Why use them? • Research shows that more learning is likely to take place in lessons containing more than one activity, or broken into sections. Including starters and plenaries in lesson structures, allows for this variety of approach. • Well judged starters and plenaries are useful and functional. Aside from their subject-specific contribution, they: • signal to pupils that they have moved from their world into a purposeful learning environment • provide a short period of focused activity that helps you take charge of the lesson • help create a positive classroom climate • Starters and plenaries that look back to prior learning the re-cap, the quick quiz, the 'Tell me three things about…' help pupils feel that their learning is part of an ongoing process, rather than a jumble of random encounters with unrelated chunks of knowledge. It's the forward-looking starters and plenaries that seem to bring out teachers' creativity most effectively, though, and that persuade pupils that they have a stake in the learning that's to follow. • Sound uses for contextualised, preparatory starters and plenaries: • establishing pupils' opinions before they explore an issue • presenting a scenario that covers the same ground as that in the body of your lesson • picking up minor points of language use that you know need attention, and that you will incorporate in the success criteria for other activities in the lesson • modelling • Just make sure that your starter and plenary is part of your own joined-up thinking, pupils learn better when things fit together. Joined up starters | Harry Dodds, http://www.teachit.co.uk/custom_content/newsletters/newsletter_oct06.php
Starter • short – probably no more than ten minutes • has lots of pace – mostly oral – very interactive • designed to engage and to focus attention • Inclusive – designed to get everyone involved • motivational – designed to offer early success in the lesson.
Plenary • refers back to and consolidates the most important learning points of the lesson • refers back to the learning intentions stated at the beginning of the lesson • puts the learning in context, by linking it both to prior learning and to the coming stages • gives opportunities for informal assessment – your quick check that learning has taken place • helps you judge the next steps – important in AfL and in enabling you to plan the next lesson • can last about ten minutes, but could be shorter.
The Starter Generator! The Starter Generator is a PowerPoint that gives you a huge array of different starters for lessons that can be manipulated for any subject. They also can be used as plenaries. • If you want to choose an activity by random selection, then start the slide show from the beginning, which will make the slides whizz through really quickly and then press escape to choose a starter at random.