Let’s discuss your class syllabus. Did your eyes just glaze over? That’s what happened when I went over my class syllabus with my students the first year I taught. Your class syllabus does not have to be boring! Here are some ways to keep your students informed and interested (and an editable freebie to get you started.)
1. Keep YOUR SYLLABUS Simple
Do not over-inform. Ask yourself, “What does a student (or parent) HAVE to know about your class to be successful?” Keep to the basics – your contact information, grading and late work policy, homework expectations, supply list, tutoring schedule, and class website. As a math teacher, I even printed a large copy of my tutoring schedule and how to ask for help on the back. It was perfect for a parent to put on the fridge.
I would recommend that you do not include behavioral consequences but rely on the school policies or code of conduct.
Additionally, keep it pleasing to the eye. Do you enjoy reading paragraphs of information in 12 point Times New Roman font? Use headers, text boxes, and images so that specific information is easy to find.
2. Check with Administration and Grade Level Team MEMBERs
Remember that your policies need to be in line with your school’s policies. If your school has a specific late work policy, stick to that. Not sure? Find out. If you are a part of a grade level team, agreeing to the same policies can make it easier for students and parents (and teachers – ha!) to remember.
3. Keep Students Accountable for Knowing the Information
In high school, my Algebra 2 teacher had us take a quiz about her syllabus that counted for a grade on the second day of school. While that might work for some students, playing Jeopardy or any simple point game would be a fun way to start the school year. I divide the room in half for teams, pass out small whiteboards, and ask questions. Students have to use their syllabus to find the answers to the questions. Then, their homework on the first day is to get their syllabus signed by a parent.
Do you write a syllabus for your class? Whether you do and need it to be revamped or would like to have one for this year, you can snag a free, editable syllabus by clicking above. It’s easy to type in the content, and you just need Microsoft PowerPoint.