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Teaching/Learning Center

The First Five Minutes

Activate the First 5 Minutes Of Class

- from "Small Changes in Teaching" by James M. Lang (January 11,2016) The Chronicle of Higher Education.


According to Lang, "The opening five minutes offer us a rich opportunity to capture the attention of students and prepare them for learning." Rather than focusing on administrative tasks such as taking attendance and/or review of homework, try the following:


Open with a question or two "that qualify as important andfascinating. You might even let students give preliminary answers for a few moments, and then again in the closing minutes, to help them recognize how their understanding has deepened over the course period."


What did we learn last time? "Spend a few minutes at the opening of class reviewing what happened in the previous session."

Ask students to remind you "of the key points from the last session . . . Reactivate what they learned in previous courses."

Ask students to tell you what they already know (or think they know). "This lights up the parts of their brains that connect to your course material, so when they encounter new material, they will process it in a richer knowledge context. Second, it lets you know what preconceptions students have about your course material. That way, your lecture, discussion, or whatever you plan for class that day can specifically deal with and improve upon the knowledge actually in the room, rather than the knowledge you imagine to be in the room."


Write it down. "Starting with five minutes of writing helps students make the transition from the outside world to the classroom."

Collaboration + Group Projects + Critique

An important element of student-centered, more engaged, learning is collaboration. When students interact and work with each other, they take a more active role in the classroom, which increases the potential to deepen and strengthen learning.

The Flipped Classroom


"The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. The notion of a flipped classroom draws on such concepts as active learning, student engagement, hybrid course design, and course podcasting. The value of a flipped class is in the repurposing of class time into a workshop where students can inquire about lecture content, test their skills in applying knowledge, and interact with one another in hands-on activities" (Educause).

Active Learning + Engaging Students

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