On Monday this week I had one of my school's NQT training sessions. This session was about structuring lessons effectively. At the very start of the session we were told about 'Meerkat Time' and asked whether or not we use it in class and how.
Meerkat Time, as stated above, is that short amount of time at the very start of the lesson where the students are coming into your classroom and you have a short amount of time to 'hook' them into the lesson and engage them. We were told that too often this time is lost due to taking the register, handing out books, students getting settled etc and the chance to provide them with something to excite them about the lesson is lost.
Ways in which we were told we could 'hook' the class in were:
by providing a quick 'settler' activity on students' desks or on the board
showing a short video clip
having a picture up on the screen that links to that lesson's content
having a prop ready etc
I make an effort to do this in all of my lessons but know that this isn't always achieved. Sometimes the 'meerkat time' is lost due to getting students in and settled and I'm then standing at the front of the class about to get their attention and have found that they are just sat there waiting for me to tell them what we're doing, provide them with some sort of stimulus and essentially get them excited about what they're about to do for the hour. It wasn't until I was reminded of this crucial part of the lesson that I really started to reflect on the impact not having this time makes for the rest of the lesson. So, for the rest of the week I have attempted to put pictures on the board, starter activities to be getting on with whilst others come in, activities handed out to students as I meet and greet them at the door etc.
You can see some examples of my 'Meerkat Time' in future posts...