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  • 1. Starters, Middles & Plenaries - Active Learning Strategies Can think on the spot/ no preparation needed Needs some preparation/ minimum preparation Needs preparing 1. Shark 2. Key Word Pictionary 3. Anagrams 4. Topic Tennis 5. Taking Sides 6. Values Continuum 7. Gimme 5 8. And the answer is… 9. 3-4-5 10.KWL Grid 11.Bingo 12.Splat 13.Who Am I? 14.Polygobbling 15. Snowballing 16.Reflection Alley 17.Thumbometer 18.Exit Cards 19.Find Someone Who… 20.4 Corners 21.5 Ws 22.Blockbusters 23.Word Limit 24.Odd one out 25.Mini Crossword 26.Catchphrase 27.Maps from memory 28.Roving reporter 29.Question Catch 30.Heads Together 31.Word Snake 32.Thinking on the Spot 33.Random Generator 34.Pass The Buck 35.Diamond 9 36.Running Dictation 37.Quick off the Draw 38.Marketplace 39.Pub Quiz 40.Card Loop/Dominoes 41.Taboo 42.Cluedo 43.Wipeout 44.Who Wants to Be A Millionaire 45.Card Sort – differentiated version 46.Pass the Parcel 47.Hot-Seating 48. Group Roles 49.Top Trumps 50.Traffic Lights
  • 2. 1. Shark Version of hangman. A volunteer from the class chooses to be the person walking the cliff. Draw them on the end of the cliff. Students call out letters, teacher (or student) writes correct letters into the word and notes incorrect ones on w/b as a reminder. For every incorrect letter, the person moves further along the cliff, finally falling into the shark’s mouth. This can be made kinaesthetic by having a student move along an imaginary cliff. 2. Key Word Pictionary Split class into 2 teams and split w/b I half drawing a line down the middle. One member of each team comes to the w/b, the teacher shows them both the same word to be drawn. Students draw the word in their half of the w/b and the first team to call out the correct word wins a point. 3. Anagrams Write anagrams of subject key words which have been previously introduced on the board and students unscramble them. 4. Topic Tennis A fun form of brainstorming. Students should be in threes. The teacher names a topic. 2 students take it in turns to say words relating to the topic (a bit like word association but do not necessarily have to directly associate, just be linked to the topic). They keep going until one person can’t go on. The third student notes down the words and these are fed back as a whole class. Good for introducing a new topic to see what they already think/know or for revision. 5. Taking Sides Teacher writes statements on w/b. In pairs, students discuss if they agree or disagree with them. Feedback as a class or make kinaesthetic by placing ‘agree’ ‘disagree’ and ‘don’t know’ on opposite walls and students move to the position chosen and should be prepared to justify their responses.
  • 3. 6. Values Continuum Similar to taking sides – but pose a statement and one end is “agree” the other is “disagree” – students to stand in a position along the line that most reflects their view of how much they agree/disagree. Again students should be prepared to justify their responses. 7. Gimme 5 Good for AfL at the end of a lesson, ask students to tell you e.g. “5 things you’ve learnt today” or could be broken down into “5 key words, 4 case studies, 3 strengths, 2 weaknesses, 1 question you have” – and can be done individually or between a whole class. 8. And the answer is… Turn the question making on the students! Display a list of words that are the “answers” – they should make up a suitable question that has the word as an answer. To make it a group activity – put words individually in envelopes – students one at a time take an ‘answer’ out and orally make up as many questions as possible. When they can think of no more, next students takes an ‘answer’ out and repeats the process. Good for revision. To turn into an introduction activity – once more ‘answer’ words are taken out, students can start to guess what links the words together to identify the topic focus. 9. 3-4-5 Students have 4 minutes to tell the 3 main points of the lesson to 5 people. Fast and effective plenary but can also be used as a starter by changing it to questions – 4 minutes to tell 5 people the 3 questions they would like answered on a particular topic. 10. KWL Grid A 3 column grid with the headings: What I already Know/ What I Wan to know/ What I have Learned. When starting a topic, students brainstorm everything they already know and write in the K column, then write some questions in the W column and at the end of the lesson complete the L
