Every year I loose my voice going over the rules and procedures for my classroom. Students have heard pretty much the same thing all day and are bored by the time they rotate to their later class periods. Policies and procedures are no doubt necessary, but I thought to myself, "There must be a more engaging way to conduct the first day of school--in particular, class expectations and procedures." So, using the KWL activity model, I came up with an activity that will not only save your voice, but allow students to be active when learning about your own class policies and actually gets them to read the entire course syllabus!!
Students will use their prior knowledge about policies to:
1. Write down rules that are common to every classroom. Ex: Be on time.
2. Ask Questions that could be unique based off teacher. Ex: Is there a seating chart?
3. Write down anything else they learned by Reading the Syllabus in order to answer their own questions, as well as check off how many of their rules matched the ones in the syllabus.
Estimated Time for students to complete:
"What you know" Section-averages about 7-10 minutes
"Want to know" Section-averages about 5-8 minutes
"What you learned" Section- 15-20 minutes
Discussion- 10-15 minutes
Note: I can be done in pairs but or individually. Its all up to you!
Each students is provide with a handout and together with the students, I go over each part of the directions (Suggestion: Read directions for first part, then have students complete 1st part, etc...). Students are told to do one section at a time and not to move on until told to. I usually use a timer so students know how much time they have left. Once all students are done with the first section, the class moves on. Once they are done with the second section, students are provided with a syllabus. I direct students to do the following:
a. Write down ANYTHING you have learned in this section.
b. Check off how many of your rules match my rules (I have a prize for who ever has the most matches).
c. If any of your questions you had were answered by reading the syllabus make sure to write down your answer in this section and cross out the question.
The last 5-10 minutes of class we review the basic rules of the class, review class materials, and pick up the handouts. I review the handouts that night and quickly pull out the most common 10-15 questions left unanswered by students. I create a power point Q & A on these questions and present it to the class for the first part of the next class day. This part is optional but it addresses all the common questions they have which I feel is important. You can also pass back their handout to write the answers down in the last section.
Objective: Students will examine their own previous classroom experiences and determine what are the universal rules of a classroom. Students will also develop questions about the class that will then be investigated via reading the class syllabus.
Language Objective: Students will read and write down rules and questions regarding class policies and engage in a class discussion about how the class will be conducted.