Here is one method I use to get a course off to a great start, to build community, and get students focused on being successful. I have the class break into small groups, giving each group a list of 7 or 8 timeless wisdom quotations that I got at the On Course Workshop. (You could use quotations from the On Course text as well or collect your own.) I asked each group to choose from its list one quotation that would make a good “motto” for the class. A spokesperson from each group then presented one quote to the class, and I wrote it on the board. Each spokesperson explained why his/her group’s quotation would make the best motto for our class. The entire class then voted on the quotes, and we had our “motto.”
I make a flyer with the quote, posting it in the classroom and giving one to each class member. We start the class by reciting our motto, and it becomes an anchor that we refer to many times, especially when there are problems like papers being turned in late, etc.
Here’s an example of a quotation that was chosen by two of my classes as their motto:
“Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man’s doing but my own. I am the force…My choice; my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny.” — Elaine Maxwell
–Kathryn Romero, Counseling Faculty Member, El Camino College, CA