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RockTheFirstDay

Welcome back! As the new school year begins (and with it, your new courses), it’s a good idea to consider how you’re going to rock the first day. Here are some tips to start the semester off right:

  1. Although many students view the first week of classes as “Syllabus Week,” consider sending out your syllabus early and asking students to read it over before the first class. If students read it over before class and bring with them any questions they may have, you will have more time on the first day for actual course content. Then, on the first day, spend time reviewing just the main points and move into course content.
  2. Wait until after the first class to go over the syllabus in depth.  You could even ask students read the syllabus outside of class and then take an online quiz on its content.
  3. Arrive to class early to get set up and settled, so that you don’t start off by rushing. This will also give you some time in case any minor issues arise before the lecture stares.
  4. Introduce yourself to the students, and if the class isn’t too large, let the students introduce themselves as well. This will help to create a welcoming environment.  Conducting an ice-breaker on the first day helps students become comfortable with each other and should facilitate discussion.
  5. Set Expectations. Let the students know what you expect of them. How much time will they put into this course? What are the major assignments? etc.
  6. Consider giving the students a Background Questionnaire.  You can gage the student’s prior knowledge with the course content by asking them to rate their familiarity with different terminology or concepts that will be addressed in the course. These can be multiple choice questions with answers ranging from “I’ve never heard of that” to “I consider myself an expert”.
  7. Students should be active on the first day. Plan activities that will give them a sense of what a typical class will be like.

How are you going to rock the first day?

 

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