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Why do you do a 'Starter'?

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by cwright1989, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. Hi,

    I was just wondering what the point of a 'starter' activity is? And if you have any top tips for coming up with great starters?

  2. Hi,

    I was just wondering what the point of a 'starter' activity is? And if you have any top tips for coming up with great starters?

  3. Helena Handbasket

    Helena Handbasket New commenter

    I do them for various reasons - always had to at uni being top one!
    They are good for checking prior knowledge/understanding, introducing a topic, warming up the brain.
    A few I use are Think Pair Share with a word or a topic,
    Tell a friend a fact and then share the new fact with another friend
    3-2-1: write 3 things you learned last lesson, 2 things you didn't understand and 1 you want to know more about.
    Crack the code to work out the title
    show a picture on the board - what can you see and what does it tell you?
    A-X on an A3 sheet print out a grid with A-X in the top corners of the boxes, in groups they have to fill in words related to a topic. After a few minutes they moved groups and carry on filling in a different sheet.
  4. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Your line manager/ofsted/school policy
    often require them - is another reason.
    I tend to plan according to Accelerated Learning methods - which start with
    Create a secure and (comparatively) stress-free learning environment. I guess if our students know there is a starter in all the lessons it gives a sense of security and confidence?
    The next thing in Ac learning is to link what you are going to do with what happened before - another good use of starter activity time.
    In one school where there tended to be bad behaviour they asked us all to start with a word-search because our kids could get straight 'into' this without waiting for instructions. (the devil makes work for idle hands' may have been the logic here.
    Accelerated Learning recommends that we give students two things - variety and choice. I sometimes try to do this with starters. Variety is easy, choice of response is sometimes possible.
    Personally I think that if the class is 'well into' a particular project or topic, part of the variety is to skip starters sometimes!
  5. Helena Handbasket

    Helena Handbasket New commenter

    The only trouble I find with word puzzles at the start of the lesson is that some kids get distracted by it the rest of the time. I have a really difficult y10 class and last week I had a 'make words from a word' task for when they came in. They were silent and worked really well but then it was a struggle to get them back on task afterwards because they were determined to complete!

    Another idea - collective memory. Have pupils in groups and they number themselves e.g 1-4. Have a picture in your hand, they come and look in turn for a few seconds, go back and start drawing, the next one comes up and carries on the drawing.
  6. The starter should be integrated into your lesson, and not some strange activity that doesn't relate. I have observed too many lessons where the starter is stuck on to the lesson "because we are supposed to do it." So it depends greatly on your topic; but if, for example, you are giving a lesson on the ethics of abortion, you might start by getting the kids to match up the time in weeks that each development takes place, with the legal time limits over the last 20 years. Then that leads straight into a discussion about whether the law is right or not, leading onto the religious viewpoints.
    The point of a starter is essentially to grab the kids' attention, and get them straight into being involved.
    Good luck!
  7. For the most, I use a starter to settle students. It gives time for them to 'let me know' if they're going to behave/do as their told/focus. I try and give something that doesn't rely on the last lesson so that everyone can do it as long as they have a pen. I can set up what is needed, do the register etc whilst they get on with it
    If you work in a school/class where behaviour is no issue, it can really set them up for the lesson by being much more stimulating rather than settling.
    My advice to anyone who struggles with lessons after lunch to have a settling starter!

  8. phallen

    phallen New commenter

    I'm not sure if your question is serious or meant to stimulate discussion. To be honest, if you really don't know what the point of a starter is, I would suggest you re-do your PGCE. Starters, like aims, are not there as a warm up act to settle the pupils down, they're there to whet their appertite for what is to come. If you can't 'grab' the pupil's attention from the outset then you're going to spend the first 15 minutes generating the energy they need to attack higher level thinking (see Bloom's Taxonomy). Starters need to be about 3 things: About your topic, about their learning, and about 3 minutes. Aims equally need to get the students accademic juices flowing. Too many people have pupils write down a statement for what the teacher wants the pupil to achieve at AT1 & AT2 by the end of the lesson. Why not turn your aims into questions? This way you get pupils thinking and questioning their own assumptions and the assumptions of others (Creative Thinking PLTS) from the very start of the lesson. Also, when you phrase your aims as questions (e.g. 'What problems do natural disasters raise for a Christian?' (AT1) and ' What evidence could you suggest for a loving God in light of 9/11?' (AT2)), then you give yourself a ready made plenary (answer the aims in your book) - or do you question the value of that too?
  9. It's to stimulate discussion. I haven't started my PGCE, but i know it will be part of my interview. Hence, i'm collecting opinions and ideas from professionals.

    Thank you to everyone who has contributed, some really interesting ideas!
  10. Most of my starters aim to stimulate some discussion between the students and prepare them for the lesson, usually taking one of the concepts or themes from the main development and getting some more personal responses from the class.
  11. ramaduds

    ramaduds New commenter

    My main reasons for a starter are:
    <ol>[*]Stimulate interest in the topic[*]Make the topic relavent to the pupils</ol>Of course they should be challenging etc... but they must all engage with the starter and show a personal/wider relevance to the subject content.
    • When I teach about a pilgrimage I sometimes start with a picture of a local football stadium and pupils write down why people go there and what they do there on a pre-made sheet.
    • Moral issues I usually start with a statement (like an evaluation question) - all pupils give a personal viewpoint with a reason, mid-abilities give the other point of view with a reason, and higher ability pupils also add a religious point of view - I try not to use key words in case pupils are not aware of them (even words like abortion/justice etc...)
    • With regards to religious worship I might show a picture on the whiteboard of something relevant to the lesson (e.g. Buddhist shrine, Church interior, the langar meal...) and pupils must form what they feel the lesson objective is...we come to some sort of shared lesson objective and outcomes for the rest of the lesson. This way pupils feel they've had an input into the lesson.


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