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How to Start Your Lesson Effectively with ‘Do Now’

This week, we consider how to begin lessons promptly and with purpose. Every moment of your lesson is a learning opportunity, including the first few when your students enter the classroom. So, how do you use these minutes effectively? Try planning a ‘Do Now’ to use in your lesson!

What is ‘Do Now’?

Learners independently complete a short task the moment the enter the classroom. Note, that you, as the teacher, will need to prepare it before the lesson by writing the instructions on the board, prior to the lesson beginning and you welcoming the students into the classroom.

What tips do we have for planning a ‘Do Now?’

  1. Write the ‘Do Now’ in the same place every day, so the learners know where to look for it when they come in. This ensures they know where to look the minute they enter the classroom and can start thinking straight away. If learners are already in the classroom, it is still an excellent way to switch mentally to the new subject.
  2. Learners must be able to complete the ‘Do Now’ without any help from you, without discussing with their classmates and without needing any resources. They must have enough knowledge to be able to do it.
  3. The ‘Do Now’ should take only 3-5 minutes to complete and no more than one minute to check (the ‘Do Now’ is the start to the lesson, not the main lesson, so keep timings tight).
  4. If possible, the ‘Do Now’ should be completed with a pencil and paper, enabling a quick check from you.
  5. The ‘Do Now’ should generally either preview the day’s lesson (what you are about to teach) or a previous lesson (to check understanding).
  6. Most of the class should be able to do it – so pitch it at the right level.
  7. Choose a clear signal so learners know you are counting down to finish the ‘Do Now’, i.e., counting down from 10, or saying, ‘Finish in three, finish in two, finish in one’ and they must then put their pencils down and listen.

Want to find out more about ‘Do Now’?

We also have a video on this topic on our YouTube channel, which you can watch below:

‘Do Now’ was the topic covered in this month’s workshop. Join us for our next workshop, on October 26th at 3pm UK time, where our Teach2030 Ambassador for Liberia, James Carbah, explores how to use the ‘No-Hands-Up’ technique. To sign up, click this link.