20 Engaging Ideas For Lesson Starters & Plenaries

20 lesson starter ideas

Some of you might remember that before I worked at Bronco doing digital marketing, I actually had a little stint (almost a year in fact) as a teacher. While I ultimately decided that wasn’t the career path I wanted to take, I did love doing that job. It’s partly the reason that I do Brownies now as I love working with children, so volunteering a bit of my time weekly (or more often as I’m slowly discovering!) is my way of contributing to that still without having to do it as a full time job.
One of the hard parts of the role of a teacher though is always being on the ball and having fresh content ideas – similar to blogging and my job now I guess, except focused on lessons rather than words online. Is there anything worse than hearing the phrase: “So kids, what did we cover last lesson?” It’s a bit uninspiring and isn’t the best way to grab the attention of young minds. Instead, as a teacher, you should look into various starters which are engaging and dynamic. I had a few of these for my lessons, some of which I stole from around the internet, others from other teachers, and some I made up on the spot (oops!). These are always handy for teachers, and I thought may come in handy for Brownies too (hopefully I’m going to start sharing more and more about the activities we do for that soon as I’m currently doing my qualification – I may attempt to schedule some of these for while I’m away, although I’m pretty short on time :/), so here’s a list of 20 ideas that you can adopt to kick-start a lesson, which should all link back to the topic at hand…

  1. Pass the parcel

This traditional party game can be used as a great way of learning. Place statements in each layer of the parcel, play some music, then get the children to say whether the statement is true or false if it stops at them.

  1. Guess the sound

Teach music? Get the kids to work out which instrument is being played. This works for other subjects too, such as science and geography. It would be great for a world culture night at Brownies to mix it up a little bit.

  1. Bingo

You can buy a range of Bingo games, along with a range of other educational supplies for all sorts of subjects, such as Forensic or Roman Numerals bingo.

  1. Countdown

If you teach English or Maths, you could use the games from Channel 4’s Countdown to great effect. This will exercise the mind before an hour of learning.

  1. Guess the number

For Maths, say that you’re thinking of a number between 0 and 300 and give your students seven chances to guess it; this will test their mathematics and deduction skills.

  1. Charades

Play a round of charades with the class, giving the students a phrase or subject covered in the previous lesson.

  1. Word game

Get your kids in a circle, have one say a word, then get the next child to say a word that begins with the last letter of the previous word. Give this game a theme to relate to the subject matter.

  1. Call my bluff

State a new or unfamiliar term that is to be covered in the lesson plan. Give the students three possible definitions and let them work out which one is correct in teams.

  1. Pictionary

If you’re teaching a topic that isn’t normally responded to well, liven things up with some creativity – Pictionary works every time.

  1. Never Mind The Buzzcocks

Though the kids may not know the programme, the round where contestants guess the song being hummed or ‘ahh-ed’ is fantastic for music lessons, as it’ll get them excited about the subject and bring it right up to date with popular culture.

  1. What’s the question?

Say an answer and get the children to discuss what the question would be.

  1. Odds & evens

A burst of physical activity is enough to stimulate the mind. When you say an odd number, get the kids to crouch down. When you say an even number, get them to jump up. It’s also a great way to burn

  1. Who am I?

This classic Post-it note game is perfect for lessons. Teach history? Put historical figures on the kids’ foreheads. Geography? Go for countries.

  1. Paper aeroplanes

Give students a limited amount of time to write down three points about a particular topic on a sheet of paper, then have them fold them into aeroplanes ,which they must shoot into a bin – this represents their brains retaining the information.

  1. Pupil as teacher

Switch roles and have a student give a summary of the last lesson, asking questions of their fellow pupils.

  1. Hangman

This popular game can be played easily on the whiteboard at the start of the lesson.

  1. Words

Cover the board with words the children call out, which have to be about a topic covered in the last lesson. The target is to completely fill the board.

  1. Mystery bag

Place an object related to the topic inside a bag and get the children to guess what’s inside without looking – this is all about touch. This is one of our favourite fall back activities at Brownies.

  1. Show & tell

Have the children relax and get to know more about each other by starting with show and tell.

  1. Visual clues

Set up a slideshow with various images and have the kids guess the answer. For example, if the answer was Paris, there may be a picture of the Eiffel Tower.

Image courtesy of Piotr Mamnaimie.

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20 ideas for classroom starters & plenaries

1 comments so far.

One response to “20 Engaging Ideas For Lesson Starters & Plenaries”

  1. caroline says:

    These are great ideas, I bet some of them would be perfect for when babysitting my nephew.

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