January 7, 2016 at 3:37 pm #2136Kevin KellyKeymaster
How do you get ready for the beginning of a term? What are some of your strategies and best practices for ensuring you’re ready to start each term on the right foot?
March 15, 2016 at 2:12 pm #2363Nathasha BrooksParticipant
I get ready for a new term by reviewing the material required for the class, the syllabus, and the students’ names. I write up at least 4 or more weeks of plans and assignments. as well as make sure that my roll book is in order. With all those things done, I am ready to greet my students and begin teaching them. The main thing is to be prepared so as to spend the most instructional time with them, not on having to prepare materials on their time.
March 18, 2016 at 12:33 pm #2376NJ ProfessorParticipant
Two ways I prepare for the beginning of the semester (that I think are important but can be overlooked) are assessing my past year’s course plan and planning an engaging first day activity.
• Assessing my past year’s course plan: Because my institution grants me substantial freedom in the content I teach, I spend a great deal of time reviewing my coursework. When planning for each class session, I print out a very informal lesson plan, and after each class I spend a few minutes documenting what went well and what I would do differently next time. Before the semester, I use these reflections to adjust my syllabus and improve my instruction.
• Planning an engaging first day activity: One of my main priorities is to plan an activity that gets students interested in the course content and builds a sense of community among students. I teach a course devoted to written communication and rhetoric, and last semester I created a group trivia game that provided students with statements from different mediums (Facebook, professional emails, Twitter, blogs, etc.) and asked them to identify the medium the statements were retrieved from. This led us into a discussion of the conventions of each medium, our expectations and participation as audience members, and the importance of effective communication.
I believe the first day of class truly sets the tone for the whole semester, so good preparation is essential.
March 26, 2016 at 6:02 pm #2416Nathasha BrooksParticipant
Hi NJ Professor,
These are excellent ways to prepare for the beginning of a new term. That’s a great idea to assess what went well and what didn’t and adjust the syllabus accordingly. Teaching is an iterative process and requires revisions as needed.
I especially like how you incorporated social media into your first day activity. That probably went over well with your students because they are so adept at using it. They are familiar with it and can relate to it. It is a great idea to start with what they know and build up from that.
I found that I was unable to do any type of first day activity with my students last semester because we started three weeks late and were behind the other students. I had to cram an entire class into a shortened schedule. Therefore, I had to start the lessons with them right way as it was a skills class.
Thanks for sharing and have a great semester.
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