  • 4. column. Can be used in a standalone lesson or scaffolded across a series of lessons on a topic. 11. Bingo Students have key words on bingo cards (these can be prepared, but jus as easy to ask them to create a grid with e.g. 6 or 9 squares in and write in words from a given number displayed!) The teacher reads out definitions or questions which have a word as the answer, and students mark each box if they have the word. Shout ‘Bingo’ for the first to cross out all their words!= correctly. 12. Splat! Teacher writes some key words/concepts on the w/b, fairly spaced apart. 2 volunteers come up to the front to play head-to-head. Teacher asks a question or defines the word/concept – first student to “splat” the correct words wins that round. Winner stays on and the other students can nominate the next contender. 13. Who Am I? Students in groups write a word/concept related to what they are learning about – and place it on another students forehead so that everyone in the group knows who they are but the individual doesn’t/ Students then have to ask questions to find out who or what they are – but the questions can only be ones with a yes or no answer. Could be made kinaesthetic by moving around the room to ask different people questions. 14. Polygobbling Similar to Who Am I? But instead students substitute “am I” for “polygobble” for example “Is polygobble an ethical issue?” “Did polygobble do the Bobo doll experiment?” – this one is better for replacing verbs so for practical subjects – then students can replace the verb for ‘polygobble’ and all tense variations of it! 15. Snowballing Students combine ideas to find as many examples of something as possible. They begin by writing down 2 ideas of their own. They combine ideas in pairs, then in 4s by joining another pair – this could also continue to 8s as
  • 5. well, dependent on class size/topic. To add deeper thinking to it – final groups must decide on 2 final ideas that they all agree on. 16. Reflection Alley Good for thinking and decision making. Pose a scenario/prediction/question – one volunteer student will be asking peers for their input to help make a decision/judgement/answer. The rest of the class line up in 2 lines facing each other, leaving a pathway down the middle – this is ‘alley.’ As the volunteer walks down – student can ask their peers for their thoughts on the scenario in question. This ensures all students are prepared to potentially be asked! At the end of the ‘alley’ – the students makes a decision/answer based on peers’ input. This can be made more challenging by preparing ‘role cards’ which the teacher gives to students in the ‘alley’ – so challenging them to think from a certain perspective rather than their own. 17. Thumbometer Simple way of asking students to measure how confident they are that they’ve met lesson objectives or an answer to a question. Students give thumbs up – if they are very confident that they know the answer, thumbs sideways if they’re unsure or think they partially know, and thumbs down if they don’t know or think they’ve made little or no progress. Can be developed on by teacher questioning. 18. Exit Cards At the end of a lesson or topic – students should complete an exit card and hand it in on their way out – cards can have 2 questions on “what is the most important thing you have learned this lesson?” and “what would you like to do more on/what questions do you still have?” – this can be particularly good for student feedback in terms of activities/topics they have particularly enjoyed doing so can inform future planning. 19. Find Someone Who… Good kinaesthetic activity. Can be used at any time within a topic. Teacher gives students a sheet consisting of a table with statements on and a space underneath each statement. Students must circulate the room and find someone who meets that statements’ description/criteria, and write their name in the space underneath the statement. For example, statements
  • 6. could be “can tell you the 4 types of sleep disorders” “can give a strength of social learning theory.” Encourages students to consider/revise what they’ve learnt in a fun way. For extra challenge – you can state that a student’s name can be used once! When a student has a name for every statement – check by asking the individual students whether they actually can do what it says they can! 20. 4 Corners A good activity for exam revision! The class can generate their own questions to revise a topic, or questions can be given by teachers ( a large number needed for this activity). Choose 4 students to stand in each corner of the room. The rest of the class become an ‘audience.’ Students in the corners must ask a revision question to another student – but can only ask the person to their immediate left or right (so opposite corner is always safe!) – if that person answers correctly, the person who asked it joins the audience and nominates a person to take their corner place. The person who got it right has their turn to ask a question, and so it continues. If the person answering gets it wrong, they must join the audience after nominating someone from the audience to take their place – this is done by asking the audience to raise their hands if they think they know the answer and choosing someone new. Aim is for 4 people in the corners to remain as they will be crowned the winners and get a prize! 21. 5 Ws Good starter for introducing a topic. Display an image – and students should try to answer the 5 Ws: Who? When? Why? Where? What? 22. Blockbusters Split the class in half and assign each half a colour e.g. red/blue. Red team have to get from top to bottom and blue team have to get from left to right – although not necessarily in a straight line. The teacher begins by asking a question for the letter in the middle of the grid e.g. “what T is a monocular depth cue?” – the correct answer wins the team a blob of their colour in their square and they choose the next letter. If they get a question wrong – it’s now the other team’s turn – each team must start from the centre of the grid, then they can choose where they go from then on. The first team to get from one side to the other wins. This can be made a smaller group
