No More Boring Syllabi

As the school year approaches and I prepare for the depressing end of my afternoon naps excitement of being back in the classroom, my mind is full of thoughts. Sometimes it can be overwhelming so I like to take breaks and peruse the wonderful world of Pinterest. Teachers make some pretty amazing things and looking at the wonderfully decorated, arranged, organized classrooms makes me happy 🙂 Somewhere in the middle of this I thought about my classroom syllabi. My students and their parents always read/understand/reference/use this right? HAHAHAHAHA That would be a dream world but who can really blame them? Students receive 6-7 syllabi in 1-2 days that are all on plain white paper with black type….easy to see how things can blend in. I decided this would be something I’d like to change so used my trusty Pinterest resource, searched “fun syllabi” and voila! What I learned from my search is that I need to keep my sections short and sweet, and maybe use an image that will help them remember. Which makes sense because our students live in a world bombarded by images used for communication (emoticons, memes) and we need to be able to get them to focus on us for more than 2 seconds. I’m in the beginning stages for my Chem 1 classes but I’m hoping the new syllabus will stand out and be easier to remember. I’d love to hear your thoughts and words-of-wisdom!

***I forgot to add how I made the syllabus in my first post, sorry! I used Microsoft Word and their newsletter options. I ended up deleting a lot of text boxes and inserting my own. I used the fill options to do the grey boxes, and found the images by using Google and Pinterest. I tried to keep the colors printer friendly (colored copies would cost a ton for 120 students!). I used colorful memes on worksheets last year that looked fine in black and white so hopefully this turns out okay too! If you have other questions let me know!!

*******For those of you who would just like to have an editable product, I’ve posted that option on my TPT account under Not Your Average Syllabus 🙂 The preview images look jumbled but I promise once it’s downloaded it will be similar to the pictures below! If for some reason it’s not just let me know and I’ll send you a better copy! Thanks!

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Creative Exit Slips

This year one of my goals was to incorporate quick formative assessments to check for student understanding. Exits slips seemed like an easy place to start and I have learned to love them! Over the summer while perusing Pinterest (I LOVE this site!!) I came across an awesome poster board (see below) made with sticky notes then laminated for easy re-use.


I used sticky notes with a fully sticky back so that the poster would easily slide through the laminator. Students “stick” their exit slips to the squares in a nice orderly fashion and my OCD side is happy! lol I have students write their names on the back of their sticky note to keep their answers anonymous. I love how I can just look over the board and get a general idea of where the class is on a concept.


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“What Stuck w/you” isn’t the only heading I use for my exit slip board. I’ve come up/found a few other ideas that I like to use to keep it from becoming monotonous.


Parking Lot – Student’s leave a question on the board which will be their starting point the next day.

Hash tag – students love to “#” everything so with this exit slip they must come up with a three-four word summary of what they learned in class that day/key concepts.

Tweets – using their favorite form of social media, students write a summary in 120 characters or less (bonus points if you can get them to really tweet out their thoughts!).

Ticket to Leave – I like to have students come up with Movie/Concert titles.

I also really like the 3-2-1 Method where students write down 3 things they learned, 2 interesting facts, and 1 question they still have. I haven’t used this one yet but hope to incorporate it with our readings.

How have you used exit slips in your classroom? Any helpful suggestions or ideas on keeping exit slips as a useful tool in the classroom?