The Importance of an Introductory Activity

You know I’m an advocate for the four part lesson plan. The four parts being an Introductory or a warm up activity, Physical Fitness section, Lesson Focus and finally finishing with a Closing Activity. I want to pick one of those parts today and share with you how important the introductory activity is in the scheme of things.

Start the Class Strong

An Introductory activity only lasts two to three minutes. It can go longer if need be, but it sets the stage for your lesson. In fact, you know there’s pretty good evidence to show that if the deviancy rate and off-task behavior rate is low at the start of your lesson and you keep it low, it will stay that way throughout the entire lesson. However, if you start your lesson, let a lot of misbehavior and off task behavior go, your lessons probably going to get out of control. Almost all introductory activities are based on locomotor movements. They’re designed to give youngsters immediate activity when they enter the movement area. It gives them the opportunity to get warmed up and prepared for the fitness component that’s about to follow. It also gives you a chance to work on management and behavior and to shape the behavior the way you want. It really is the part of the lesson where you set the flavor for the rest of the lesson.

Shape Behavior

I really like to use the Introductory Activity as a place to shape the behavior of my class. For example, I’ll run and freeze them a number of times to try to get the entire class with me. If there’s a few youngsters off task, I’ll chat with them about that and I’ll certainly reinforce over and over the youngsters who are doing a great job. In fact, that’s always your first effort is to reinforce the behavior you want and then later privately correct the behavior that you think is off task.

Instant Activity

As you can see, I really value the Introductory Activity. To me it’s the most important part of the lesson and it sets the stage for a lot of reasons. Number one, it gives students immediate activity when they come to the area of movement. They want to move right away. They want activity and it gives you many opportunities to run and freeze them and run in freezing them and shape them and talk about off task behavior and on task behavior and what you desire out of the class and just to raise the general enthusiasm level of the class.

Great Lead Up Activity for Fitness Component

Secondly, it serves as a time to physiologically warm them up for the next part of the lesson, which is fitness and that makes a lot of sense. And finally it raises the enthusiasm of the entire class, which in turn raises your enthusiasm. Let’s face it, you teach many periods a day and you’re tired. But the class at the end of the day deserves just as much energy and enthusiasm from you as does the first class and I find if I can get my class working together and get them excited about what’s to come, it’ll raise my enthusiasm. And that’s probably the most important variable at the end of the day that there is in teaching a successful lesson.

Think of it this way. When you meet somebody, a good introduction is really important as to how they feel about you and just think of it. Your class is coming in to meet you. So good introductory activity will be good for you and be good for them.

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