The first week or so in a high school is tricky. You want to get started, but you know some students will be transferred in and out of your class for a few days. You want to get to know the students and their personalities, but you also want to establish that your class is about work, which is hard to do if you’re just playing games and doing icebreakers for days. Plus, if you teach students who aren’t really excited about school, the first few days are critical to hook them.
That’s where this mini-unit comes in. Depending on the length of your class periods and the number of students, this can take between 4-5 days, helping you bridge the gap between the start of school and the settling of your class rosters. It was designed for high school students in a “second chance” transfer school who were pretty disillusioned with school, but it can be used with any students.
The goals of the unit are simple: to show your students that you will listen and respect their ideas; to assess the personalities at play in your classes; to establish parameters and expectations for future group work and projects; and to create class codes of conduct. You will end with two lists of student-generated rules: one list for you and one list for them.