Teachers are very busy people; starters do not need to have lots of preparation time. They are better when pupils can be engaged from the start without teacher time invested in unnecessary preparation. Here are a bakers’ dozen which work but do not need lengthy preparation.
1. Write a statement on the board which is provocative but related to the lesson. e.g. People should be evacuated from volcanic areas. Learners discuss with a partner for three minutes before feeding back.
2. Write for five minutes coming up with an eighth day of the week and what it could be used for, a new gadget or a new punctuation mark.
3. If a time capsule was opened from our era of study which three objects would you like to see?
4. If you were visiting a country what three things do you think you would want to visit most?
5. Look at the sentence on the board with you’re in it. Explain to your partner whether that is the correct spelling and together come up with a rule for using it.
6. Today we are studying……. Write down three questions we might try to answer.
7. Look at the picture on the PowerPoint and discuss with your partner what is happening and how it could be relevant to the lesson.
8. Here is a quotation about the topic. Stand here if you agree, here if you disagree and in the middle if undecided. Be prepared to defend your position.
9. Listen to a reading [from inter-net or teacher] and doodle on the page pictures and key-words or take notes without words, using only pictures and signs. Share back with a partner who must fill in what you missed.
10. Make a mind-map of what you know already about the topic and write down two questions the answers to which you do not know.
11. Play a piece of music connected to the topic by time, title or mood. The class should write down ideas sparked by the music.
12. Write for three minutes everything you already know about this topic and share with your partner.
13. Choose any object in the room, think about how it is like the topic. Go around the room sharing your comparison.