Introductory or Opening Activities in Teaching

The opening activities are supposed to serve as starters, as unfreezing activities to make the students feel at ease, to motivate the students to participate and to set the tone for the day. They are likened to “preparing the ground” before sowing or planting. Opening activities serve as a launching pad for the day’s lesson. Therefore, they should be linked or related to the day’s lesson. They are not just activities for students’ enjoyment or activities for the sake of enjoyment. They are preparatory to the real thing. They also have a motivational function.

In the first few minutes of your lesson “sell” your lesson. What will help your students “buy “it? Capture their attention, connect their prior knowledge with the new information that you will present, show. the relevance of your lesson to their lives and experiences.

Below are some effective opening activities:

  • KWL (Know, Want to Know, Learned) — What do your students Know about the lesson? What do they Want to know?
  • Video clip from a news story that relates to content
  • Editorial from a current newspaper related to a lesson
  • Posing a scientific problem and require students to formulate a hypothesis or predict what’s going to happen next.
  • Cartoon or comic strip related to the topic
  • Game
  • Simulation
  • Puzzle, brain teaser
  • Mysterious scenario- Launch a lesson using a puzzling scenario to pull students into the content and nudge them into higher levels of thinking
  • Song followed by its analysis
  • Picture without a caption — After teacher states the objectives of the day’s lesson, s/he asks students to put a caption to the picture and later to explain the why and the meaning of their caption.
  • Quotable quote
  • Anecdote
  • Compelling stories from history, literature related to course content
  • Current events to introduce curricular topic
  • Diagnostic test
  • Skit, role-playing
  • Voting — Ask students to vote on an issue by raising hands, then asking them to explain their stand
  • Rank ordering. Students; are asked to rank objects, qualities, etc. according to importance
  • Values continuum- Students are asked to find their location in a Likert scale of values. Rate yourself along the following traits: Honesty: Low (1 2 3 4 5) High
  • Devil’s advocate — Teacher acts “contravida” in order to make students think. An example is when a Values Education teacher appears to favor abortion in order, to generate reactions from the class. The teacher, however, makes clear his/her stand on abortion before the class discussion ends.
  • Conflict story — The teacher presents a conflict situation then asks the students for the right thing to do. Example: The establishment of a plastic factory in your community means employment of people from the community but it may also mean pollution of your air and river and contamination of water supply. What’s the right thing to do?
  • Brainstorming
  • Buzz session
  • Interactive computer games
  • Question and answer
  • Anticipation guide. This will give you insight into how students think and feel about .a topic related to your curriculum. Your students will be immediately engaged in the content and curious about what will come next in your lesson. You may invite students to compare their responses with a learning partner and then discuss the statements as a class. Here is a sample.

    Direction: Before we begin reading the book _______, please read each statement. In the anticipation column write “YES” for statements with which you agree and “NO” for those with which you disagree. Remember to write your reason for agreeing or disagreeing. Anticipation Statements
    _________ 1. Parents are always stronger than children. Reason:
    _________ 2. It is possible for children to feel suicidal. Reason:
    _________ 3. No wars have been fought in Europe since World War II. Reason: