How to begin a class
How you begin your class will set the tone for the lesson. It is important for teachers to establish a routine for the first few minutes of each class and once students get to know this routine they will settle down easier and faster. The first minutes of a class are the hardest to manage, especially if student come into your class from another location in the school where they really enjoy the activities, such as Art, Music or Phys. Ed. The routine needs to be set in the first few weeks of school and reinforced daily. In this way, students know exactly what to expect from you.
Before the beginning of each class, take the time to list the objectives of the lesson, either on the chalkboard or on a large sheet of paper attached to the wall. Review the objectives so that students will know what the lesson is about and what they should learn from it. If this is a new topic, use the K-W-L routine to grab their attention. This is a procedure that works with every lesson topic and with every grade level. Once you present the topic to the students, ask them what they already know about it. Encourage all students to participate and list the responses that they give. When they have finished telling you what they know, move on to what they want to learn. Match the responses with the objectives for the lesson. This chart should stay in the classroom while the topic is ongoing so that at the end, you can complete it by listing the responses to the question, “What have I learned?”
The most effective way to begin a class is to have all the students engaged in an activity. This could be a class discussion, listening to a story or a chapter of a book for an older class, the review of material covered in the last lesson or asking students if there is something on which they want further clarification.
The materials needed for the lesson must be ready for the students. If not, precious time will be wasted as you have them gather the materials or you have to look for them. Being prepared for class is as important for the teacher as it is for the students.
The opening of a lesson must be one that catches the attention of the students so that they will be interested in what is to come. In addition to letting the students know what they will learn, you should also tell them how they will be evaluated at the end of the lesson. In this way, they will be able to focus on what they need to know in order to get a good grade.
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