As I was preparing for the first day of the spring semester, I came across a blog post from Faculty Focus. The author, Dr. Maryellen Weimer, wrote about several activities, two of which I wanted to try during my first week, but I will only focus on one for this blog post.
On the first day of class, I had the students participate in an activity called “First Day Graffiti.” The purpose of this activity is to have all of the students write responses to prompts about their learning and classroom experiences. I wanted to use the questions from the blog post, so I had the students respond to the following prompts:
“I learn best in classes where the teacher _______”
“Students in courses help me learn when they ______”
“I am most likely to participate in classes when ______”
“Here’s something that makes it hard to learn in a course: _____”
“Here’s something that makes it easy to learn in a course: _____”
I placed these prompts around the room on giant pieces of paper and had the students grab a marker. They then “graffiti-ed” their responses on the paper. I also decided to add my own “graffiti” to the boards which allowed me to read what the students were writing. I found some very common themes that really helped jumped started our classroom community. All of the students wanted an environment where they felt heard and supported. I wasn’t anticipating that they would all feel the same way, but it was a great way for everyone to write down how they were feeling and to see the commonalities. We also discussed how we could commit to these and support one another throughout the semester. This activity helped me understand where the students were in terms of their learning environment and what they wanted to get out of this class. I look forward to building more of a community with these students.
Weimer, M. (2016, January 9). First day of class activities that create a climate for learning. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor- blog/first-day-of-class-activities-that-create-a-climate-for-learning/