The calendar isn’t lying to us; it really is time to update the syllabus and get into that back-to-school frame of mind. You might be curious how I run the show, so here’s a copy of my course outline along with an episode from my classroom management series discussing the eight words that comprise my classroom rules.

Click here for a copy of the syllabus:

Unfortunately, I don’t have an editable version because Adobe software doesn’t easily convert to other platforms like Google Docs or Microsoft Word, but you can copy the text from the PDF and paste it into your own document, making edits to the content and format to suit your needs. Or if you get really inspired, you could build one of these eye-candy syllabuses (syllabi?) that make my little sheet look downright dowdy (click on the image to take a closer look):

And here’s me from a year ago:

Want to watch more? Click here for the “Are you boring?” video.

Teach on, everyone!

Join the conversation! 12 Comments

  1. Love this and plan to use it myself. I hope those teens take a liking to these rules! hahaha

    The only thing that surprised me was the grading scale. In my days to get a D- you needed a 65 or more! 64 was the dreaded F!

    For the sake of an anecdote, here in Spain kids pass with a 5 or 50, depending on whether the teacher uses a 1-10 or 1-100 scale. On the other hand, for the most part and unfortunately for them, their passing or not depends on their finals. That is, if you fail your final, you fail the term (we have 3 terms here). The good side, is that they have two opportunities per term (semester) to pass and a third at the end of the year.

    I’ll explain this last part. At the end of each term (semester) they have a final. A week or two later, they have a second opportunity to pass (not the same exam).

    At the end of the school year, if they didn’t pass on both of these opportunities, they can try again in September, just before the beginning of the new school year. The disadvantage of this exam, is that it covers the material of the entire year! Sometimes they get lucky and a teacher will let them take an exam that covers only the failed terms (semesters).

    In all cases, except for the September retake, the highest grade is the one that remains. This also causes some students to retake an exam to raise their grades without risking their original ones.

    The retakes here are called “repesca” which literally means “re-fishing”. hahaha Pretty adequate, huh?!

    Grade names: They don’t use A,B or C here. They either use numbers or:

    Sobresaliente – outstanding (90’s)
    Notable – remarkable (80’s)
    Suficiente – sufficient (70’s)
    Insuficiente – insufficient, fail (60’s and below)
    Suspenso – fail

    Ha! This has turned out being a whole lesson on Spanish grading! (Sorry it got so long!) LOL!


  2. This is fascinating, Carolyn. The “re-fishing” policy is hilarious and I’m SO glad we don’t have that here. I swear, some of my honors freshmen would be re-fishing after every single exam, quiz, homework assignment to maximize every point in the grade book. Exhausting! Thanks for the education. 🙂


  3. Thanks for always sharing such great resources!


  4. My pleasure, Mommyrhetoric! And thanks for keeping my workout motivation going. Your IG is great! 🙂


  5. hi laura! i was just wondering, do you tend to/prefer to teach at the same pace, slower pace, or faster pace as other teachers in the same grade levels you teach? why? thanks 🙂


  6. Hi Kelsi,
    I wish I could answer this question, but I honestly don’t really know. At both of the schools where I’ve taught in the past few years, it seems my grade-level team teachers vary widely on what they teach and when. Part of the problem is logistics involving books. We never have enough copies for all of the, say, 11th grade teachers to teach Gatsby at the same time, so we slide everything around patchwork-quilt style. Also, neither of my departments has had a set curriculum; instead, teachers are given quite a bit of freedom to determine how we meet the CCSS. I share lots of ideas and materials with my colleagues and my students report that I have more rigorous standards than some others, but I’m honestly just not sure about the pace. I keep my kids working, but we definitely have fun, too! I call it, “Work hard, play hard.” 🙂


  7. Thanks. 🙂


  8. My pleasure, Mommyrhetoric!


  9. Hi Laura,
    Would you have any objections to using portions of your syllabus on a class website? I’m having trouble figuring out what I want to include. I use Google Classroom for my assignments, so I’m thinking it should be focused on expectations and procedure type things, more general information. I’ve been Googling teacher websites and nothing is blowing me away, and I love the way you word your guidelines and expectations. Thoughts?


  10. Of course, Meg. Have at it! That’s why I posted my handout, so you could just grab and go. You know I’m all about making your life easier. Copy. Paste. Tweak. Done. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hey Laura! Just catching up on some of your blog posts after a somewhat hectic summer here. Hope your school year is off to a great start; we don’t return until after Labor Day! Something that I include on my course expectations, and remind the kids of throughout the year, is a great quote that I found years ago from the great Wil Wheaton: “Be honest, be kind, be honorable, work hard, and always be awesome.” Kinda sums it up nicely, I think! 🙂


  12. Oh that Wil Wheaton just “crushes” it all the time, Heather! 😉 Love this.


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communication, first day activities, high school English, middle school, Uncategorized


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