Designing explicit ways to create a sense of anticipation in lessons can prove to be a powerful way to enable students to make clear links between their past, present and future learning; just the kind of Marginal Learning Gain that’s worth exploring, and one that builds a sense of AGENCY. This may involve a simple tweak to the original lesson design, by changing how you reveal the learning outcomes or main focus for the lesson or, if you really go for it, it could involve a flipping of the lesson in its entirety.

The image here is just one idea you might like to use as a plenary, where you ask students to predict (a nice higher order thinking opportunity and one to build AFFILIATION) what the next lesson will focus on, based on their learning from this or the previous series of lessons. Answers can be submitted as the students leave the room and the answer revealed at the start of the next lesson. You could even try introducing a regular ‘predict-the-learning’ segment to your lessons with rewards / choices for what they would like to learning more about (AUTONOMY) included as part of the process.

Anticipation can be used as a hook at the start of the lesson, at various points throughout the lesson (the ‘wait & see’ or ‘can you see what it is yet?’ approach) or to connect a sequence of lessons together, requiring the students to make those connections for themselves.

Below are five great ideas from my ever-so creative and inspirational friend, Hywel Roberts.

Building anticipa……………………………………….tion

(A lovely guest insert-post from Hywel Roberts @hywel_roberts)

In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Brad and Janet find themselves at the mercy of ‘a hunting lodge for rich weirdos’ presided over by the shockjock Frank N. Furter. They somehow manage to be totally unphased by the predicament they find themselves in. I love this film and have tenuously crowbarred it into this post!

Thanks to @thelearningspy for his request for 5 ways of building anticipation with classes. I’m sure you’ll have plenty, but here are some of mine.

Five ways of building anticipation into your lessons:

5. Move rooms – go somewhere unconventional or unexpected

4. Place a ‘teaser’ poster on your door along the lines of ‘PLAGUE HERE’

3. Wear something that reflects a theme in your lesson (and, if you’re up for it, go completely Teacher in Role)

2. Share your main keywords at the start of the lesson, film your kids’ responses to them, then playback these responses at the end – how have their ‘reactions’ moved on?

1. Use fascinators and lures to hook the class in – pictures, sounds or objects that stop them in their tracks.

Thanks. Have a look at my book for more stuff like this:



And finally…

Jim Smith (@thelazyteacher) refers to the concept of building anticipation as the Eastenders’ ‘doof-doof’ (drum sound!) at the end of the lesson. So when you’re looking at building anticipation in lessons, ask yourself, what’s the integral cliff-hanger for YOUR lesson…?

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