Week 1 Summer Teaching Tips

What are the most important things to do on the first days of class?

  • Engage your students starting on day one.  This will help to create community, show students the types of interactions and activities that will take place in your class, and help students practice learning strategies.
  • Have students exchange contact information with at least one other student.
  • Use interactive strategies to address the syllabus – see activities listed below.
  • Have students write about expectations, barriers, strategies for overcoming barriers, and the like.  Then, collect, read, and comment on these.
  • Pick one strategy in each category of 26 Strategies for Success in Your Classroom

Many more ideas for the first weeks of class are in the following resources:

101 Things You Can Do the First Three Weeks of Class



First Day of Class What Can Should We Do

What are creative ways to address the syllabus during the first day of class?  The syllabus is an important document that addresses essentials of the class. Our advice is to engage students in classroom activities to learn about your course policies.  Examples of activities include:

  • syllabus scavenger hunt (for example, a worksheet with scenarios to help students find important policies)
  • syllabus quiz (consider also using one around the time of your first major assignment or test to help re-enforce policies related to these and other issues that have come up)
  • jigsaw discussion (for example, assign groups of students to different pages of the syllabus then have them share what they learned)
  • activity to have students create a list of what they want to know about the syllabus or your course (then have students find the answers)
  • think-pair-share where students ask each other “what questions do you have about the syllabus?” (students are often more likely to ask a peer questions than asking the instructor in front of the whole class; phrasing the question this way can communicate that you expect them to have questions)

Where do I submit my syllabus? academicaffairs@minneapolis.edu   For more information, see the email from Academic Affairs.

What are upcoming faculty-development opportunities?  Check the Events page of the CTL website. CTL will also be running a Summer Teaching Circle on the topic: Syllabus (re)Design. More details about this opportunity forthcoming.

What should I read over the summer? CTL invites you to read any of the following books over the summer to discuss during Fall Opening Days (Aug19-21, 2015):

Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves A Second Chance at Education by Mike Rose

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji

Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses by L. Dee Fink

Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown

Pedagogy of the Oppressed* by Paul Freire

*facilitated discussions of Pedagogy of the Oppressed will be scheduled on an ongoing basis during Fall 2015 semester.

CTL made copies of these books available for checkout through the Resource Library in T2000. You are invited to stop by to see if there are any copies available before purchasing yourself, or check your local library.

How can I make my course textbook (or other required resources) more accessible to my students? Put it on Reserve in the MCTC Library. For more information about how to do that, email circdesk@minneapolis.edu

How can I learn more about using D2L in my classes?  Contact drl@minneapolis.edu

Where can I get help with teaching or other parts of my teaching role?  Email ctl@minneapolis.edu

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