Monday, April 24, 2017

Learning in the Fast Lane - Success Starters

Unpacking Chapter 3 "Success Starters" from:

Learning in the Fast Lane
by Suzy Pepper Rollins (201$

"The opening minutes of a lesson hold tremendous potential for all learners"

The brain is ready for new learning at the beginning of a lesson, fades a bit then picks up at the end. Review work at the beginning of the session does not capitalise on the brains potential for new concepts in the first few minutes of a lesson.

The more novel and interesting the first part of the lesson is, the more the brain will hold on to new concepts and keep them stored as being important. Hands on is preferable as the retention will be higher. Routine will only flatline the brain's involvement. Keep things interesting and unpredictable but find ways to connect with student's prior knowledge, remembering that everyone's is different.

We are aiming for authenticity and relevance in this part of the lesson. It has to engage every learner and not take too long.

Some ideas for success starters:

1) Role play

Put the students in charge. Get them to make the decisions and experience the "problem". Critical thinking and decision making are necessary. Put the drama into the learning.

2) Surveys

Connect the learning back to the student. Are relevant and answers can be shared with the whole group.

3) Prediction

Is all about student's anticipating new learning. Sorting is a good way to do this. This could be sorting items, words and/or pictures. Student's are keen to know if they are correct.

4) Questioning

Questioning allows us to be curious. Students can create their own questions about a topic and share them with a group. Question starter cards (who, what, why, how etc) can also encourage students to engage in questioning.

5) Brainstorming

Sharing each others thoughts and knowledge in a range of brainstorming activities promotes high interest and participation. Those that don't know much yet will start picking some key ideas up from other students.

6) Concrete Representations

Using equipment in maths or science, looking at photos, graphs, videos, picture books to engage interest and strengthen learning.

Some things to reflect on when planning lessons.