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7 Ways to Start a Great Lesson

7 Ways to Start a Great Lesson

Dorit Sasson

Planning is such an important part of anyone’s career. Just like writers need to plan a story and have marketing plans to sell their work, teachers always must have different kinds of attention grabbing activities and especially in the case when a lesson beginning backfires.

The most important part of a lesson occurs during the first five minutes. If the activity engages students right away, you know there will be enough “sparks” to fly for the rest of the lesson and your job will be relatively easy. If the activity however is not challenging, repetitious, (”We’ve done this before!” Sound familiar?) there will be “lulls” that more often than not, result in discipline problems.

The key of course, is to keep the “sparks flying,” but it all really depends on how you can spark up your classroom right away. These tips are just meant as a guide: consider using those that speak to your teaching style and experiment with others later.

1. Aim for open ended activities that generate more student responses. Good types of open-ended activities are brainstorming and prediction which are perfect for mixed ability classes.

2. Start the first stage of vocabulary teaching by having students notice the words. Flashcards are ideal for introducing word families and for pointing out capital and small letters, consonants, and other sound blends.

3. Use a large number of photos or tangible and concrete objects like images, pictures and hand movements, and gestures to pre-teach images. Visual methods are important for supporting meaning and generating interest.

4. Elicit what students know about a topic before presenting them new information. Many teachers rush through the beginning of a lesson. When they reach the middle part of a lesson, students aren’t engaged and discipline problems may have already taken over.

5. Personalize parts of a lesson. The best time to personalize an activity is during the first five minutes of a lesson. Students are more motivated and engaged that way.

6. Encourage students to think about the possibilities of a text. Do this by having them anticipate and predict the next paragraph or page of a read-aloud or story.

7. Use a K-W-L teaching technique to engage students from the beginning of a reading lesson by activating prior knowledge. The K-W-L technique also helps you keep students interested as students think about what they want to know and what they have learned. K = What do I know about subject x? W = What do I want to know about subject x? L = What did I learn about subject x?

Keeping students engaged for an entire lesson IS possible. This is what makes teachers sparkle and by getting into your students’ heads a little, you can help your students succeed.

Make Your Teaching Sparkle. Teach for Success. Make a difference in the classroom.


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