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Lesson Toolbox May 2013

Pete’s Lesson Toolbox – May 2013

Ideas for using this tool box

  1. Add a tick to each activity when you use it so you increase the variety in your lessons
  2. If you find any new ideas please email them to peteslessontoolbox@hotmail.co.uk

Demonstrating progress/Benchmarking students

  1. Write down all you know in starter and then again in the plenary to see improvement.
  2. Write what you know on coloured stickers. Students add to the signs “Not Sure”, “Quite Confident”, “Very Confident”. Students put their first attempt underneath one of the signs for teacher to assess.  After a learning activity they do the same thing with a different coloured sticker showing progress
  3. Draw a spider diagram to show all that you know at the start. Add to this in a series of mini plenaries indifferent colours showing progress
  4. Draw a table with three columns – What I know, What I have read about, What I know nothing about. Fill in at the start and then at the end
  5. Give a series of “can do” statements as criteria and get students to rate their understanding – at the start and at the end
  6. Put up a series of criteria related to levels or grades. Ask students to state one thing they know and what level they think it is at the start and one thing at the end which they know is at a higher grade.
  7. Any of these techniques on a piece of paper – make into a paper airplanes and thrown (sensibly) to another student. After the learning activity they open it up and add to it. Then after next activity they scrunch into a snowball and do the same.

Interactive/Interpersonal (In groups or pairs)

  1. Flipped lessons – Pupils research a topic before they learn about it in class as homework –  they use class time to demonstrate understanding
  2. Key word on sheet, students add one branch to mind map and pass to neighbour. Goes round group twice, then students scores how many words are good/relevant. Sheets with the lowest score should be the topics which the students know the least about.
  3. Groups of 3 – 1 person Scribbles related words, 2nd person Draws associated pictures, 3rd person Makes a plasticene model to do with it, then group present it all to rest of class who have to guess the original term.
  4. First half of the lesson pairs produce posters on a topic (say a double page in a text book) then arrange the posters in a circle around the room – one student stays with the poster as the expert one goes round the room to each poster collecting information. Then return to the pair to summarise the findings.
  5. Pupils look at the labelled version of a drawing and have to remember the labels as they go back to their places, most labels wins.
  6. Sit in a circle, one student walks around the circle saying duck, duck, duck etc. When they say goose the student they are next to chases them round the circle back to their seat. If the chaser touches them on the back before they get to the seat they get they have to answer a question correctly to get their seat back, if not the chaser gets a question.
  7. Large sheets of paper around the room with a title – Each student/team gets different colour pen – all add what they know to each poster for 20 seconds then move to the next poster.
  8. Get a statement or picture with four plausible explanations. Students say why each one or false. Can be in groups or individually. Can be one or more correct answers – students identify through this process why this is.
  9. Ask pupils to write a list of ten questions on a topic (you could give them each a page in the revision guide) Arrange the room in a circle with half the pupils inside and half outside the circle. With a timer on the board of say 4-5 minutes the pupils ask each other their questions. At the end of the 4 minutes either the outside or inside pupils move round one seat and repeat the exercise. Pupils record the answers of the pupils they question and share the results at the end.
  10. After the activity above ask the pupils to find the person whose questions were hardest. Get them to write down what it was they were asking them about. The students will then get an individualised revision topic on the areas they need to work on
  11. Peer group learning exercise – Split group up into 3s. Each group takes a topic to summarise on A3 paper. After only 20 minutes chose one person from each group to go to the next group (they are the ‘LEARNER’) and learn about the topic they have summarised. The group have 5 minutes to teach the topic to the learner. After 5 minutes you liaise with the learner to find out what they have learned.
  12. Teams of 4 have to create a poster, each person has different coloured paper so you can see who has done what, each person is given objects only they can use – Glue guy – only one who can glue, Pen guy – only one who can write.  Any paper left on the floor after certain time disqualifies them.  If you lift the finished piece up and paper falls off they are disqualified.  They have to work co-operatively so that the task can be achieved.  You can adapt it as they can be given specialist equipment or separate bits of paper.
  13. Pictures on board behind a student sat facing the group. The group describes for student to guess
  14. Students ask each other questions without saying yes or no
  15. In groups come up with questions and then give to other groups to answer
  16. BBC Bitesize web page on board – answer questions in groups feedback to group
  17. Students become words and have to get into order / stickers on their forehead to create a sentence
  18. Drama – write a short play in which the characters discuss the topic
  19. Snap – matching statement on bits of paper face down – kids find pairs
  20. Group Snap Q + A on different cards to each pupil each pupil find their pair
  21. Memory game – students shown spider diagram / picture / text / sequence, go back to group and draw/write what they can remember
  22. Charades –  Act out key words or phrases –  groups guess the answer
  23. Splat – Answers written on board, pupils smack the words to answers questions
  24. Play scrabble using key words from lesson
  25. Concept as a drama/play
  26. Use the room to build a diagram/model, pupils are the moving parts in the model
  27. Students answer questions, then get into pairs to get better answer, then fours to get even better answer to same question
  28. Students categories nine statements or key words in a diamond shape according to your criteria
  29. Students draw key words, team members guess what they are.
  30. Paper in a bucket – students pick one then describe key words, repeat whole exercise with same words but act them out instead
  31. Turn an uninspiring practical into a competition (who can get the highest, fastest, hottest, biggest etc)
  32. Give out cards with question on one and answer on another – kids find the person with the matching card
  33. Teacher completes any task but includes mistakes, in pairs students identify mistakes
  34. Teacher vs class – they can ask you any question from their revision guide but then you can then ask them any question on the topic – score on board
  35. Team quiz –correct answers are a score for their team –run over a number of lessons
  36. Become a graph – 2 axis on the floor created with string or chalk, students become the points on the graph
  37. Inside – Students write on the desks or windows with board pens or liquid chalk
  38. Outside – Students write on the wall or floor (brightens up the playground!)

