it is not.g. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Prepare printed materials that students will purchase. Make arrangements for classroom audiovisual equipment. Learn about the college library reserve system and place books on reserve in the library as needed. Find the restrooms. (e. plan to use transparencies or PowerPoints. Find out your department's enrollment management policies and forms. you will have had at least a month prior to the first class meeting to plan the syllabus. Be prepared to deal with your specific student population. Check the sound and carry of your voice in the classroom.• The class runs out of time before getting all the necessary information. preparedness and enthusiasm. how they missed that information and why they missed that information. the teacher hands out the written syllabus. calendar. . if the class does/does not fill. your attention will turn to the logistics that will make your class run smoothly throughout the semester or term. Assessment • • • • The following day. learn how to pronounce common names for that group correctly. That discussion can lead into a discussion or lecture on the importance of journalism fundamentals. • At Least One Week Before the First Day of Class (or as soon as possible) ○ ○ ○ ○ Find the building and visit the classroom. Plan for any special supplies needed for class. Check textbook orders in bookstore. Obtain a key to the classroom and any computer/audiovisual cabinets. As the first day of class approaches. computer or VCR (recheck right before class). Make sure web-sites used to support your class are still active.
• Review the syllabus completely. Put your name on the board for students to see as they come in. that it will be helpful for them to pay particular attention to learning strategies in addition to course content. • • Greet students as they enter the classroom. ○ ○ • ○ You might have students do a paired exercise to discuss the syllabus or give an ungraded syllabus quiz. ○ Ask about career and educational goals. Allow students to introduce themselves. If appropriate. Understand and accept that being nervous is quite normal. you will want to discuss the intent of this plan and how students will be engaged in the design of the course. Describe the organization and scope of content of the class. Be very sensitive to students who may not want their picture taken. and other materials. • Use an icebreaker to initiate the exchange of information. Let students know when you'll handle enrollment issues such as signing add/drops. Notes should be written/taken in context. Share any activities or connections you have with the community outside of your teaching. If you have a digital camera ask students to hold their plaque and take their picture. (If you have students introduce themselves in pairs. Breathe. Tone and Expectations Probably the most important function of the first day of class is to provide students with the structure and expectations of the class. Make these comments brief. Class Structure. try to do so before students arrive. And. you may have planned to let your students identify key topics they want to discuss late in the semester. ○ ○ Explain attendance policies and ground rules for class interaction (see box below). If you have done this. have a student introduce you. ○ ○ Have students write what they want to be called on a folded card and put it on the edge of their desk. and any hobbies or other special interests which you enjoy. if appropriate and not distracting to student involvement in the lesson. Show a human side. • • • • Get to know your students. lab materials or supplies. Make your academic and behavioral expectations very clear. ○ ○ ○ Share information about yourself such as the history behind your teaching career and other professional activities. You must have their permission. Identify and describe textbooks. Explain to students that you will frequently offer them learning strategies for your content. roll sheet. Your enthusiasm for the subject matter and your ability to engage students is more important than experience.• • Try to arrive in the classroom before your students and organize your handouts.) Immediately try to associate names with faces. ○ • Avoid making apologies for any lack of teaching experience. . Inquire about their expectations of the class. If there is additional material to be written on the board. recheck equipment functionality.
but in the learner-centered classroom. students design the ground rules as well as the ramifications for breaking them. Be honest about the skills needed to succeed in the class and identify college and community resources available to support student success. This process need not exclude faculty preferences that can be inserted at the end of the process. such as posters. If your course requires laboratory or fieldwork. ○ Review your contact information. or other attempt to contact you. illness or natural disaster. For those instructors who . Encourage questions and allow frequent opportunities for students to ask them. email. large visuals. Suggest some study strategies that may help students succeed (see "Helping Your Students" for ideas). Make sure students know how to reach you. In ongoing classes. • Remember that we learn best when doing. phone and fax numbers. ○ ○ • Discuss emergency procedures in the event of an accident. Give time estimates for study and assignments. Anonymous questions on 3 x 5 cards or post-its can be very helpful. Review safety precautions. Get students involved in this process. Typically. Remember that some students need reflection opportunities before they will know what they want to ask. Here is a list of typical ground rules that students might agree upon: Start and end class on time One speaker at a time Everyone participates Keep an open mind Focus on "what" and not "who" No "zingers" or put downs No one dominates discussions Share "air time" Be an active listener Create a safe zone Stay on track/topic Agree only if it makes sense to do so This is not an exhaustive list but it serves as a template to show what students often expect of themselves and of one another. ○ ○ Describe any prerequisites for the course. ○ • • Clearly explain the grading system. applying or teaching content. including office hours and location. demonstrate the procedures for using equipment and supplies safely. will automatically signal to you that they are in trouble. can be a better learning cue than a verbal reminder. faculty delineates a code of conduct for their students within their syllabi. Learner-Centered Ground Rules for Conduct by Lisa Rodriguez A growing trend among faculty is to allow students to participate in the decision-making process. ○ • Do what you can to dispel the myth that a visit to your office.
