We all begin the school year by teaching and reinforcing our class policies and expectations. But, as time goes on, we may grow careless. Fortunately, a successful start may help you bounce back from the rest of the day.
It doesn’t matter what class you teach or what the topic of today’s lesson is. Whether you are going to discuss art, work with encyclopedia pictures, or read a story to your class, there are things you can do in the first five minutes of class that make a world of difference. Making your students engaged and feeling positive about the upcoming lesson is essential to getting better results in the future. With that in mind, here are 10 short-term solutions for the first five minutes of class.
Don’t be afraid to be upfront about it with your students about wanting to revisit your classroom expectations and procedures. They need to know that you’re serious about maintaining a positive learning environment.
Make it visual
Use a whiteboard or poster to write out your expectations and procedures. This way, students can refer to it throughout the year as needed.
Keep it short and sweet
Don’t take up too much time with your review. 5 minutes is enough. Also, try to avoid using a lot of words. A few key points are all that is needed. However, if you see that you’ve touched upon something important for the students, feel free to elaborate a bit.
Get students up and moving
Incorporate some movement into your review. Whether it’s a quick game of Simon Says or simply having students stand up and turn to the person next to them to share one thing they remember, getting students up and out of their seats will help them to stay engaged.
Make it fun
Try to find a way to make the beginning of the lesson enjoyable. Maybe you can start with a funny story related to the topic or do a quick icebreaker. Students will be more likely to participate if they’re enjoying themselves.
If you have any related props, now is the time to use them! Props can help to bring the content to life and make it more relatable for students. You can think of fun activities and connect them to the main topic of the lesson or just spend 10 minutes having fun.
If you have access to a computer or projector, use it! Showing a short video clip or related website can help to engage students and pique their interest in the topic. Don’t hesitate to find something interesting online or create your material using numerous resources that can help you do it fast and easily.
Try to find a way to connect the content to something that your students are interested in. If you can make a connection, they’ll be more likely to pay attention and care about what you’re saying. Encourage them to answer questions and ask theirs.
Set the tone
The beginning of the class is the perfect time to set the tone for the rest of the day. If you start on a positive note, it’s more likely that the students will follow suit. However, if you start on a negative note, it can set the tone for the rest of the day. So, try not to mention anything negative even if you need to. Of course, it is up to you to decide whether some topic should be brought up immediately.
It’s important to be consistent with your procedures and expectations. If you only enforce them some of the time, students will start to get the message that they don’t matter. So, make sure that you’re consistent in your expectations and that you follow through with them.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. The important thing is to find what works best for you and your students. So, don’t be afraid to experiment until you find a routine that works well for the beginning of your class.