GATA Winter Academy: "The First Day"


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By Greg Paziuk and Jessie Beatty. A guide to the ins and outs of the first day in the classroom. Delivered at GATA Winter Academy, University of Windsor, January 2013

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GATA Winter Academy: "The First Day"

  1. 1. GATAcademy 2012Greg Paziuk and Jessie Beatty
  2. 2.  Think about how you want your students to see you Sets the tone for the semester – are you serious? Are you casual? How much information about you do you want them to have? How do you want to be addressed? Tie your dress into your image
  3. 3. Which picture projects amore professional image?
  4. 4.  Any activity or game that can be used to introduce students to each other and the group as a whole They allow students to make connections and build a support system Lighten the mood of the classroom Let you get to know the students (and learn their names!) Don‟t just have to be used in the first day – useful to do every so often throughout semester
  5. 5.  Provide your students with individual lists of five characteristics or personality traits Each student must introduce themselves to their neighbhours and record at least one name next to each characteristic/trait Students cannot use the same person for more than one characteristic/trait
  6. 6.  Think about them before the first class! Be consistent Try to give students a realistic sense of the workload Be clear about your policies: participation/communication/attendance/et c.
  7. 7.  Contact information Office hours and location Syllabus • Due dates • Grading scheme • Late policy • Plagiarism How you present this info can determine how well your students retain it (this goes for assignments as well)
  8. 8.  Present your syllabus as a scavenger hunt that challenges students and emphasizes the important points. For example:1. Break into groups2. Read through the syllabus3. Locate the following information:  The instructor‟s office hours  The grade weight for the Final Portfolio  The late policy  The title of the primary text book  Finish this sentence: “To this end, each of you will be asked to write in multiple genres…”4. All answers are final. The group which can locate each item correctly wins a small prize
  9. 9. FLAT QUESTIONS ENGAGING QUESTIONS Anything with a yes or no  Possibility of differing answer answers Planted answers  The Three Second Rule Silences students  Leads to discussion Unnecessary repetition  Reinforces concepts
  10. 10. NERVOUS CONFIDENT Fidgeting  Expressive gestures Pacing/rocking  Moving with purpose Speaking too quickly  Speaking at a measured Stutters (um, uh, etc.) pace Unconscious repetition  Deliberate reiteration/re- and/or circling back emphasis of important Avoiding eye contact/fixating points (repeating for a Reading straight from notes purpose)  Establish eye contact
  11. 11.  Preparation makes a difference • Make a list of points you want to cover • Be familiar with the syllabus • Know your expectations Don„t be afraid to take a breath Make eye contact Be true to your personality – be genuine
  12. 12. (we love „em!)