Reflection: Real World Applications Unpacking A College Freshman English Syllabus - Section 1: Unpacking a College Syllabus


The idea for this lesson came about after a conversation I had with an AP student the night before.  We were talking about the class and the fact that so many students were struggling with the requirements, but weren't coming to talk to me.  Students who I thought were doing well were, outside of class, complaining about the amount of reading expected and the amount of writing we were doing. 

I asked her what might help to make the connection between what I was requiring in class and what colleges would expect. "Can I bring in a college professor, or a college student to speak to you?" I asked.  

"Something simpler than that," she said. "Like looking at a college syllabus. Something that we can look at and read to really get the full picture of what is required."

Without hesitating I e-mailed a colleague of mine who teaches English at The University of Great Falls.  Within an hour he sent me his freshman English syllabus. 

The next day when I showed my AP class, I asked for a show of hands of students who had seen a college syllabus.  No one had.  I realized that there was a big gap between what I was telling students and what their own experience was.  
I ask them all the time to provide evidence for their thinking or opinions, but I had not given them any evidence as to why they needed to fullfill my course requirements.

The lesson in AP went so well that I took a little time in 10th grade and Pre-AP to show them the syllabus and to discuss strategies to start planning for college.

In senior English, we spent the entire class period discussing college and strategies to be successful the first year. 

The result was great feedback from the students about the way they felt about the writing I was having them do, and their expectations of what college was going to be like. 

The timing of this lesson wasn't planned, but ended up, being just about perfect.  We're a week away from Christmas break, the time when many students at Simms are working on scholarships and applying for schools.  We also have another semester to go before graduation, so students aren't completely in the throes of senioritis.

The students came away from the lesson with a better understanding of what they need to do to prepare for college and how I am going to get them there. 



  Understanding Our Goals
  Real World Applications: Understanding Our Goals
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Unpacking A College Freshman English Syllabus

Unit 1: Metaphysical Poets
Lesson 2 of 7

Objective: SWBAT identify goals, objectives, and course requirements in a college syllabus

Big Idea: What is expected in English classrooms that is also expected in college? How is high school preparing students for higher education?

  Print Lesson
English / Language Arts, College Prep, poetry (Analysis), poetry (European Lit), Writing, College Syllabus, Types of Writing, Writing Purposes
  45 minutes
college campus
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