The Start of the Lesson

The start of the lesson is so important as it sets the tone for the rest of the lesson. For my junior classes I use a mixture of Which One Doesn’t Belong? Estimation 180, Numeracy Grids, Numeracy Ninjas, Fraction Talks, Open Middle, Transum, …..

But I have always been quite unsatisfied with the starters I set for my senior classes. I typically choose a few questions based on the previous lesson as a lead in to the current one. While I don’t think there was anything wrong with the questions I was setting I knew I could use the starter in a more purposeful way.As always, I get my inspiration from Twitter. I came across this tweet:


This seemed like the ideal starter to use with senior classes who are taking formal exams at the end of the year. These starters aim to review topics covered last lesson, last week, last topic and last term. So I wrote a couple to try with a class in June.

What I found out very quickly that my pupils managed to tackle the questions from last lesson and last week but had no recall about the questions from last topic and last term. I tried to encourage them to use their notes and to discuss with their partner but many chose to not attempt them. This was disappointing but not unexpected and confirmed to me that I need to persevere with these starters to improve their retrieval skills.

My other concern is the time it takes to complete these starters. Solving 4 problems, some of which require looking up notes, takes up a big chunk of the lesson. However, I think that there will be long term gain spending time reviewing previous work. I am looking forward to using this starter when term starts again and seeing if it has any impact.




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