Preparing the introduction for my lesson reminds me of preparing a ‘flight plan” before take off. Everything needs to be in order, in my mind. I go over my notes, my materials, do a run-through in my mind, check and re-check.
These “starter sets”, or introductions, can include a variety of different elements to “hook” your students into the lesson as you get started. It is important to grab them at the beginning and begin to turn that attention into engagement with the lesson concepts.
Yesterday, in my public speaking class, we were focusing on using “attention getters” and “transitions” in a speech. I began by asking the students about what exciting adventures they had over Spring Break. That was my lead into the lesson, which began with my exciting adventure over spring break. The personal story that I shared with them to introduce the lesson was sprinkled with a variety of “attention getters” such as:
- activity and movement (which you can’t “see” in this audio below)
- proximity (referring to someone else in the room)
- novelty (the type of therapy I spoke about)
- familiarity (a different personal story I shared with the class a few weeks prior when we worked on introductions)
- suspense (building the students up after telling them I got 50 injections)
- a bit of humor (joking about how I handled the injections better than my husband who was only watching)
- “the vital” (which appeals to audience sense of value, make life better, save time, save money, etc.).
I noticed that my transitions were not as smooth as I had hoped to demonstrate for my students. I used a lot of “ands” and “sos”, rather than varying my transition words, or using pauses. We discussed this after my intro and did a fishbowl activity in which two groups were able to orally practice “attention getters” on a given topic. This was followed by a brief discussion of “transitions” as compared to driving a stick shift with smooth shifting (no grinding of the gears effect!). The students then had practice with coming up with transitions in the following “Transition Card Pair-Share”:
- Students partnered up and came up with one sentence (absolutely anything!)
- I passed out a sentence that I created on a slip of paper to each pair
- The pair worked together to create a transition statement to tie the two sentences together smoothly.
- Much hilarity ensued due to the nature of the funny statements I gave them, i.e.: There are many things you can say about your dog, but not your roommate.
Overall, this activity was very successful in that students really understood and practiced how to create transitions, which are critical to a fluid speech in order for the audience to follow.
Note: To get my audio recording, I did the following:
- Recorded my intro via my iPhone 5s (using VoiceMemo app)
- Emailed the VoiceMemo to myself
- Downloaded the VoiceMemo (Mp4)
- Logged into my SoundCloud free account and uploaded the Mp4
- Once uploaded, I selected the Share menu and copied the provided code and pasted it into this WordPress post (this last step can be a little tricky as free WordPress pages don’t seem to like the code). Feel free to keep in simple and just create a hyperlink to the URL of your SoundCloud audio file.