  • 7. activity by preparing and laminating a pack of blockbuster boards and questions cards. 23. Word Limit If students need to have notes or summaries of e.g. a study, a theory, story plot – encourage them to be analytical and choose only the key pieces of information by giving them a word limit for different parts. This is especially good for experiments/studies – e.g. Aim – 10 words max. Method – 30 words max. Evaluation – 30 words max. Really encourages them to think and be concise without losing meaning (and means they are not trying to copy as they have to think!) 24. Odd One Out Write 2-4 triplets of subject key words on the board. Students have to identify and explain which the odd one out is. Encourage students to use the words both and whereas. 25. Mini Crossword Draw a completed mini crossword with subject key words as answers – and students write the ‘clues.’ 26. Catchphrase Fun ad often challenging way of getting students thinking and recalling key terms! Display a series of images that should imitate or spell our a key word – for example, the limbic system could be displayed as pictures of: leg (limb) – biro (bic) – solar system (system). 27. Maps from Memory Good teamwork/thinking skills activity. In small groups students have to memorise and collectively reproduce a map/diagram/chart. Can be done in 3 ways: 1) visual is on teacher’s desk – students come up one at a time, look at it for 20 seconds then returns to group, then next student from the group goes up to desk, and so on. 2) Students individually see the visual and reproduce their own from memory, the come together and collectively decide from each individual’s what is in the right place and create a new
  • 8. ‘map from memory.’ 3) Groups look at the visual together before teacher takes it away. Group then collectively draws it from memory. Good for models in psychology like the working memory model. 28. Roving Reporter Any information can be turned into a news report e.g. a news report of the biological theory of aggression. It can be done individually or in pairs/groups. E.g. in fours: • 1 students announces the day’s main headlines providing the ‘dong’ of a bell sound effect between each one. • 1 students is a newsreader in the TV studio, they summarise the main news story. • 1 student is the roving reporter – they provide the details. • 1 student Is a witness who is interviewed by the roving reporter. 29. Question Catch Teacher throws a bean bag/soft ball when asking questions. This makes questioning a kinaesthetic activity and can engage students who don’t normally volunteer to answer. Students can have the option of throwing the ball to someone else and ‘passing’ if they don’t know the answer. This could also be played in teams so the teacher throws the ball to each team in turn – if they can answer it, they score 3 points. If they can’t, they throw t to another team to score 2 points, if they can’t answer it is thrown again for 1 point. 30. Heads Together This ensures all students are involved in Q & a ROUTINES. Put students into groups of 4 and ask them to number themselves 1-4. Tell them you will ask a series of progressively more challenging questions that all students will be expected to answer – in fact they will not know who will be called upon to answer the question. Ask the first question and say “heads together” – students have to discuss the answer to the question and ALL must be able to verbalise it. Call out a number between 1 and 4. If you call number 3, all number 3s must put their hand up and you then choose one of them to answer the question. Ask the other number 3s if they agree with the answer and if they’d like to add anything further. Ask the next question and repeat the process. Could be
