Class Creation 101

So you've agreed to teach a class.  But how do you get started?  Well, it depends on the type of class you're teaching.

Class Type

GVHH classes are broken into four types: Academic Graded, Academic Pass/Fail, Elective Graded and Elective Pass/Fail.  Academic classes are those classes that are typically required in a traditional public school setting while electives are usually enrichment or optional classes.  You'll need to know which type of class you're teaching.  Some of our classes are pre-designated, but if you've requested to create a class that we weren't recruiting a teacher for, you'll need to speak to Genevieve to designate which type of class you will teach.

Teaching a Graded Class vs. a Pass/Fail Class

Graded classes must include assignments that students complete and turn in for their grades.  Academic classes should also include tests and quizzes to assess the students' comprehension of the subject taught.   

 

Pass/Fail classes are often less structured  and more lenient in their expectations from the students.   Some classes just can't really be graded fairly, like P.E. or art, so it makes sense to eliminate an actual grade for the class and let the kids just have fun.  Pass/Fail classes do not necessarily have to include assignments that are turned in.  However, parents still deserve some feedback as to how their student did in the class.  Since there is such a wide range of pass/fail class scenarios, see Genevieve with any questions you have for your pass/fail class.

Both graded and pass/fail classes provide a Grade Sheet to each student and a Class Grading Sheet to the GVHH Board at the end of the semester.

What will you Teach?

Typically, if you have access to this page, you already know the subject you will be teaching and you have a pretty good idea of what your class will be about.  But taking that concept from idea to written plan takes some thought.  This is a creative process, so let this be the fun part!  Pinterest and Teacher's Pay Teachers can be excellent resources.  Explore how others have taught similar classes and think about what method will best engage the students in an exciting way.  Begin to think about what you want to cover over the 12 weeks of the semester, then break that down further by week.  Next thing you know, you've got a class plan.

What Materials do you need?

Do the students need a textbook?  Workbook? Art supplies?  Will you need to make copies each week?  Will you be using videos?  A white board?  Make a list of everything you and your students will need for the course.  Next, figure out the cost of those materials.   Once you've got a total, you know the class cost.  The total can be divided by the number of students to determine the class fee.

Some expenses will stay the same regardless of the number of students, like the cost of the teacher's manual.  While other expenses, like student workbooks, can be easily listed accurately as a class fee because the amount needed rises and falls with the number of students.

Since class fees are determined prior to registration, you'll need to estimate the number of students expected to attend the class and divide the total class costs by that number.  In some cases, it is necessary to say that class fees will be determined based on the number of enrolled students.  Don't worry, you don't have to figure all of this out on your own.  We will work with you throughout the process.

Creating a Class Syllabus and Class Plan

There are twelve weeks in the semester. You'll want to have a plan in place so that you know what you'll teach each week, which assignments will be given and when, when quizzes and tests will be given, etc.  Creating a Syllabus and Class Plan is essential to a smooth running semester.

If you've agreed to teach a class that was already pre-planned by GVHH, you've got a lot of the work done for you!  But you'll still want to make sure you know what you're doing and when.

Once you've determined the assignments, tests and quizzes, you'll want to make sure you've got a good plan for grading.  Make sure each assignment, quiz and test has a pre-determined "points possible" and a very clear and concise grading method.  This is easy for multiple choice or numbered questions, but if you have an assignment that is more open ended, such as an essay or research report, you'll need to have a grading rubric that clearly lists the points possible, how those points are earned or lost, and a total score.  This grading rubric must be given to the students when the work is assigned so that they have a clear understanding of your expectations.

The Class Syllabus is handed to the students on the first day of class.  It should include an overview of the class, a breakdown of what will be taught, a grading scale and any rules and expectations that you need the class to follow.

So, what's a class plan?  The class plan is for you.  Its your guide to what you will teach each week, what you need for that class, what hand-outs you need, etc..  What the class plan looks like is completely up to you because it has to work for you.  For me, I create a spreadsheet that is 12 rows by 4 columns, 12 rows for the 12 weeks of class.  My 4 columns are: "Week", "Date", "Material Covered", "Materials Needed".  "Week is simply numbered one through twelve.  The date is the actual class date.  Material covered is just the information I plan to cover that day, and the materials needed is basically my checklist that I make sure I have ready the night before.  If I'm teaching an art class, maybe I need to make sure I have 12 canvasses, my pack of primary acrylic colors, paint brushes, etc.  That sort of thing.

Grading Made Easy

If you want assignments that are easy to grade, consider these tips:

  1. Multiple Choice, fill in the blank, matching (draw a line from word to definition) and True/False are all very easy to grade.

  2. Open ended questions are great for gauging a student's understanding, but they are time consuming to grade.  They also put you in a situation of grading based on opinion or judgement rather than fact, which can lead to debate.  Stick with facts!

  3. If you are creating your own tests and quizzes, start by making the answer key!  Save the answer key first, then do the "save as" for the quiz itself and simply remove the answers.

Need Help?

Please feel free to email me (Heidi) at myers_heidi@yahoo.com or Genevieve at gha630@yahoo.com with questions.