First day of class! This lesson is designed around introducing students to each other and the material.
Goals: to start building a classroom community and introduce our first unit on neuroscience!
Check out the guide and resources below:
- I started off the class by pretending that I had just woke up and had amnesia and the students had to help me remember who I was. It was really fun and they leaned into the playfulness of it, but you should feel empowered to begin the class however you feel would best engage your students.
- I would strongly suggest that if this is a new class, you create a list of values (not rules or norms) with your students. I’ve found that my most successful classes give students total control over what is written on this document – I would start with a totally blank document and just write what people say as they say it. I wouldn’t even make suggestions about things like “respect” and “treating classmates as people” unless they seem like they need a hint. I’ve also found in my experience that class environments are happiest and healthiest when we regularly return to these co-created values, adding them and changing them as we go. Because of this, I would recommend visiting them at the beginning of each week.
- Finally, I would suggest swapping out the memory exercise (“What reminds you of the past?”) for another day. Instead, bring in a name game or a community-building activity. Through making this mistake last time, I discovered that for the first week especially, it’s really important to focus on developing trust and relationships within the classroom. Even if it means that you have to move a bit slower through the material, it will make the classroom a kinder, friendlier place. As an added bonus, it will really help the quality of student engagement, learning, and participation in the class!
Please comment below with any ideas and comments to help other educators!