Introductory Lesson for All Courses

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At the end of the school year it is often the best time to reflect, but I prefer planning for the upcoming school year. This post shares with you my secret for getting to know students during the first week of school. Once you’ve handed out appropriate first day information where do you go from there? You seek answers of your students, that is where.

Please bear in mind this introductory lesson is best taught within a block schedule course due to the time parameters involved with the video associated with the lesson, but can be easily modified to fit your specific classroom. Students will need to have access to presentation software such as MS PowerPoint either at home or in the classroom. Again the lesson could be modified for students to just speak in front of the class, but works better with the usage of PowerPoint or other presentation programs.

First, ask that students consider what they want to accomplish within the parameters of the school year. Then, ask students to consider what they want to accomplish over the course of their lifetimes. Be sure to note anything can be accomplished through hard work.

Present students with Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture”

Ideally it is best to present the entire “lecture” in the classroom so you can pause & point out specific quotes that apply to life & in case students have any questions.

Have students read this article from Microsoft on creating and delivering an effective presentation. Be sure to have read the article ahead of time, so that you can also present your specific suggestions in addition to the article.

Then, have students create a presentation aimed at provided information similar to the “Last Lecture.” Have students create a presentation answering the following key questions:

Who am I? What grade am I in?
Why did I sign up for this course?
What do I hope to get out of this course?
What future aspirations/dreams do I have?
How do I intend to get there?
What have you accomplished already that will help you in achieving your goals?
Who are the important people who help you in achieving things?

It is essential to be have a created presentation about yourself similar to this format ready to present to students, so that they understand what you are looking for.

Do not have a grade for this exercise, as it should simply be used to learn about your students & understand their drives for the upcoming school year & in life. If you do decide to grade the students on their presentations it is best to give them 100% scores as each presentation will likely be different from the last.

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