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  • Writer's pictureSarah Lawrence

Expanding Lessons on a Whim



In the morning, before 9am hits, we have time to go over the plan for today. Sometimes, lessons can be left light on information, the set activity lesson may be completed in a short amount time by students, which will only create disengagement by students later in the lesson. These scenarios can happen when relief teaching, and we thought we would share some teaching strategies to make lessons more engaging when this does occur and to build engagement for students in their learning.


Brainstorming and discussing the topic with the class:

To engage students before providing the set task, it is good to start the lesson off with a brainstorm and a discussion about the topic. It is a good revision for students as they may have begun looking at this in the previous lesson. This gets their brain clogs working and re-engages the class with the learning topic.


YouTube Clips:

If you have a laptop for the day, you may have time in the morning to explore some YouTube clips to engage students on the topic. If you do decide to do this, make sure to watch the clip before presenting to the class just make sure it is valid and appropriate for the learning.


Warm Up Learning Games:

Warm up games are great to have up your sleeve for numeracy and literacy sessions.

Some great warm up games examples for numeracy are:

- Buzz for number patterns, and multiplication for students to get their mind going.


- ‘Pacman Maths’: Get students to stand around the room and you call out a sum and whoever is first to put their hand up answers. They then tap the person next to them out. To make the game continuous the students that are out can be brought back in by giving them a sum to solve.


Some great warm up games for literacy are:

- Silly Sentences: Have students in a circle give them a sentence starter to continue the sentence. Students say a word each to keep the sentence going.

- I’m going on a Picnic, and I am bringing…: is a great memory game for students to remember what everyone is bringing to the picnic. It is also a great game for students to solve what is allowed at the picnic through spelling and phonemes. For example: words with the phoneme tr- in them.


As you go to many schools, you will pick up other examples of warm up games and they can be adapted to the learning. It is also great to share them to other school students to build engagement and of course to expand your own teaching practise with new resources when out relief teaching.


Reflecting on the learning:

If there is still time at the end of the lesson, it is always good to reflect on the set learning task. This is where you will assess the success criteria on whether students have a clear understanding of the learning. If they haven’t understood, this is where you bring them back as a class to either discuss it as a class or use think, pair, and share where students share their learning to one another.


We hope these strategies will support you when lessons just need that extra learning for students.

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