Introducing... the syllabus-shoots-and-ladders!
Either way, in small groups or as a class, you will want to explain how the ladders and slides work. Students often don't understand that you can't climb the slides, for example. I like the template I provided because it numbers the squares. This helps students go in the right direction. These are things that you might not think about, but when you teach ESL, you really need to, especially if you're going to try this with intermediate or even lower levels.
For each roll, students will answer a question about the syllabus. I have a stack of questions so I don't have to come up with them on the spot, and it makes it easier to do it as a small group activity. I'll include the template below, but questions you can include would be things like:
I've been doing this for about a year now, and I feel like it's made a difference. Students learn that they can find answers to their questions in the syllabus. I tell them that this is true for all of their college classes, that they can figure out what they need to do to earn a good grade by reviewing and using the syllabus as a guide.
Of course, I naturally do this activity the first day and/or the second. (Sometimes I'll do it the first and second day.) But I think you could do it half way through the semester, too. It's good, I think, to reinforce the need for the syllabus.
Anyway, just a quick first-day tip! Feel free to download the documents below, adapt them, etc. to your classroom needs. Even if you don't teach ESL, this could be a really fun way to teach your students the policies of the class.
Tutoring ESL, college writing, reading, and English grammar since 2005!