03rd February 2017
Have you ever felt those minutes passing by when your waiting for your students to settle down as they arrive for your lesson? You look at the clock and the five minutes that have already past is giving rise to disquiet within you. A quick sharp solution is the Do Now exercise. This is a short activity which you assign to your students and it starts working before you do! Using this strategy effectively ensures students start the lesson in the right frame of mind, that is, on-task. Get into the habit of using Do Now activities and your students will never have to ask What are we going to do today? What should I be doing? Or worse not asking any questions and just chatting away and adding to those valuable lost minutes. Here are a few simple principles to help you get started.
The Do Now activity should take no longer than five minutes.
Be consistent: either write it up on the board or use a handout for the students to collect as they enter the room. The strategy here is to form a habit and an expectation so everyone knows what they should be doing.
The Do Now activity should be simple and easy for students to follow, completed without any direction from the teacher and should not require students to interact with each other.
The Do Now activity should consist of a language production task. This means that students should have to write something rather than passively reading. This makes the activity engaging and enables you to check they are on-task.
The Do Now activity should either preview the lesson by for example students writing their ideas about the topic of the coming lesson which is a great way to activate their schemata; or review previously learned language by for example using simple crosswords to revise recently learned vocabulary.
Consistency is key. Applying the Do Now strategy at the beginning of every lesson is an excellent classroom management too!