Day 1 - Monday, August 25th

Tuesday, August 24:  Daily Class Outline

Lesson Objectives

To introduce the course, yourself, your policies, the course texts, and your students to one another. Begin to address writing as a "situated," rhetorical activity (a series of choices made for a specific audience and purpose within a given context). Introduce Portfolio 1 and hand out assignment sheet. 

Connection to Course Goals

The interview activity establishes communication necessary for peer reviews and classroom discussions. This activity, along with the introduction to course goals, also introduces the idea of how contexts influence our actions.  Then the Writing Situation Model* provides students with a concrete visual they can use to apply the concepts they learn today to other situations in the future.

*The rhetorical model for writing will be used throughout the course to demonstrate how writers use contexts to inform their writing. Exposure to the Writing Situation Model establishes initial familiarity with a concept that will be returned to and developed throughout the course, and this model should be connected to the course goal of students becoming increasingly able to write for varied purposes, whether those are academic, cultural or civic contexts.

A Possible Sequence of Activities for Today

1. Take attendance and introduce yourself and the course.

Activity Ideas:  Introducing Yourself and the Course

2. Obtain a small writing sample as well as a sense of their expectations for the course.

Activity Ideas:  Write to Learn

3. Review your policy and everyday expectations (in terms of homework and other assignments, class discussions). Hand out your policy statement and provide a timeline for major due dates or at least the first portfolio.

Activity Ideas:  Discussing Your Policy Statement

4. Have students learn each other's names and lay the foundation for the concept of "context" during an interview activity.

Activity Ideas:  Interview Activity

5. Begin discussing the role of context in influencing rhetorical choices.

Activity Ideas:  Interview Activity

6. Introduce the Writing Situation Model. Activity Ideas:  Writing Situation Model
7.  Introduce Portfolio 1. Activity Ideas:  Introducing Portfolio 1
8. Establish a conclusion for the class session. 

Activity Ideas:  Concluding

9. Give a first reading and writing assignment. It is very important that you leave 5 minutes at the end of class to conclude and assign homework.  This avoids students missing the assignment and you having to talk over students while they are packing up.

Activity Ideas:  Assigning Homework

Assignment for Next Class Session

Assign that students read pages 152-157 in The Prentice Hall Guide (PHG) on critical reading and also that they read "Understanding Writing Situations: Writing as a Social Act" (

Assign that students log in to the Writing Studio Class Page (, locate the class forum, and post a 250-500 word message that addresses the following prompts:

  • Part 1- Describe yourself as a writer. What kinds of writing do you most enjoy and why? What kinds of writing do you think are most important and why?
  • Part 2- What influences you as a writer? What in your background or environment might shape your choices about content (what you like to write about) and style or approach (how you write)? When you have finished posting your message, print a hard copy and bring it to class. Note to students: You might find it useful to compose your message in a word processor and then paste the final version of the message into the discussion forum’s compose message box.
  • Read the postings above and below* yours.
    * If you are the first person posted, read the post below yours and the last person's posting, and if you are the last person posted, read the post above yours and the first person's posting.

Finally, have students read Lizabeth Cohen's article, "Trying to Buy Our Way Out of Trouble" from your NYT Resource Packet.  (You should print out and bring this and all future articles to class with you for discussion.)  Instruct students to use the critical reading skills they read about on pages 152-157 in the PHG as they read Cohen's article.


Additional Teaching Resources

Check out Barbara Gross Davis' The First Day of Class for tips on overcoming the first day of class challenges.

Go to Ten Unspoken Questions from New College Students During the First Few Days of Class for a bit of insight into what your students may be feeling the first few days of class.

You can also get more help with the first week of classes by reading the following:  101 Things You Can Do the Frist Three Weeks of Class and Getting Started.