To get pupils concentrating as soon as possible, prepare a sheet with a wordsearch and a crossword on it. The wordsearch acts as the starter. Include any new terms or phrases that pupils will come across in the lesson (usually about 10, also include key words from previous lessons as a means of revision).
For more challenging classes this can become a bit of a competition: "First one to finish gets ..."
The crossword is then used as part of the plenary. The pupils are expected to have gained enough knowledge in the lesson to work out the correct word from the clue.
This technique was designed with Ofsted in mind. Not only does it make sure that you have a clearly defined starter and plenary, but it is good for measuring attainment of the pupils during the lesson
Chris Wheeler teaches at Ashton-on-Mersey School in Cheshire.