General Lesson Activities

  1. Make Masks – Student pretend to me different characters/animals/roles to discuss something
  2. Make a point score system for each activity you set and tell students how many points they need to score before the end of the lesson
  3. Establish learning groups of your choosing are the same for a long period of time ( a term, a year etc) throughout the year the groups always work together which develops team working skills instead of asking them to form groups in a lesson for a task.
  4. Include VARKI (Visual, Auditory, Reading, Kinaesthetic, Interpersonal [discussion])
  5. Multiple Intelligence lessons – one target for kids to reach in any way they like
  6. Display a picture, students describe what it has to do with the topic
  7. Posters (one sheet of paper explaining the answer)
  8. Power point (several sheets explaining the answer)
  9. Spider diagram–at the start/end of a topic – each branch a different colour, include diagrams
  10. Bingo (3×3 grid with key words)
  11. Design a worksheet or word search
  12. 3 statements on the board 2 true, 1 false – students say which is which
  13. Students mark each others work highlighting how they could improve their answers
  14. Students read aloud from book (sentence or paragraph each)
  15. Design a practical/experiment
  16. Use dry Pasta/packaging foam for modelling a concept
  17. Odd one out/what to they have in common (pictures, diagrams, symbols)
  18. Write questions using key words from lesson
  19. Write answer to question with a word number minimum
  20. Sequencing – (putting events/body parts/words etc in order)
  21. Use the room to make a concept/thing
  22. Make revision cards
  23. True/False sentences – student identify which is which
  24. Get students to mark a test
  25. Draw a flow diagram instead of taking notes
  26. Boil it down (Summarize topic in 5 bullet points, then 5 words, then one word)
  27. Draw a time line of events covered so far
  28. Label a diagram or picture with a much information as possible
  29. Rizla/post-it note game (post it notes on forehead – students have to ask yes/no questions to work out what/who they are)
  30. Write the questions to answers
  31. Loop card game/dominoes/tops and tails – cards which when joined complete a sentence or equation
  32. Concept as a cartoon strip
  33. Concept as a paper/card model
  34. Make a simple board game which includes questions on the topic
  35. Read and Answer questions in the book!
  36. Answer questions as labelled diagrams instead of full sentences
  37. Kids do an activity marked by another child – you liaise with marker
  38. Make Link chains (like you make at xmas). Each link  has a concept/keyword written on the link
  39. Model a diagram from your lesson in plasticene

Auditory Learning

  1. Face a partner and talk on a subject for 30 seconds then swap. Repeat trying to get more key words into the time without looking at their notes.
  2. Chinese Whispers – using a concept, equation or statement
  3. Students describe words without using key words
  4. Students describe words without a particular letter (e.g. certain vowels)
  5. As above but kids run to you to get words, then back to their team
  6. Student describes what they can see, other student can ask lots of questions but not look at the same thing. Student 2 draws what they think student one sees. When finished compare two pictures.
  7. Pupils talk for set amount of time without hesitation, repetition or deviation.
  8. Mallet’s mallet/verbal tennis

