English - Better sense of an ending

11th May 2012 at 01:00

What's it all about?

I often find myself in need of a way to end a lesson that tests whether the pupils have met their objective. So I have, in my head, a few options. Just in case, writes Fran Hill.

A favourite is "What to say at teatime". This involves pupils deciding what to say to those at home who might ask: "What did you learn in English today?" It's the most annoying question in the world when you're unprepared. They can role-play this in pairs, one being the Irritating Parent and the other the Smugly Prepared Child, then swap over.

Another is asking how the world would be different if what we studied today had never happened. So, if we'd never learnt about Shakespeare, what difference would it make to us? If we got rid of apostrophes, would the world survive?

Sometimes I ask pupils to confer and plan a question on the day's learning on which they can test me. Or, more interestingly, they give me an answer - for example, "because he had a fatal flaw" - and I have to come up with the question.

The one-word-per-person plenary is popular, too. The sentence begins, "Today, we learned that .", and everyone has to contribute a word to the rest of the sentence, which isn't allowed to end until the last person finishes it off.

I'm keen on getting pupils packed up and standing behind their chairs for plenaries, making their quick exit dependent on their performance. It helps to focus their minds.

What else?

Stuck for starter or plenary ideas? Try some of the hundreds shared by mikegershon. And check out youyouyou's compendium of ideas on starting and finishing your lessons with a bang.

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