Category: Independent learning

‘Quick wins’ #2 – Engaging starters

Why? The start of a lesson is extremely important for engaging students and getting them ‘hooked’ on the learning that is about to take place. It’s tough to do on a consistent basis. It needs lots of creativity from the teacher when planning the lesson and requires the teacher to know their students.

Below is a summary of a #UKEdChat hosted on Twitter earlier this year with contributions by teachers from around the UK.


Date of UKEdChat: Thursday 5th September 2013

Host: Jon Tait @TeamTait

Topics discussed:

What is your number 1 starter activity for engaging students as soon as they walk through your door?

What is the 1 routine in your classroom that you couldn’t live without?

Which top tip from tonight’s discussion are you going to use tomorrow?

Notable Tweets:

@teachertonytips Engaging question on a slip of paper given to kids in the queue outside classroom.
@gceyre A Mystery – keep the students guessing and wanting to find out more.
@with_ict Must work harder after assembly. Kids hold it together during and are often in need of an active exciting task afterwards.
@with_ict After lunch register, response is giving a number out of 10 to show mood/feeling. It gives a good indication of playground drama.
@georgeEblack After lunch, sympathise with them (who isn’t sleepy after lunch) have shorter tasks prepared, plan accordingly, build in down time.

Tweet of the Week:

@ReachPsychology Be mindful that some Friday afternoon non-engagement behaviours are not about your lesson. Not every pupil loves the weekend!

Resource: 

Engaging starter tweets – Archive supplied by @ukedchat. Contains lots of ideas for engaging starters!!


Post submitted by:

@ukedchat

UKEdChat’s site

#neverstoplearning

Feedback. Please let us know how any of these engaging starters worked for you and your students. Leave a comment on this post or tweet us at @nslhub.

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‘Quick wins’ #1 – Question tokens.

First in a series of posts about quick wins in the classroom. The aim of these posts is to provide teachers with ideas that can be tried in their classroom with minimal preparation time.

photo-11

Question tokens used to force students to think about what they are asking and consider whether their problem can be solved independent of the teacher.

Why? I wanted students to become more independent and rely less on me for help. Quite often I see students giving up too easily and going to the teacher for help rather than persevering with a problem. I’ve also noticed that students ask a lot of lazy questions (when they can ask an unlimited amount of questions) without any real thought behind them.

Possible solution? Question tokens. I gave each student three question tokens and set 2 rules for the entirety of the lesson:

1. You can only ask the teacher 3 questions throughout today’s lesson.

2. You can ask each other as many questions as you like.

Resources.

Question tokens (Download for free – please share with colleagues)

Outcome. I tried this with a year 11 GCSE Computing class who were working through some programming challenges. The question tokens encouraged students to seek advice from their peers and if this led to a dead end, they had to research a possible answer using the Internet or come up with a well thought out question to ask me. I witnessed the students demonstrating more GRIT then in previous lessons as they appeared to be quite precious of the question tokens – they would rather struggle through a problem and find a solution themselves then ask me for help. Quite remarkable!

Post submitted by:

@mrocallaghanedu

Mr O’Callaghan’s blog

#neverstoplearning

Feedback. Please let us know how ‘question tokens’ worked for you. Leave a comment on this post or tweet us at @nslhub.