EXPAND AND ENGAGE: 11 Tips on How to Expand Starter Lessons
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Tip 1Momo and Koby have opened a chest with a mirror in it. They must find the broken piece. They are sucked into a portal of a book. The title of the book matches the lesson. You can easily expand on this introduction by asking questions like: “What’s this?” Students can respond with “It’s a book.” Or “It’s a mirror.” This is also where you can assess the students’ levels. Ask questions like “Where did they go?” “What is the book about?” Find the student with the highest level and the student with the lowest level. Keep this in mind as you continue the lesson.
Tip 2Next, Momo and Koby have fallen into one of these worlds. This is exciting! Help the students understand what has happened. “Wow! Where are Momo and Koby now? What can you see? How did they get there?” It’s okay if students do not respond to every question. Give them a chance to think about it, then rephrase the question to fit students' level:
"What's this?" "Who is this?" Additionally, you can type out their responses. I put their names in the responses to challenge other students to respond. I give plenty of time for responses, and I include student interests. For example, Emma said, "I love Monkey King." I might say "I love Monkey King, too. Raise your hand if you love Monkey King!"
Tip 3Take advantage of the blank areas before the next slide. Spark students' interest. Ask questions. Assess students' knowledge so far. Award diamonds. Put students on stage and ask questions.
Tip 4The “learn” areas are important because students need to remember the word, understand the word, and use the word on their own. Let’s look at all three steps of this learning process.
- Remember: Students need to remember the word, so we need to make sure we get the students to repeat the word. For example, 'Apple'. First, assess the students knowledge. Ask students "What is this" before Koby or Momo speak. See how many students know the word 'Apple'. If some do not (Check to make sure students are not just repeating other students), when you get to the "learn" section have them repeat "apple" several times. You can count three times on your finger APPLE APPLE APPLE and have them do it and then you can say something like "I love apples" and have them repeat it. Ask them the color of the apple. Sing a song about apples. "A-a- Apple I love Apples" Make it fun. Ask them "Is it a banana?" Students should say: "No! It's an apple."
- Understand: For most students, understanding the word “apple” should be easy, but I am just using this as an example. You should still expand on words even if they already know and understand the word. It’s important for them to practice. To help them understand ask higher thinking questions like: “What do you think Koby and Momo will eat? “How many apples are on the tree?” “What kind of tree is this?” If you have a toy apple or even a real apple you can ask “What can I do with this apple?” Then, when students say “eat it” pretend to do it. Rephrase questions as needed for levels.
Tip 5The story conversation with the other characters is important because it guides the understanding process.
"What do Koby and Momo want?"
“What will the monkeys do?”
“How many apples does Koby want?”
For even higher thinking ask students “How many apples do you want?” Count out the apples with your pen and type the sentences out: “Emma wants 3 apples”
Tip 6There will be a section that you will come across that will allow the students to participate in
Tip 7You will likely have teacher-led games like this one below. Expand the conversation. In between the questions, allow time for processing and ask students "What is Momo doing?"
Tip 8Expand on sorting games and keep them fun by letting the students do all the work. "Oh no! Help teacher! Where do I put this? What is this?" Pretend to not know where it goes. Have students shout it out. If they don't say anything act even more confused. Be silly. "What? This is lychee? Are you sure? If you say so. Yes! You're right. It's lychee. Way to go!" Higher-level thinking questions: What did we do?
Tip 9Get creative with the creative slides that allow students to make a choice. “Who wants to make their salad first?” You can also make a group salad or both. This is an ENGAGE slide. Get their attention and spark their creativity. Give out stickers. Put stickers in their salads. Put diamonds in their salads. Make a salad for Superman. You get it. Use these ideas for each lesson. They will mostly have something like this. Think outside of the box. Get them ENGAGED!
Tip 10The "What's this?" slides are important for remembering but expand on that. We want to also know they understand. "Yes! It's lychee! Do you like lychees? What is your favorite fruit?"
Tip 11Last, you will have an exit ticket with a story. It will likely go over everything in the lesson. Let the students guide this. Before you “make” Koby or Momo talk, ask the students questions like “What does Momo want” Students should say “Momo wants an apple” “How many apples do you see?”
That’s it! Take this advice and use it for your lessons. Each lesson is a different topic, but most of the starters follow this pattern. The most important thing you should take away from this is to EXPAND AND ENGAGE! Happy teaching, fellow teachers! You are doing a wonderful job!