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Small Changes in Teaching: The Minutes Before Class

Original Content Publication Date: 11/15/2015


How you spend the few minutes before a class starts can make a big difference. The small decisions we make in our courses have the power to affect learning in big ways. This article gives three suggestions of things you can do in order to use this time effectively: ask "how are you", display the framework, and create wonder.

  • Ask "How are You?" - Taking a moment to interact with students one-on-one can help students to feel more comfortable in class and participate more freely.
  • Display the Framework - While connections between lessons or topics may seem obvious to you, students may not see them. Take a few minutes before class to display the class agenda for the day and refer back to it during class to highlight connections.
  • Create Wonder - Consider displaying a thought provoking image (such as a headline from business news) and ask "what do you notice" and "what do you wonder". Doing so can help share your enthusiasm for the subject and help students draw on prior knowledge to make connections.

Key Points

  • The time before class officially starts can be a valuable resource
  • This time can be used to help students connect key concepts by displaying the class framework

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Strategies & Methods