Sunday, September 13, 2009

Starting Class

I know everyone has their own way to start class but here is the method that I usually use and that seems to work pretty well at capturing and getting attention.

1. I walk into the class, adjust the temperature, desks and podium to my liking. I'll turn on the computer and projector if using it for that class. A few random hellos as students walk in.

2. I take my stuff out of my bag and set out all the materials I'll need for that class. Nothing is worse than having attention and then losing it due to poor preparation and having to search in your bag for things.

3. I write up the days agenda on the board. I'll also write the first 1 or 2 things that we'll be doing, so I don't waste time doing this later. By this time, there is usually about 1 or 2 minutes until class starts, so I'll walk around doing attendance.

4. I'll start with a good afternoon/morning and then some general chit-chat for a couple minutes. I'll avoid this with the dead classes because the dead silence is never a good start to a class, but it's actually quite fun with the better ones.

5. Then a game of some sort. Even if it's secretly studying or introducing the topic for that period, call it a game and make it into some sort of competition with a winner and have a prize. For example, instead of just reading the little descriptions in the book of 4 people's plans for after graduation, I copied them out and we'll play running dictation to start the class off with.

That's my routine. What's yours? One final tip that really works for me is to tell the students to talk to me only after class. When I'm getting all set up, I don't like to be interrupted with small issues that can be dealt with after class.

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