I'm not sure if it's 13 years of teaching, general crankiness, or what but I'm finding the expectations of my students to be, shall we say, off. In an effort to ward off potential problems, I try to explain my expectations at the beginning of the semester. Like most instructors, I go through the syllabus and explain the general structure of my course. And, that's boring. And not effective. So, I'm considering the following activity on day 1 of the semester along with a syllabus scavenger hunt as described below.
Syllabus scavenger hunt
Heather Foes, Rock Valley College
1. On the first day, have students form groups of 2 or 3 students.
2. Instruct students to write down 5 things their group wants to know about the course.
3. Distribute the syllabus.
4. Students should scavenge the syllabus for the answers to their questions, discussing their findings with their group.
5. Reconvene as a class.
6. Ask each a group for a question they had and the answer they found.
21st Century Expectations, aka, Welcome to College
Post the following the blunt truisms about college.
1. The world does not revolve around you.
2. Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.
3. If you're working xx hours a week and plan to use that as an excuse, go to work instead of college.
4. There is no safety net in this class, in college, or life.
5. Your printer will run out of ink the morning your paper is due so consider printing it the day before.
6. We do carry on class even without your presence so think twice about asking, "did you do anything while I was gone?"
7. The responsibility for finding out course, program, and degree requirements falls on you. The sooner you learn that, the quicker you'll get out of here with a degree.
8. College is about delayed gratification. If you're looking for instant satisfaction, you're in the wrong place.
9. There are much less expensive and easier places to text than my class. Find one.
10. Your mother lied; you're not special.
Have a whole class discussion on their reactions to these. Some students will undoubtedly not believe them or be offended. That's ok; no one ever said the truth was a kind pill to swallow.
Assignment: write a paragraph of what they think of these statements and how they can use these facts of college to have a successful semester.
If you have suggestions or comments, please share. I'm game for any way to improve these ideas.
Math Lit Toolbox
- 2017 Webinar Math Lit 5 Years Later
- Math Lit Forum
- MLCS Book: Math Lit
- 2014 Math Literacy webinar (Youtube)
- Math Literacy Training
- 2013 MLCS Presentation: What is Math Literacy? (Youtube webinar)
- MLCS syllabi (objectives and outcomes)
- 4 Credit Hour Math Literacy Course Syllabi
- A Typical Day: Math Lit classroom videos
- Math Lit instructor support
- Math Lit FAQ's
- Implementing Math Lit Presentation (Youtube webinar, PPTs, & handouts)
- Implementation blog series