or a reading. so English was the only practical medium for teaching. perhaps on the back of that same 3 X 5 card or anonymously if you like. faculty who use this learner-centered approach feel that the class members have more sense of "buy-in" or ownership of their learning environment where conduct is concerned. If they have time constraints recommend an online purchase or purchase prior to the start of class (there are exceptional circumstances that you will want to attend to. Should EL teachers use the mother-tongue in the classroom? The rationale for not using the mother tongue was a mixture of pedagogical and pragmatic. they will have begun taking an active part in that learning. Teachers with multi-lingual groups could not be expected to know all the native languages of their students. Issue 4. 14.. we suggest having all students verbally agree upon and/or sign a final list that is duplicated and distributed for future reference. Those students who come prepared with textbooks the first day will have their actions reinforced by a full menu of activities the first class meeting. The 3x5 card mentioned above is an easy way to do this.. Spend some time each class period for approximately two weeks identifying issues that commonly stand in the way of student success and help students learn how to overcome them. Take two minutes the first day to have students write reactions from the first day. Often. let students know that you are ultimately responsible for maintaining a fair learning environment..don't let students out early). Keep in mind how people learn as you do this). . such as a paired discussion of the syllabus. develop listening strategies and be discouraged from translating. maximum exposure to English.. many instructors also feel that students are capable of deciding the consequences for breaking the code. but as a general rule . As stated previously. Do not end the first class early in order to send students off to purchase the textbook. Understanding how the brain works can help your students understand their learning processes. but they find that is sometimes necessary to lighten the decided penalty for their classmates' unacceptable behaviors. while completing administrative tasks. This may differ from what students feel is fair or unfair. Students appreciate immediate feedback." in The Teaching Professor. Create the atmosphere that you feel is conducive to optimum learning of your content material. use only of the target language allows learners. Assess your students’ comprehension of the class material during each class session and more formally within the first two weeks. Students will appreciate your interest in their learning and if you follow many of the suggestions presented here.. such as taking role. First. • • • • Mother tongue in the classroom? Hello again. Commercial pressures are at work too. Thus learners can accustom their ear to the new sounds. Also. For a good article on what students deem to be fair in the classroom see "That's Not Fair: Understanding Student's Ideas of Classroom Fairness.might feel anxious about this process living up to the tried (but sometimes not true) statement of conduct dictated by the instructor in the syllabus. Final Advice • • • Create an open atmosphere where dialogue between the students and you is encouraged. Vol. Demonstrate that time in the class is important by engaging students in substantive material. Exam boards would have to spend a lot to translate the exam rubrics into a lot of different languages and publishers produce only English versions of coursebooks. And even teachers with mono-lingual groups do not always a level of proficiency in the language of the students to be able to teach in that language.
If the learners are children then use of mother tongue in such situations can be helpful to keep the pace of the lesson brisk so that the children do not lose attention. Where English grammar is posing a conceptual difficulty. . It seems to me that what is important for learners to have effective teaching and if use of the mother tongue adds to the effectiveness then it should be used when required. Take the ways in which English uses the present tense. It is a good idea to agree a policy on its use with the group at the beginning of the course: when and why will mother tongue be used and by whom.But if a class is monolingual the reasons for using the mother tongue for specific reasons are surely convincing. Then there is the value in making structural comparisons. Linking examples of each use of the present tense with the mother tongue equivalent can help learners understand how English works. It is often helpful to use mother tongue comparisons to help clarify such issues. Take false friends as an example. First there is the time-saving benefit of issuing complex task instructions in the mother tongue or troubleshooting when activities are not working too well. Then there are issues of comprehension. an illustration of a mother tongue equivalent can be helpful. for example.
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