First Week of English 109

It is strongly encouraged that you create a writing prompt that will allow you to collect in-class writing from your students on the first day. These writing samples will help you assess your students' abilities and can provide a nice segue into a discussion of college writing, what it means to be a writer, etc. Keep in mind, however, that many students are nervous on the first day of class, and other students are far better when composing on a computer than they are when writing a timed, hand-written prompt. As such, it is also strongly encouraged that you give a take-home assignment that students can turn in the next day so that you have a fuller picture of their writing strengths and weaknesses.

The first week of class is also the time when you establish the tone of the classroom and collect contact information and documentation. Recall that 109/110 involves collaboration with other departments on campus and opening lines of communication early on will benefit you and your students.

Day 1

Gather a writing sample or survey from every student. You may also want to assign an overnight writing assignment on the first day in order to get a sense of how your students write when they have more time.  

Week 1

Collect contact information from each student.

Ask each student to provide you with his or her counselor's name. If they don't know who their counselor is, they must go find out. We will also give you a list of the student's counselors, but this doesn't happen until the 2nd  or 3rd week of the quarter. You may need to contact the student's counselor before then.

Make sure that all of your students know where the IC (Instructional Center) is located. In the past, we have taken students to the IC as a group, but this uses up a lot of class time. You can also make it a part of their first day homework.

Ensure that every student knows where the library is — especially if you are going to put materials on reserve or require printing.

Make sure that every student knows how to get to your office. You may want to require them to check in during your office hours or sign a sheet on your office door to make sure that all know where to find you when they need you.

One easy (and fun) way to get your students familiarized with the important buildings and resources is to require a scavenger hunt as homework for the first week.

Sample First Day Survey

Sample Scavenger Hunt