Starters & Plenaries


1) List 3 things you found out/learnt last lesson (on mini whiteboard)

 2) Summarise what you know about the topic in 5 bullet points - reduce to 5 words - reduce to one word 

3) Put in the words missing from a cloze summary of learning last lesson 

4) Draw a graphic summary of knowledge so far - diagram, steps, flowchart, mind/concept map (like a spidergram but shows links) 

5) Draw a simple timeline of events covered so far

6) Selection of pictures/cartoons/objects - which relates to last lesson's learning and how might the others tie in later? e.g. Work by artist or example of technique currently being studied 

7) Groups of 3, numbered 1-3. Put up 3 statements on OHP which individuals must explain to group 

8) Label or annotate a diagram or illustration - one word in each box. Can be half-complete for less able 

9) Tension chart - give score out of 5 for tension at various points in a text. Plot on graph and review findings 

10) Drama activity - freeze frame or 'living photograph' as a summary of learni ng so far 

11) Just a minute - pupils talk on a topic without hesitation, repetition etc. 

12) Acrostic - each letter of a term begins a line. Key word begins the line. The 'poem' should reflect the qualities of the concept. 


13) Match word cards and definition cards. Can be done as card sort or snap. 

14) Write dictionary definitions or mnemonics for new terms learnt last lesson 

15)Identify the key points/terms to feature in today's lesson from anagrams 

16)Bingo - as teacher reads, pupils must spot word/symbol and mark card e.g. match numbers in French with digit; match muscle with diagram of stretch in PE; match musical term and symbol 

17) Dominoes - match symbol/image/definition and key word 
18)Pictionary - draw the word without speaking or writing 

19)Wordsearch containing key words or information useful in lesson - can use clues/definitions to activate prior knowledge. Similarly, crossword. ( Break the code to identify the 3 main points of today's lesson (a=b, b=c .... )  

21)Post-it notes or stickers on foreheads - pupils work out word by asking neighbour questions which receive yes/no answers 

22) Concentration/pelmanism. Two sets of cards face down on table ¬one set with words, other set a symbol or definition of same meaning. Pupils take turns to turn up two cards to find pairs and have to memorise position of cards. 

23) Give groups sets of 3 words and ask them to identify the odd one out.

24) Taboo. Describe a word/concept/character/event to a partner without saying the taboo words. 

25) Verbal tennis - divide class into 2 groups who take turns to say a word related to the current topic. No words can be repeated. Scored as tennis.


25b) I Spy: put up a picture on the IWB, ask students to identify words beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Good to familiarise with something unusual eg another faith.

26) 60 second challenge - write down all the terms you can think of to do with a topic 

27) Draw a picture of current understanding of a process and redraw at end of unit e.g. Biology - digestive system or plant lifecycle. 

28) Concept cartoon. Choose from speech-bubble opinions of different characters e.g. Physics - 4 different opinions about what will happen to a rocket (pictured) that has run out of fuel. 

29) In pairs, sequence the 5 factors/influences/events - justify your choices e.g. recipe or sequence for making an object in D&T. 

30) Prediction - what will happen if we ... ? Why do you think this? 
Spend 1 minute composing a response before you reply. 

31)Objects - pupils are given a group of objects and asked to sort/imagine/describe/predict/explain/plan an activity e.g. Given 2 tennis balls must invent a warm-up exercise in PE 

32) Key question/statement snowball- pairs discuss then share ideas with another pair, 4 join another 4, and then 8 join another 8 e.g. 'What would you be prepared to die for?' to introduce unit on Martin Luther King in RS or PSHE 

33) Categorising terms - sort words into related groups, with a pile for 'not understood yet' e.g. words related to volcanoes in Geography as a 'warm-up' to activate previous knowledge. Could be done on computer by highlighting, cut and paste etc 

34) Video clip. Class watches very short extract, then consider in pairs: What do I already know? What did I learn from the clip? What do I want to find out? 


36) Card Loops. Cards have unrelated question and answer on either side. Pupil reads question and person with answer responds and then reads theirs e.g. Acids and alkalis in Chemistry, WWl in History 

37)     Answer teacher's questions without saying yes or no 

38)True or false - hold up card/whiteboard to show whether statement on OHT is true or false 

 39) In role answering - hot-seating activity

40) The answer is XYZ - now write the question. N.B. The question could begin with the words 'What is  .'  

41) Groups devise multiple choice questions designed to catch out other groups


45) Washing Line - pupils organise themselves or pin up cards in order e.g. Maths: Write down a number 

 46) Shades of Meaning - useful for preparing pupils to use a wider range of vocabulary e.g. In Art, pupils order terms to describe colour, shade or texture according to the 'strength' or effectiveness of the er

47) Memory Game - show items for 20 seconds and then dictate an order in which they are recorded e.g. logos in D&T 

48) Sequencing moves - one pupil performs a move, a second repeats it and adds another move and so on e.g. trampoline in PE, composition in Music, class story-writing in computer room

49) Spot the difference - one picture could contain false information e.g. maps, diagrams of experiments, charts and graphs

50) Conceal and describe. Pupils sit back to back. One describes a picture or process and the other must guess what it is - or draw it