First minutes?

5 ideas for the first minutes of class

Physical exercise? Why not? But what else?

Idea 1

Explain the title of the new unit and ask students to write down everything they already know about the subject. Give a clear time limit and then elicit their answers as a whole class. You can ask them to compare their answers before doing the whole class feedback.

Students can write in full/short sentences or bullets, create mindmaps and spider diagrams. With this activity you can raise awareness and they connect what they already know with what they are going to learn.

Idea 2

Ask students to write down at least three things they have learned from the previous lesson. They need to find no fewer than three items and write within a clearly stated time limit. They can compare and/or come to the board and write down their items.

Variation: You can change the instruction “Write down three things you learned in the previous lesson” with “Write down three things your partner learned in the previous lesson” to add an oral element to the activity.

An example: This is especially good for recycling the previous reading text, vocabulary items or grammar topics.

Level: Intermediate  Skill: Reading   Topic: Working from home

Idea 3

If you want your students to practise writing, you can ask your students to write down what they learned in five sentences as a summary.

Idea 4

For visual learners, you can ask your students to sketch a representation of what they learned. Here it is important to emphasise the information only, do not ask for a complete representation.

Variation: One or more students can come to the board and draw a picture and you can get other students’ constructive comments.

An example: You can ask them to use the vocabulary items from the unit and present a story or write down the words on their paper or on the board.

Idea 5

To check the homework from the previous day, you can use the first minutes of your lessons. To add variety, produce two stacks of cards numbered 1 to x (x is the number of students in your class). Distribute a card to each student. Shuffle the second pack and then turn over the first card. Find out which student has the same number. Ask that student a question from the worksheet or material.

Adapted from: Classroom Starters and Plenaries, Creative ideas for use across the curriculum. Kate Brown.

Selma Tamdoğan

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