  • 9. used as a plenary activity or could be turned into a competition of scoring is used. 31. Word Snake A key term activity. Encourages literacy. Give students a snake whose body is broken down into squares. Students must start from one end with a key word in the square and work their way up/down the snake - the next square’s key word must start with the last letter of the previous word. The aim is to get the snake completed! 32. Thinking on the Spot Good plenary or revision activity – create a PowerPoint with a timer on each slide. Can be used in a variety of ways, but students have a set time in which to name/describe/explain something. Different timed question/naming activity on each slide. 33. Random Generator Can be sued in 2 ways: 1) Have each student’s name on a PowerPoint slide , ask a question and ‘stop’ the slide show randomly – that student has to answer (they can be allowed one pass!) 2) Put a different topic/key term on each slide, nominate or get a volunteer student, they shout ‘stop’ and whatever is on the slide they must answer! 34. Pass The Buck Great activity for exam revision! Can be done in 2 ways: 1) Give each group a question, they have 5 minutes to start the answer on an A3 sheet. When times is up, pass the paper onto the next group who have to continue the answer from where it was left until the last group who should then ‘complete’ the answer. You can let students cross out any information they don’t think is relevant and add in things. At the end the original question should be passed back to the groups so they can see how the answer ended up. 2) Give students each a different question and d as a mind-map activity: Students should add one or more things they would include in that answer. When their times is up, pass the paper along, and now the group must add information to it – making sure they write down something that hasn’t
  • 10. already been written. This is great for deeper thinking as the later they receive a question the more challenging this becomes! 35. Diamond 9 A good ranking activity encouraging explanation and justification skills. Can be dine individually – give a student 9 facts and the rank in a diamond shape from most to least relevant to a topic, or could be done in groups – this encourages students to discuss a topic and reach a consensus of views within the group. 36. Running Dictation Can be a good starter activity or a more interesting way to make notes! Students need to be in pairs. Students have a sheet with the same prose on, only student A has different ‘gaps’ in information to student B. Student A starts reading, and stops when the get to a blank – student B continues, and A fills in what is missing. Continue the process until both have completed gaps! 37. Quick off the Draw! A great way to make answering questions fun – and can be competitive and collaborative. Type questions onto different cards/slips of paper and number them from least to most challenging. In airs/groups, there needs to a be a ‘runner’ – who will come and collect the questions from you. They come up and get question1 – take it back to the group, research/discuss and come up with a written answer which is brought to you. You then check it, and send them back if they need to add/change anything, or if it is correct, give them question 2. Can be fun and competitive if there is a prize for the first to complete all questions correctly! 38. Marketplace A good main activity for encouraging teamwork, independent enquiry and thinking skills if you’re delivering new content. For example, for students
  • 11. learning about 4 psychology studies: divide them into groups of 4 (if a big group – have 8 groups, 2 groups each will work on the same study). Create a sheet/pack with the information they need on one study. Marketplace is divided into 4 stages: Stage 1 – as a group they must present their study in a poster with a word limit of 40 words, but can use as many images/numbers/symbol as they wish. They also decide on a ‘stallholder’ who will be ‘trading’ information later on. Stage 2 – stallholders remain where they are and act as experts for their study, while the rest of the groups’ members are ‘customers’ and visit other market stalls to get information about the other 3 studies. Stage 3 – groups reform, and share what they have found this time ‘teaching’ the ‘stallholder’ their new information. Stage 4 can vary dependent on requirements – can be to use the information and apply it to an exam question, or a further investigative task adding new knowledge for example adding strengths and weaknesses to each of the studies they learnt about. 39. Pub Quiz! A fun team activity for revision for an exam or at the end of a topic. Create various rounds: a picture round where you’re looking for a certain name/term, an anagram round, a T/F round, a “name that study” round. Make it competitive – have a prize for each round and an overall winner! 40. Card Loop/Dominoes Create a set of cards where the answer to the first question is on the second card, and so on. Give one card to each students, making sure you know who has the first question and ask that person to read their question. Students have to listen carefully and be ready to call out if they have the answer – then they read their question and the process continues. This is also good for key words and definitions, or key studies and their findings. 41. Taboo Like the traditional game, this encourages students to think deeply about the meanings and how to define/express key terms. Can be done in 2 ways: 1) As a whole class, have a volunteer come to the front, teacher gives them a card with a key term on which they must describe to the class without using certain words (e.g. AMYGDALA - cannot use words: limbic system, brain, biology). Students should try to guess which term is being described! 2) Create a set of taboo cards for each topic – students can work in oairs/small groups and use the same process. These cards could also double
