An article by Richard James Rogers
Illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati (a former student of mine, and a key illustrator in my book). You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like her to do some beautiful illustration work for you!
Starter activities have long been a cornerstone of effective classroom management as they get students focused and on task as soon as they enter the classroom, and
they can be a great way to ‘prime’ the kids to learn complex concepts. What follows now is a list of my top seven starter activities that are quick, simple, require minimal equipment and are fun.
This quick game is so easy: all you need is a whiteboard, whiteboard markers and class of kids. It’s a great game for consolidating key vocabulary, and is perfect for E.A.L. learners.
Here’s a short video showing a quick clip of me playing ‘Splat’ with my students (I will include some more lengthy clips soon, but this is a good start):
#2 Mystery Word
Another easy game. This time, students randomly pick out written words from a hat (or cup, beaker, container, etc.), and then they have to explain their word to the class (without saying the word). The students who are listening have to guess what the word is.
#3 The Poster Game
Possibly the most fun and competitive game I’ve ever invented for teaching new content. You’ll need space for the kids to walk/run, and the game does take some prep. However, once you (and your students) become used to playing this game you’ll find that it’s a doddle to set up in no time at all.
#4 Who am I?
A very simple game. All you need are post-it notes and a class full of energized students! Great fun. Perfect for reinforcing key vocabulary and concepts.
# 5 Bingo
Got some equation symbols or mathematical problems to teach your kids? Perhaps the symbols of the periodic table is more your thing? Whatever it is, this simple game can be adapted to suit any subject.
# 6 Vocabulary Musical Chairs
You’ll need a good rapport with you kids to use this one, as it needs to be controlled really well by the teacher (e.g. to avoid kids bumping into each other). However, it is simple, fun and worth the effort!
# 7 Mystery Picture
This one takes some imagination on the part of the teacher, and some training of the kids beforehand. However, it’s really, really good for encouraging higher order thinking skills.
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