5 Attention Grabbing
Ways To Start A Lesson

Anticipatory Set Lesson Planning Ideas

Got an awesome topic you’re about to present to your class?  It’s only awesome if you can grab your students’ attention.  You know, engage them in the lesson.  If you don’t get their attention in the beginning, the rest of the lesson might be a lost cause.

That’s where the anticipatory set comes in.  Get your students hooked on what they are going to learn about by grabbing their attention with an anticipatory set.  Incorporate this into your lesson planning to make your efforts pay off and make learning meaningful and fun for your class.

Anticipatory sets are sort of like fishing…hook, line, and sinker!


Hook questions are a great anticipatory set to introduce a lesson.  Lesson hooks are a creative way to open up a lesson or introduce a new theme.  You can hook your students with activities that involve them in the learning process. 

Fishers entice fish with different baits on their hook.  Here are some ways to entice your students with learning the subject you’re about to present.


Instead of telling your class, “Today we’re going to learn about….” spark curiosity by demonstrating what you’re going to teach.  Not only that, involve your students with the demonstration…but don’t divulge all the details.  Keep them wondering what’s next as you reveal the information.  Anticipation, right?

* Demonstrate a problem that needs to be solved and ask the class for help. See what they come up with.
* Call on volunteers to help with the demo but don’t give away their roles right away.
* Demonstrate the lesson through games like “100 questions,” “I Spy,” or a guessing game.
* Write a song about that demonstrates topic and teach it to your class


Another component of an anticipatory set is creating connections.  Grab your students attention by helping them draw lines and connect the dots of what they already know to what they will be learning.

Fishers cast their line out into the water.  Help your students cast their lines by making learning personal to them.  You can grab their attention by posing these questions:

* “What do you know so far?”
* “So what? What’s the big deal in knowing this and why do you need to know more?”
* “How will this benefit you?”
* “What more do you want to know?”
* “How would you design an investigation/experiment for….”



Sinkers are what adds weight to the bait to catch the fish.  They have heft but they are small.  Help information sink in with your students with meaty information in bite sized pieces.

How do you pack a punch in a little nugget?  Try out these anticipatory set ideas:

* Use a famous quote or mantra that captures the essence of the topic.
* Use visuals. Let the pictures tell the story about what you’re about to teach.
* Object lessons: Pick an object that gets the point across and let students try out the object.

Hook, line and sinker. Just a few attention grabbing ways to incorporate anticipatory sets into your lesson planning!  We’re not stopping there though!  Here are 2 more in-depth anticipatory sets for you to take a bite out of.

Act It Out!

If you’re presenting a lesson that includes vocabulary words, lesson terms or story lines let your students act it out!  Here’s how it works:

* Introduce the lesson or topic with a title, like a title of a play
* Then explain to learn what this story is about, the following will be acted out…
* Write the words on the board or
* Read a related story out loud
* Call on volunteers and assign words or story roles to act out
* Let students create their own way of displaying their roles and act out the scene
* Then wrap up activity by saying the class will explore more about it in the following lesson to become academy award winning by then end of the unit


Debate It Out

Respectful debates are a fun way to get students thinking, open up their minds, express opinions, and learn other viewpoints.  This anticipatory set is a great way for students to put learning into their own words and make learning personal too.  For this activity:

* Pose introductory questions or statements related to the topic and arrange them in different parts of the room
* Review the questions or statements with class
* Instruct class to go stand by the question/statements they agree with, relate to etc.
* Instruct each group to come up with reasons why they are standing next to the statement they chose and to share with the rest of class.  Remind other groups to be respectful.
* Wrap up activity by explaining as the class goes deeper into the topic will come back to the activity to see how views or opinions have changed after learning more about it.

When you grab your students’ attention you are also grabbing your own believe it or not!  Using anticipatory sets makes the day livelier for everyone.  You create curiosity and wake-up brains.  Try one of these anticipatory sets with your lessons to make teaching and learning fun!

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