Class Goal: Introduce students to you, to one another, and the everyday expectations of the course (in terms of homework and other assignments, class discussions) as well as the long-term expectations for the semester (the skills they'll develop and apply).
Connection to Course Goals: Establishes communication with each other necessary for peer revision workshops and class discussions. Establishes goals and expectations of course through a brief introduction of the syllabus and policy statement. Also begins to establish that everyone brings certain expectations to any reading -- we read from positions established by our background, education, etc.
- Introductions-- Make sure everyone is in the right course and section. Putting the course number, name, and section number on the board helps weed out students who have wandered into the wrong room. Expect students to drift in late on the first day --many are getting used to a new campus and still can't find their way around yet. (2 min)
- Introduce yourself and take roll -- Call names and record attendance on your roll sheet. Also write on roll sheet nicknames and even phonetic pronunciations of difficult names. While you'll probably use some other attendance-taking measure in the future (such as collecting homework), taking the time to call roll in the first few days will help you learn students' names. Because students may have added or dropped since the time your roll sheet was generated, you will most likely have students who have registered for your class whose names do not appear on the roll. Ask them to stay after class and give you their names and ID numbers. Others will THINK they are enrolled in your section, but that must be confirmed through the registrar (we have a laptop computer in the main office -- Eddy 359 -- to give you current rosters for your sections). (10 min.)
- Introduction of students to each other -- You can use the "Get-to-know-me Grid" in the Appendix or use some other method. The gird is admittedly cheesy, but they have fun talking to each other and moving around (which they'll have to do everyday in your class) and gives you a way to see your students as individuals with likes and dislikes you can refer to in examples throughout the semester.
If you're using the grid, have them fill in their answers to each question in the blocks. When everyone is done, they then must find someone with the same answer to a block and have them initial it, then move on to the next block and look for someone else. See who collects the most initials. You can participate too, if you want. (10-15 min.)
- Writing to Learn (WTL) -- Have students take out a piece of paper and write for 10 minutes or so about what they expect to put into the course and also what they would like to get out of it. You can put this prompt on the board or on an overhead (hereafter abbreviated as "OH"). (10 min.)
- Collect their writing and explain that they can expect to do some in-class writing like that to help them collect their thoughts to jump start a discussion, or to remember a text they read for homework that is about to be discussed. Let them know that you'll discuss their answers today if there is time, but will address them definitely tomorrow). Also, you may want to let them know that you won't always collect their WTLs on a daily basis but will at some point (with their portfolios) -- se the note in the Introduction to Unit One. (5 min.)
Transition: now you're going to talk about the particulars about what they can expect, which will address (hopefully) some of the issues they brought up in their writing.
- Syllabus -- Briefly discuss how to read the assignments due (especially if you are using a grid), the types of assignments in more general terms -- save specifics for later. (5-10 min.)
Note: You will have made your own syllabus based on these lesson plans. They don't need the whole packet and you will want to make some changes.
- Policy statement -- Show the books used (many will have bought older editions that won't have the same readings in them). You can present the course policy statement yourself, choosing to emphasize the policies that you will consider the most important (attendance, course topic, preparation for class, grading, etc.). One good strategy is to have a copy of your policy statement for the OH that has highlighted or annotated the essential ideas you want to convey. If not on the OH, just having your own highlighted copy can help quell those first-day jitters and prevent you from forgetting anything really critical you want to convey. OR You can delegate some of the responsibility by having students read (5 min.)
- Discussion of critical thinking and studying culture by referring to how people mentioned these as components of what they want out of the course in yesterday's WTL. If they didn't mention this, try to talk about why by asking about their experiences in other writing classes or how the reading in RA might open up new expectations for the course and for a college education.
- Why should we study our culture in a writing class? Why not just "write"?
- Need a context and purpose for writing (something to write about!)
- Cultural messages, as we'll discuss, are transferred through a variety of texts. This class will broaden people's definition of "texts" to include television and other media. We'll be "reading" culture just like a text, because it serves as another form of communicating ideas and beliefs.
- Literate and educated members of society should be able to apply the tools of critical analysis to the world around them. This allows us to understand how things work and to make better informed decisions.
[define "critical" and "analysis" for them. First, ask what they think "criticism" is. You'll probably get an answer about talking about why a movie stinks or something along those lines. Give them more useful and accurate definitions on the board or an OH -- the dictionary is a good source!]
- Education moves us beyond "knee-jerk" reactions to issues. We all need to think about our choices/values and make these decisions as informed decisions, not just operating on received wisdom.
- Does anyone think that cultural studies do not belong in a comp class? (probably no one will argue at this point, but ask!)
Assignment for Day 2: Read in PHG "Writing Myths and Rituals": in RA Introduction, pp 1-15., and the poem by Hernandez-Avila, pp. 216-18. Write a brief response to the poem (Did you like it? What do you think it's about?)
If you have extra time: Discuss their responses to the WTL. Generate a list on the board to show commonalities and differences between answers and how those expectations will (or will not) be met in this course.