For a British literature class, the goal could be to perform a Shakespearean monologue.
Creating a simple and concise goal gives you, your students, and your administrators a clear “finish line” for the class.
4. Note and Describe Who You Are
As the class’s teacher, your name, credentials, and contact information are required on a syllabus.
Your name is the simplest part.
Your credentials could include anything from your degrees (Bachelor’s, Master’s, etc.) to your job title. Noting your credentials acts as a record for why you’re the best person to teach this course at your school.
As for your contact information, you can always use an email address to funnel communications with parents into an appropriate and documented format.
Some teachers also choose to include their room number, office location, and similar information so that students can find them during non-class hours.
5. Note All the Materials You Need
The “materials” section of your syllabus is the first time you might feel the tedium of completing such a detailed account of your class.
This area of your syllabus requires you to lay out all of the different resources you’ll use to help students succeed throughout the course.
Thanks to the advent of technology in the classroom, today’s syllabi can include an enormous range of materials, including:
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it illustrates the point that you have a lot more options when it comes tohowto teach your students than educators 10 years ago.
Blended classroomswill naturally use more resources than traditional classrooms. As a result, this section of your syllabus could take anywhere from several minutes to several hours.
It all depends on your teaching style!
6. Create a Class Calendar
Your class calendar will be the go-to resource that your students and administrators reference when discussing your class.
Your calendar will list essential information, including:
Other dates of interest
It’s smart to reference your school and personal calendars when you’re creating your class calendar. This lets you identify holidays, in-service days, and days you’ll have to take off for personal plans.
On top of that, it’s important to look at calendars for religious holidays that your school district may not observe. This matters because your students and their families may still observe these holidays, meaning they probably won’t be in school during that time.
This is also the time to assign dates for major assessments and off-campus field trips that could affect your regular class schedule.
When you account for all of these variables, you can create a robust syllabus calendar that keeps you on track, your students informed, and your administrators satisfied!
7. Note Any Policies That Differ from School Policies
Do you have a unique attendance policy apart from your school? Do your make-up work opportunities differ from most of the other classes in your department?
Your syllabus is the perfect place to note that information!
Most of the time, the classes that have to worry about these policies have a large hands-on portion to their syllabus that simply can’t be done by a student on his or her own.
These hands-on portions require students to be physically present in your classroom, which means you simply can’t teach the same skills or information through readings, worksheets, or digital means.
Your syllabus could account for lessons on anything fromCPR / BLSto home economics and beyond.
When those hands-on activities happen, your attendance policy can change to suit the shift in classwork.
There’s typically no problem with making these policy changes yourself — you just have to document them so you and your students are on the same page!
8. Note Grading Systems, Scales, and Curves
Grading systems, scales, and curves are more important to note in post-secondary syllabi, but they may also apply to a middle school or high school class.
Notinghowyou grade students shows them what to expect throughout the marking period.
Objective grading means you use the standard system of assigning letter grades — 90%-100% is an A, 80%-90% is a B, etc.
When you change a grading scale, you change which letter grade corresponds to which percentage range.
When you change a grading curve, you change the class’s perspective of an A and ultimately allow students to earn more than a 100% in your class.
Some teachers may use grading curves because the material they teach is exceptionally hard to grasp, but there aren’t many other alternatives to teaching the material.
As a result, students could wind up earning what would be considered “failing grades” in a typical class. But with a grading curve, those failing grades could be considered passing grades, based on the difficulty of the material.
These systems may also include extra credit opportunities, makeup work grading, and more!
So in the rare event that you use a different grading scale from the traditional American system, ensure you note it in your syllabus for absolute clarity!
9. Create Statements on Academic Integrity and Etiquette
This may sound like it’s redundant, but it’s important to clarify with your students thatcheating and dishonesty are 100% unacceptable in your classroom!
This goes hand-in-hand with rules about etiquette, which may include respecting you, respecting one another, and respecting your classroom.
It’s important to issue these statements to your students because they reinforce what students already know — it’s more important to be honest than to get a good grade.
10. Review Your Syllabus
You just spent alotof time creating your syllabus. Now, it’s time to make sure you have all of your bases covered!
You can do this in one of two ways:
Some teachers self-review because they’re the authority on the subject that they teach. That’s why it makes sense that the most informed individual would review a syllabus for that area.
Other teachers opt for peer review. This comes in handy whenever a teacher simply can’t look at a syllabus anymore because they’ve been working on it for so long.
So take a break! Ask a colleague to look over your syllabus.
They may give you the best ideas that you’d otherwise never consider.
Now, with all of those steps wrapped up, you have a syllabus!
But there are still a handful of crucial questions to ask.
After all, the pace of education, technology, and information is increasing every day. It’s almost blinding to try and keep up with all of the changes.
These changes mean you’ll have to make lesson plans that are up-to-date, easy for students to understand, and reusable year after year.
That’s a challenge all on its own. It almost sounds impossible!
Fortunately, it’s easier than ever!
How Do You Create a Lesson Plan?
If you’re looking to fill out your syllabus with the best possible lesson plans, you’re in luck!
You can learn how to create a lesson plan from scratch by reading one page.
Are you ready to take your syllabus to the next level?