After orientation last week, you're well prepared to teach your first class (even if you feel like you're not!). To get ready for Day 1, reread the syllabus introduction, revisit the first few readings you'll assign, prepare your materials (see the list below), ask for any help you need (the instructors are here for you!), and write out your own lesson plan.
Materials (be sure to bring materials for each of your classes)
Class roster (as up to date as possible) for each class
20 copies of your syllabus (if Writing Studio instructions aren't on your syllabus, prepare an extra handout with those) for each class
Yellow handouts about the CO150 drop policy
Instructions for student introductions
Some students may have prepared for class today by buying the textbook. Also some may have set up Writing Studio accounts. Today is unique because it's a fresh start. Your students will come in with few ideas about what the class will be about, what the atmosphere will feel like, etc. One of your primary tasks for today is to establish a classroom culture that will work for you and your students, and to give students a fair idea of what they can expect for the rest of the semester.
Introduce yourself and the course (3-5 minutes)
Before class begins, write your name, the course number, section, and title on the board. Once all (or most) students have arrived, take a moment to introduce yourself—tell students what you would like them to call you, and consider what else you'd like them to know about you. Make sure everyone is in the right place—have students check their schedules to be sure that they're really in your section.
Attendance (5 minutes)
Use your roster to call names and make note of anyone who is absent. After you have called all the names on your list, make a general statement that if a student isn’t on the roster to see you after class. Possible reasons why the student isn't on your roster include:
The student wants an override (which you can’t give—send the student to Sue Russell in Eddy 359 and she will try to help).
The student is hoping a seat will open in your class (send the student to Sue Russell in Eddy 359).
Distribute and review your syllabus (10-15 minutes)
Spend time looking at the document with your students. Discuss the course description, your contact information, your grading system, and key course policies. You might not discuss every single thing in detail; if you don't (and even if you do), remind students to reread the document before the next class and to email you with any questions or concerns.
Distribute and explain yellow slips about CO150 drop policy (2 min)
Student introductions (10-15 minutes)
Choose one of the introduction activities below, or use another that accomplishes the goals of allowing students to make connections with each other and setting precedents about participation and community.
Option 1: In this activity, students pair up and interview each other; then they introduce each other to the rest of the class. Here are instructions which you can put on an overhead:
Pair up with someone near you that you do not know. Take a few minutes to find out interesting things about your partner—you can ask the typical questions (name, major, hometown, etc.) but also try to find out something unusual, unique, silly, and/or amazing.
In a few minutes, I’ll ask you to introduce your partner to the class, so be sure to jot down notes.
Option 2: In this activity, you generate a handful of questions with the class and then go around the room and allow each student time to answer the questions. You can start out with the obvious—write, "What's your name?" on the board. Ask the students what else they'd like to know about each other. Give them time—if nobody suggests anything, make another suggestion. Something like "What's your major?" works and might get them going with more suggestions. Once you have four or five questions listed, end with one of your own. Feel free to answer the questions yourself.
Option 3: In this activity, you begin to get the students exploring their beliefs about writing. Students have been writing for some time now, and as such have considerable prior knowledge, so it is good to reexamine beliefs to determine if those beliefs are accurate or helpful. Until they do this, any new learning in the subject can be limited. Tell students to form groups of 3-4 to discuss their writing beliefs. Here are instructions you can put on an overhead. Have students agree or disagree with each belief and explain why?
From the list below, identify the one belief about writing that you agree with most strongly, and one that you’re convinced isn’t true.
Writing proficiency begins with learning the basics and building on them, working from words to sentences to paragraphs to essays.
The best way to develop as a writer is to imitate the writing of the people you want to write like.
People are born writers. Either you can or you can’t do it.
The best way to develop as a writer is to develop good reading skills.
Developing writers should start with simple writing tasks, for instance, telling stories, and move to harder writing tasks, such as research papers.
The most important thing that influences a writer’s growth is her belief that she can learn to write well.
Reconvene as a class, and have each group briefly summarize their discussion for the class.
Introduce the Idea of Writing as a Conversation Model (3-5 minutes)
Explain the ways in which writing is similar to conversation. Here’s a sample explanation:
Like a conversation, writing involves exchanges of ideas that help us shape our own ideas and opinions. It would be foolish to open your mouth the moment you join a group of people engaged in conversation—instead, you listen for a few moments to understand what’s being discussed. Then, when you find that you have something to offer, you wait until an appropriate moment to contribute. We all know what happens to people who make off-topic, insensitive, or otherwise ill-considered remarks in a conversation.
The following is a visual representation of the way in which this course is designed around the writing as conversation metaphor. Before explaining, present it to students on an overhead:
Conclude and assign homework for Wednesday (3-5 minutes)
Put the homework on an overhead transparency, explain it, and allow students time to copy it down. If you plan on using the calendar function on Writing Studio to post homework, encourage students to find homework there.
Purchase your Prentice Hall Guide (PHG) and Rhetoric of Green reader(ROG). Read the Preface to the ROG.
Use instructions on the syllabus to log on to our class page at http://writing.colostate.edu. Once there, review the class syllabus to familiarize yourself with course policies and expectations. Be sure to write down any questions and concerns.
Please type a 2- or 3-sentence personal definition of “green” and a 2- or 3-sentence definition of “rhetoric.” Follow this definition with a “freewrite,” where you write down everything you can think of related to the rhetoric of green. Bring it to class next time.
Wrap up today's class and point students forward to Wednesday's class.
Connection to Next Class
Today you've taken care of a lot of "business" and you've prepared students for what they can expect next time. On Wednesday, you'll introduce the course theme: “The Rhetoric of Green.” You will also introduce students to some fundamental course concepts.
You might take a moment to reflect on today's class, to assess what went well and what could have gone better (and go easy on yourself—you're probably way more aware of what you did or didn't say/do than your students are!), and to make notes about anything you need to remember for next time. Be sure to check email now and then before Wednesday so that you can help students out with questions, Writing Studio issues, etc.