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Unit One, Day 1 - Tuesday

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). Begin to introduce them to topic of cultural analysis.

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. Introduces them to context and the rhetorical situation.


  1. 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)
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.)
  4. 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) -- see the note in the Introduction to Unit One. (5 min.)
  5. 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.

  6. 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.)
  7. 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.

  8. 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.)
  9. Transition: You're going to begin examining the larger culture (the United States in terms of working, the media, and education) by examining the culture of this classroom in this next activity.

  10. Interview activity. Have students pair up and ask each other questions about one another and record their answers so they can report back. (10 min.)
  11. Report results of interviews by having students introduce each other. As they do so, put their questions on the board. Generate a list of categories (20 min.)

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.

Assignment for Day 2: Read 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?). Then read in PHG "Purpose and Audience", pp. 20-6 and "Writing Process", pp. 124-33. Write about how you define "Success" and the "American dream", since we'll be reading about these topics throughout this unit. Let's start with their ideas!