ICT Specific/Web resources/Apps

  1. Use “puppet pals” app to make cartoons
  2. Make a cartoon strip at http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Comix
  3. Make a mind map using “freemind” http://freemind.sourceforge.net 
  4. Make a mind map online for other users to contribute to – http://www.bubbl.us/index
  5. Make a blockbusters game http://www.teachers-direct.co.uk/resources/quiz-busters/
  6. Online resources for classroom activities – http://classtools.net/
  7. Random name picker fruit machine – http://classtools.net/main_area/template_loader.php/?fruit_machine
  8. Go to bbc bitesize and revise the topic online
  9. Go to http://www.yacapaca.com and complete a test on your topic (it marks it for you!)
  10. Timer for timed activities www.teachit.co.uk/custom_content/timer/clock3.html 
  11. Students record text onto computer using ‘audacity’ – students import audio onto movie maker and illustrate with pictures – creating a movie to play back to class
  12. http://www.voki.com/  allows you to create personalized speaking avatars
  13. Create a web page to share the work created by your class – http://voicethread.com/#home
  14. Poster in Microsoft Word – Do the title last, Type all text first THEN add pictures
  15. General revision topics –  http://getrevising.co.uk/
  16. Download online videostreams to avoid breakdowns internet spoiling you lesson http://www.zamzar.com/  
  17. Create motivational posters at http://bighugelabs.com/
  18. Quizzes and games for most subjects at http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/
  19. Manipulate photos on your subject at http://www.dumpr.net/
  20. Multiple choice quiz generator at http://www.contentgenerator.net/multiplechoice/default.shtml
  21. Create word clouds out of pieces of text at http://www.wordle.net/
  22. Speed reading software that can flash up words at the users speed to make reading more fun http://www.spreeder.com/app.php
  23. Make animated presentation on www.prezi.com  
  24. Get student to submit a question to http://www.cramster.com  and get emailed an answer
  25. Revision games and quizzes on http://www.zondle.com 
  26. Make a virtual post-it note display with http://padlet.com/  
  27. Google earth – show the area of the world linked to your topic or access previous aerial photos to show change over time
  28. Watch animated lectures on topics at https://www.khanacademy.org/

Literacy/Key words/DART

  1. Get students to summaries something in 150 words. Then get them to reduce this to 100 words, then 50 words.
  2. Cheat Cards – pretend students are allowed to cheat in their next exam and they have to put the key points of the lesson or topic on a scrap of paper they can hide in their pencil case. Limited space means that they only write the most important or harder stuff.
  3. Remove the words from a piece of text one at a time so that it still makes sense. Keep going until no more words can be removed.
  4. Reduce a piece of text to 6 words then use these 6 words to make a poem or a song
  5. When asking students to read get them to highlight the 5 most import key phrases only and rank them in order.  Stops them highlighting everything
  6. Word pairs –  pupils get two words or phrases and have to find similarities or differences between the two
  7. Students listen to some text three times. 1st Just listen, 2nd take notes, 3rd focus on key words and phrases. Then give the group 10 minutes to create a similar text. Discuss at the end about language choices and share examples of reconstructions
  8. Take a model answer/piece of text – read through it. Then play word tennis. Then draw a picture which represents the text adding only three key words. Play word tennis again with the picture in front of them. Then hide the picture and play tennis for the third time
  9. Write a piece of text into an excel box – then click on the speak icon for students to hear the computer speak their words
  10. Look up Key words (underline, define from dictionary)
  11. Write a sentence without saying certain key words or letters
  12. Give sentence starters – students complete
  13. Add key words to literacy book/key word list
  14. No Punctuation – Paragraph of text with no punctuation – students have to add punctuation to make sense of the paragraph
  15. No Punctuation Kung Foo – As above but then read it out as a class. When students get to a comma they have to shout out Hayah! and chop the air with their hands, when they get to a full stop they punch the air and shout Huh! (quite good with “everybody was kung foo fighting” playing in the background)
  16. Look at information for 2 minutes – cover up, write down as much as you can remember
  17. Ask students to remember definitions at the start of lesson, get them to write them out in exam conditions later
  18. Concept Map – Stick key words onto A3 paper, link them with arrows, write over the arrows how the two words are linked
  19. Make a topic record from key words
  20. Key words on board, students use to write paragraph
  21. Spelling Test on key words and/or peer marking
  22. In pairs, one pupil asks other to spell 5 words beginning with a certain letter. Swap and change letter
  23. Hangman using key words
  24. Learn definitions off by heart – quick test afterwards
  25. Anagrams of key words
  26. Correct misspelled key words in paragraph on board
  27. Cloze exercise 1 – printed text with missing words to complete – differentiation by giving first letter
  28. Cloze exercise 2 – students write a paragraph with missing key words for a partner to complete
  29. Pick out nouns, abstract nouns, adjectives etc
  30. Word Relay in pairs – next word starts with last letter of last word
  31. Game using key words (charades, Taboo etc)
  32. Invent a Mnemonic/Acrostic for difficult words
  33. Make a word search using key words
  34. Tops and Tails/Dominos– cards with half statements or questions and answers on to get into the correct order
  35. Add own ending to sentences
  36. Classification of words – groups words according to different criteria
  37. Change style of writing for different audiences – your friend, famous person, child etc
  38. Unscramble sentences
  39. Students write questions on key words in their partners book for them to answer
  40. From key words make a crossword/ wordsearch/ giant crossword where each pupil makes one word questions
  41. Look a piece of text 2 mins, take it away ask 5 questions. Give it back underline all the key words, take it away – another 5 questions. Give it back – underline 5 key sentences about the topic – another 5 questions. At the end – ask which is best method for learning?
  42. Use writing frame to organise thoughts (Bubble quotes, comparison alley, starburst, sequencing, Tri pie, stair steps, Pros & Cons, Venn, Webb, Flow Chart)
  43. Key words on the board – student say how words are linked together
  44. Skim, Scan and then close read some text answering questions on content each time the text is read
  45. Daft reading – students take turn reading aloud reading a word each. Alternative could be students who sit in a row reading a word each along the row until the end of the paragraph.

