Starter tasks are really important. They can be really effective in settling your class (especially after lunch!) and prompting them to retrieve prior learning. They are also a great springboard into directed questions and answers. For these reasons I tend to opt for paper-based activities or I project an activity on to the screen. Ideally, they should be no more than 10 minutes. Here are a few things that I do:
- Slogan Me – the idea with this activity is to create company slogans for different individuals. This should be rooted in what the students know about them with historical accuracy. I might begin by sharing a few slogans to help them think about the structure of them and how they are created. This is good fun but it also helps them remember appropriate knowledge when discussing provenance.
- Word Search with a twist – instead of giving the students the words they have to find, simply give the the title and the grid. The will then have to remember appropriate key terms. Often they will find ones you have not added in either! You can create them easily with Discovery Education.
- Scrabble – recently I have really enjoyed testing my students by giving them a series of scrabble tiles and asking them to find words appropriate to the topic studied. Using the Edu-Games site, it is really easy and quick to make. Again, they always surprise me with words I had not planned for!
- Categories – for this one I give them a grid filled with items to sort. This could be causes or consequences for example. The students are then invited to highlight the information according to the categories I have given them. I don’t give too many to sort but just enough to get them thinking. You can leave some of the grid blank to see if the student can add any further causes or consequences of their own. My most recent one was on why the Conservatives won in 1994, the categories included the ‘appeal of Major’, ‘Labour blunders’ and ‘the influence of the media’.
- Correct the error – for this one I will give a series statements, some of which are wrong and I will ask the students not only to identify them but add in what they believe to be correct. This is great for example, in prompting the students to remember precise knowledge such as dates or data.
Do you have any you would like to share? Share them on twitter with @MyHistoryRocks #historyteacher
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