  • 12. up for revision games on “Who Am I” – they can hold up the card so their partner/group can see and ask questions to find out who they are. 42. Cluedo A slightly longer but good thinking skills starter to introduce a new theory, for example. Create a set of fact cards where students must use the information to answer “who” “what” “why” (or similar questions depending on topic. Encourages students to make deductions based on information given. 43. Wipeout A good plenary for measuring students’ understanding of new information/terms. Using wipeout PowerPoint template – there are 9 words displayed, 5 are correct, 4 are wipeouts. Students should give one fact/word that was learnt in today’s lesson – before they/you click on the square – they should tell you something about it (e.g. what does that word mean? How does that word fit into our topic?) Can give a sticker/prize if they chose a correct one! 44. Who Wants to be a Millionnaire? Good interactive plenary/revision game as per the TV gameshow! Can split the class into teams so if one gets a question wrong the other team gets a go – you could also involve peers by having classmates as “phone a friend” and using them all on a “ask the audience.” 45. Card Sort – differentiated version Can be used to classify, categorise, sequence, prioritise or rank order information. Ways to make a card sort differentiated include: • Having cards with big points and little points on – put big points I bold, little in normal text – students should match little supporting points to the big points • Include more cards for different ability students – give them more points to consider • Give students free reign to devise their own way of grouping/classifying points and write their own headings on blank cards
  • 13. • Ask students to identify the irrelevant points/ rank order in terms of relevance/ add a further little point of their own to each of the big points • Note down only one key word from each point card and use these words later to structure a written answer/essay 46. Pass the Parcel Great for exam practice! Either – give students questions or they can devise their own – they spend some time making sure they know the answers/points to include in answers. They should keep the questions hidden from everyone else! Like the party game – play some music whilst passing round a ball – stop the music – and that person has to answer a question (easiest by the teacher asking the first one, from the onwards, the person who answered last is the person who asks their question the next time the music stops). Can have sweets/prizes for those who answer correctly! 47. Hot Seating Good for end of topic/pre-exam revision. Students go through the topic and prepare possible questions about it, one person gets in the ‘hot-seat’ and answers questions from the class. Also good for hot seating as a particular theory/study e.g. Sociology – students can ‘hot seat’ as a functionalist – students should ask questions such as “what do you think is the best type of family? Why?” and functionalist should answer as best as they can from that perspective. 48. Group Roles Excellent way of getting groups focussed and encouraging skills as well as knowledge. In a group based activity – give each students a particular role: scribe – who notes down the groups ideas/answers, Observer – who will focus on teamwork and how well the groups works together, they feed back on this at the end, spy – who (at a given time by the teacher) is allowed to wander and listen/observe other groups’ ideas and bring them back to their own (a good way of sharing knowledge!) – timekeeper = who keeps track of how much time is left and keeps everyone on track for completing the task given.
  • 14. 49. Top Trumps Revision cards with a twist – students create revision cars with a summary of a topic/study but also using their knowledge they rate it against criteria e.g. psychology studies: rate 1-5 on ethics, validity, and usefulness. Can be then used as general revision cards or also played as the top trumps game as a revision activity – for differentiation you could state that students, as well as the traditional “scoring” – must be able to describe the other person’s study when given the name, to be able to take their card! 50. Traffic Lights Create a set of 3 cards: red/amber/green and have them tied together with a treasury tag. These serve many purposes: • Used for yes/no/don’t know questions – a good way of getting the whole class involved as they hold up the appropriate card. Use similarly for agree/unsure/disagree, or true/false/unsure. • Use to assess confidence against lesson objectives • Use as a means of support whilst circulating the class, students can leave the cards green facing up if they are happy they know what they are doing, amber if they are ok but might need help, red if they are completely stuck and would like help.