Extended Writing

  1. A Letter to…
  2. Imagine you are a…
  3. Write a play about…
  4. Write a description of…
  5. Describe a journey from…
  6. Describe a day in the life of…
  7. Predict what would happen if….
  8. Write a diary entry by a person who…
  9. Write a set of instructions in order to…
  10. You are a news journalist writing about…
  11. Write out a conversation between people discussing…


  1. Socratic questioning –  exploring the questions not changing to the next question – why how, what are the reasons etc
  2. Quiz Variations (door game, weakest link, who wants millionaire, Killer, Students ask students answer, slap board, answers on mini whiteboards, who wants to be a millionaire)
  3. Pub Quiz – in groups of 4, students answer questions read out by the teacher. You can turn the room into a pub! (No alcohol!)
  4. Blockbusters (4×4 grid with first letters of key words, first to cross the grid)
  5. 5 answers to each question (How, Where, When, What, Why –  e.g. do plants make glucose?)
  6. Teacher on the spot – pupils ask demanding questions
  7. Questions with answers written as drawings
  8. Fist of five – students indicate understanding based on how many fingers they are holding up on their fist 5= understand 0= don’t understand

Exam Technique

  1. Go over single questions with 4 or more marks
  2. Model answers showing how to gain maximum points


  1. Questions on video – fill in as video plays – check at the end
  2. Video Bingo – have a list of key phrases to listen out for on a card and students pay attention, crossing them off as they go. Better for longer clips, and the feedback is the students explaining the relevance of each one. 
  3. Stop video every x minutes ask students to explain video so far
  4. Short or small section of video(5min) -LISTEN to video (can play with students facing away or with screen turned off), make notes as it plays, quick quiz, then watch video
  5. Alternative – Watch the video with no sound – after a set time students summarise what they think the film is about
  6. Write a narration to a short film

Assessment for Learning

  1. Give test results relative to CAT/FFT indicators (+1,-2 etc)
  2. Students mark each others/their own tests providing corrections
  3. Students critically praise or analyse a presentation given by other students
  4. Students compare their answers to model answers
  5. Learning Squares A (2×2 grid in books – What, Where , When, How… did you learn this lesson)
  6. Learning Square B (2×2 grid in books – What I did, What I learned, What I did well, What I need to focus on)
  7. Learning Square C (2×2 grid in books – What, Where & When, How, How can I improve how…… I learned today)
  8. Learning Square D – What was the point of today’s lesson? How did you achieve it? How could you improve the way you achieved it? How could you test whether you achieved it?
  9. Learning Square E – Today I Learnt About… Three Key facts/ words I used are… Future learning I need is… I felt successful today because…
  10. Learning conversation – Following the learning square- pupils find another person in the room to discuss their learning square. When they come back they describe themselves or the person they spoke to
  11. Learning Triangle (three old, two new, one future learning outcomes written in a large triangle)
  12. Write down one specific thing that will get them to the next level/grade
  13. 10 minutes correcting pervious work in their book based on your marking comments

Independent learning

  1. Students look through specification and do research and present views and ideas before teacher give info


  1. Door Game – Correct answers to questions pupils go to the door, whoever is at the door at the end of the game gets to leave first – pupils can send people back to their seats as well as save their friends – harder questions are worth more people

Crazy, but just might work

  1. Change the smell in room so kids remember a certain lesson (joss sticks, deodorant, perfume)
  2. Read half a story at the start to relax them then the other half at the end of the lesson
  3. Do the lesson inside a parachute (every school has one, ask the PE dept). Pupils stand in a circle and hold the parachute in the air and pull it down behind them and sit on it.
  4. Play music at the beginning of the lesson and get the kids to talk about how it might be connected to the lesson
  5. Have a lesson in the dark! Give students lamps or torches per group to see what they have to do. This may promote communication (or chaos!)




One thought on “Lesson Toolbox May 2013

  1. This is immense! Nice work 🙂

    Posted by Mr Walton | February 19, 2014, 11:17 pm

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