The following methods are to be used as an introduction, warm-up, or to begin a lesson:
Agree/Disagree - Learners are asked to hold up a green card if they agree to a statement or a red card if they disagree. Learners should be prepared to defend their opinions.
Alphabet Summary- Each learner is given a different letter of the alphabet when entering and asked to think of a word starting with that letter.
Analogies- Learner is given a word and they have to compare that word to the weekly theme.
Brain Teaser- A quick activity to stimulate thinking. Example: How many sides does a cave have? (Answer: Two - inside and outside!)
Cartoons-Introduce a thought, concept, skill etc. by posting, reading or creating cartoons. Cartoons can also be cut up and used as a sequencing activity.
Classification- Create packets or envelops with cut-a-part objects or concepts with instructions for learners to pick up and complete as they enter the classroom. When objects or concepts are classified, they are grouped with other, similar things, and the group is given a label.
Color-by-Number- Have a page full of pictures, numbers, or shapes. At the bottom of the page, have instructions to color or circle with a particular color.
Comparing/ Contrasting- Display objects so learners can observe the characteristics by looking for both similarities and differences.
Continuum- Upon entering the classroom learners take pictures (can be placed in envelopes or baggies) and arrange them to form a continuum based on a variety of criteria. For example size, weight, or age.
Copying - Have diagrams, drawings, text, motions, graphs, etc. posted and learners are responsible forreproducing as they enter the classroom. Used to encourage learners to look more carefully at something.
Current Events- As learners enter, have them respond to posted events in recent news in various ways - discussing three ways it could affect them, drawing a picture, etc. Use responses for discussion.
Daily- An opener activity in which educators post statements or any number of daily questions, problems, etc. for learners to correct, finish, explain, etc.
Estimating- Post questions, problems, or put cut-up problems in envelopes for approximate answers as an estimation review or introduction to an estimation lesson. Learners can also try to guess how many objects (gumballs, marbles, etc.) can fit into different sized containers.
Find the Rule- Learners are given sets of examples that demonstrate a single rule and are asked to find and state the rule. Example: Several pictures of people wearing a helmet when riding a bike.
Fishbowl- Cut up questions and put in a fishbowl. Have learners draw out one question from a past lesson and be prepared to answer.
Foldables or Flipbook- Collection of visual activities that help learners organize key concepts and information. Learners fold pieces of paper in various ways to hold their written notes and other information. Great study tool with multiple uses in all content areas.
Forced Analogy- Have learners make analogies by comparing two selected words. Example: Compare a zebra to a penguin.
Gaps- Post sentences or sequences with gaps (missing words, numbers, or symbols) and learners are asked to fill in the gaps.
Graphic Organizers- Hand out to learners as they enter, or have a place to pick up, a partially complete graphic organizer. Graphic organizers are visual frameworks to help the learner make connections between concepts.
Hidden Word Game- Have learners find a word important to the lesson by placing words in an I-spy bag or bottle filled with dry rice.
Journal Reflection Writing- Typically done for a few minutes each day. The writing or drawing is done in a notebook and is often used for exploration of ideas of interest to the learners or to encourage reflection. Journal writing can be statements written by the educator as dictated by the learner. In other instances, the journal can be a writing activity about a class mascot. On the weekend, the mascot is taken home and a journal entry is recorded about what happened during the "sleep over". Photos of the event are an added delight.
Jumbled Summary- Educator posts or cuts up and places in an envelope randomly ordered pictures from a lesson. Learners put the pieces in a logical order to show understanding.
Knowledge Rating- A pre-reading strategy designed to evaluate learners' prior knowledge of a topic by having them rate how well they know the content vocabulary words. The vocabulary words are presented and learners rate each word with a number - (1) know it well enough to define it, (2) think I know it, (3) have heard it or have seen it, and (4) no clue. The educator can then identify how much pre-reading instruction will be necessary for critical reading as well as identifying words for explicit vocabulary instruction. It also allows the educator to differentiate instruction based on a learner's need.
Matching- Post on board or individual slips of paper words, phrases, concepts, skills, etc. Making matches can be done in many contexts. Learners can match words with their picture or mathematical expressions with their solutions, etc.
Predictions- Display situations or problems so learners can make predictions to indicate extended understanding of concepts from previous day or prior lesson. Predictions are very useful before performing science experiments.
Similarities & Differences- Either in graphic or symbolic form, representing similarities and differences enhances learners' understanding of and ability to use knowledge.
Spotlight On- Similar to "Learner of the Week." The work and background of a single learner is showcased to the class and learners are asked to say three positive things about that person's work.
Suggestion/Mailbox- Useful for collecting any form of feedback. Learner opinions can be regularly collected as part of class activities or the box could be used in the classroom as an informal method for learners to share information.
Surveys- Hand out a mini-survey at the beginning of a unit, topic, etc. that asks for opinions and knowledge concerning the subject material. Answers could include circling a face or giving a color code (green, yellow, red, etc.) to their feelings about the topic.
Transparencies- Transparencies may be used during direct instruction as a guide to the educator to quickly show many graphics. Other uses of transparencies include: presentations, problems of the day, placing blocks onto a predetermined shape, and to have the learner practice handwriting.
Unknown Objects - Display an object in class that learners are unlikely to recognize. Ask learners to think of three questions they want to ask about it. Can be used as discussion prompts, as subjects for an investigation, or even in an art class.
Venn Diagrams- Display a partial Venn diagram and have learners fill in the rest. It is a form of graphic organizer commonly used in mathematics and comparisons.
Vocabulary List- Give learners a word or a list of words and discuss briefly to familiarize them before they begin the lesson, story, or unit.
Want Ads- Have learners design want ads. A variation can be to design need ads.
What Is It?- The educator displays an object in class that is unfamiliar or has some historical significance. Learners are asked to identify the object, describe how it might have been used, or how it might be related to the topic.
Word Associates- Require learners upon entering class to identify which word or object is different from a series of others. Learners then make a general statement to link the other words or objects. It requires higher-level thinking skills and help learners identify relationships between words while recognizing categorizing factors.
Word Search- Especially for learning new words or themed vocabulary. Place labels on objects around the room and have the learner find the words that you call out. Once the learner finds the word, they must spell the word to you.