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Starting the Class 
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Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:58 am
Posts: 10
Post Starting the Class
Does anybody have any creative ideas for getting class started apart from weather, feelings, today's date, etc.?

Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:32 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
I used to team teach with a teacher that would ask the same 4 questions every lesson for 3 years. "What day is it today? What's the date today? What time is it? How's the weather?" Some of the students would, zombie like, moan out the answers. Not that using these questions is bad, but for 3 years, no variation, and only a small portion bothered to do it. Not a very good start to a lesson in my opinion.

I guess it depends on age, class size, etc. However, for large junior high classes (30-35) I would have a question and answer time right at the beginning. I have them all stand up. I fire off various questions and they raise there hand to answer. If they answer, they can sit down.

I start this off easy the first time by just asking yes/no questions. After 2-3 times they get used to it and I can ask other wh- questions. The more attentive and better students will answer first, and they keep listening as the activity goes on. The slower or more reluctant students just want to sit down, so they listen and try to answer. I ask harder questions in the beginning and work down to just yes/no questions at the end.

It takes about 8-10 minutes with larger classes. If you have 2 teachers, you can split the class in half and finish in about 5 min.

It's a great chance to review old target language. It's a listening and speaking activity. I ask questions at natural speed. I start with easy questions so they can get used to the regular speed. If they need me to I will repeat as many times as needed.

If you continue, you can start to get more elaborate answers. you can ask questions about the previous person's answer as well. This makes them more attentive to the other students' answers. You can also get the students to ask the next question, but that takes a bit more time.

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Last edited by mesmark on Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:24 am
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Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 6:11 pm
Posts: 55
I have 40 minute (elementary) classes (30 students) and have to cover quite a bit of material in each class so can only have a short starting question group. I start each class with the same 3 questions, what day is it? how's the weather? and what's the date? and during that time the students settle down ready to study.

However, I have one student come to the front of the class and ask the question and the others answer. Then the whole class asks the question and the student at the front answers and sticks the correct answer on the board. Most of the students like doing it and they get upset if they think someone is doing it again when they have just already done it. It is also good for them to stand in front of the class and speak English. Also my students haven't studied days and dates yet so it is good practice for that topic and will make it much easier to teach them that when we get to it in the book.

So far I have been having the students do the questions in number order but starting next week I am going to have them choose a number randomly by pulling straws just to add a bit more interest.

When I taught high school I started each class with a short story about me and the day's topic and the students had to answer 5 T/F questions about the story.

I like Mark's idea about the questions but I don't have that much time to spare. However, you could shorten it by having them answer and then the whole row or column sits down. I have done that a few times but you do need a couple of easy questions for the students who are left at the end.

Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:36 am

Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:36 pm
Posts: 386
Location: Tohoku Japan
Yes, it depends on may things

for one, how often you meet them! If its everyday, then it would get dry after a while but for low levels, a regular structure is probably good.
But, from time to time do something very different to liven it up

Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:55 pm

Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:10 pm
Posts: 33
Post Re: Starting the Class
bigbird wrote:
Does anybody have any creative ideas for getting class started apart from weather, feelings, today's date, etc.?
Where I am teaching each class starts with a song played through the school speaker system but I prefer to have this turned off and I start with "Shhh, be quiet, please sit down" from the Knock knock English CD's I found through this site. The end of the lesson I play either "bye, bye, goodbye" or else, "see you later" and this seems to work well with my year 1 and 2 students as well as helping to maintain some order and discipline for entering and leaving the classroom. Many great songs on those disks that I use with each topic to reinforce their vocab as well as create some fun for them.

Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:53 pm
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