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Starters and Plenaries

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by DollyC, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. I think the majority of students are told that starters and plenaries are very important.
    Starters help introduce themes, aims, and objectives for lessons (as well as a good way to recap).. Plenaries are there to conclude the lessons learning and should refer back to the objectives set at the begining of lessons and should make students aware of what they have learnt during that time.

    Ofsted are also very big on starters and plenaries!

    Im not sure why ten minutes (Im only training tooo!). I assume it's just because that is a good amount of time to warm up and conclude the classes learning.

    Every school I have worked in have used to starters and plenaries- it's strange yours haven't!

    I would just try to make sure you always do a starter and plenary in your planning, perhaps talk to fellow course mates for some ideas if you arent seeing practical demonstrations. It would be a bad habbit to get into not to do them. Maybe visit other teachers in different departments to see if they use plenaries and starters and how they use them.

    I hope this helps! As I said I'm only training too so this is just my understanding of them. However I do know that I would be in BIG old trouble if they weren't in my lesson plans!
  2. Feeling your pain fella but it is just a hoop, now be seal like and jump through it!
    Went on a training session last night and they suggested that word searches, anagrams etc were good for literacy skills!!
    It is prob just horses for courses but you know who is at your stable door for a while yet!
  3. <address> I have also been told that starters and plenaries are a must, and I can see why, in the lessons I teach. The starters line up the work you are about to teach, always try to make sure there is a link between that and the development of the lesson. The plenaries draw the work to a nice close, (whether you are revisiting the topic again in the next lesson or not) it is also here that you can assess what has been attained by pupils.</address><address> I understand what you mean about not seeing it done much, but we need to think about the pupils we are teaching not what others aren't doing.</address><address> </address><address>Hope this helps! </address>
  4. It is the kids I am thinking about. And I have seen some very good teachers in good schools producing good grades in academic subjects (i.e. gcses & alevels rather than ocr nationals etc) who dont do starters and plenaries. So if there are successful teachers who dont use them then on what basis are we being told to use them.
    Of course in my lessons this year I will be using starters and plenaries. I imagine I will probably use them in some or most of my lessons in my NQT, but I want to make an informed decision rather than just because a teacher trainer said so without providing proper evidence.
    That's why I'm wondering if there's any research into.
  5. mpc


  6. I understand what you mean when you say experienced teachers don't appear to be using them! i was discussing something similar with my subject mentor on Friday and he says that often teachers use subtle starters without knowing it i.e. they don't tell the kids it's a starter, or they ask questions as the pupils are entering the room. I've had a think and find this more common.
    Plenaries are used regularly at my placement school though.
  7. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    While starters can be about testing prerequisites or introducing a topic, they're mostly about behaviour management - having something for the kids to do while the rest are turning up, you're dealing with the latecomers and handing out pencils to those who arrive without kit and taking the register.
    Activities where it doesn't really matter if they're not completed.
    Because if less than 10 minutes, your main lesson will be interrupted by the latecomers and you won't have done the register.
    If more than 10 minutes, unless your starter addresses one of the learning objectives then you won't complete your lesson. (And there's a danger in using a starter like that as how will the ones who have not completed it in the time - you won't have had time to chivvy them along as you're doing your admin tasks - meet the objective it was supposed to cover?)
    If your mentor isn't asking for them, what's the problem?

    Are the kids learning? If they're coming into the room ready to start the lesson, what benefit do they get from a starter?
    (Remember it is supposed to be about the kids.. It's not really supposed to be about you doing the formula lesson, not is it supposed to be about keeping an Ofsted inspector happy - and since Ofsted only stay for part of the lesson, they will almost certainly not see your starter.)
  8. I see a lot of positives in using starters and plenaries.
    First, they add good structure to your lessons, something that your students will get used to and generally enjoy the consistency. Therefore providing a pleasent learning environments.
    Starters can be useful for a number of things. I generally use them to recap what was done in the previous lesson, to introduce a new topic or to set a challenge. The challenge one for me is the best one, it sets the tone for the lesson and gets the learning cogs in motion so that your class is engaged for the development.
    Plenaries again are really useful. The main points of them are to consolidate or check the learning of your class. This is the best way to check if your teaching has been succesful and to monitor if any extra attention needs to be paid to the lesson content in future. I tend to make my plenaries fun; games such as last man standing, hot seating, taboo or controversial statements. These make the end of the lesson positive and therefore the class will leave thinking your classroom is a place they look forward to returning to.
    Ive not heard the ten minute rule before. My starter is usually around that but could be as short as 5 minutes. Also my plenaries last anything from 5-15 minutes depending on the task and how well the main body of the lesson has gone.
  9. primenumbers

    primenumbers New commenter

    I can't classify myself as an experienced teacher yet however I do starter in about 90% of my lessons.But I am not much of a "must have 10 mins plenary" at the end of the lesson. Instead I do mini plenaries every 10 15m during the lesson to check pupils understanding and progress. A Level can be a bit different though. Because of time pressure, I hardly have time to do starters but always do a plenary at the end.

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