Phase One: Warm Up

Warm Up
10 mintues
Work Out
30 mintues
Cool Down
10 minutes

The warm up activity plays a very important role in setting the stage to work in the session. Students have either just heard lecture or have had time to forget it when they attend – the warm up allows the leader to refresh basic concepts before moving on to higher-order thinking skills in the work-out.

The warm-up activity is a great time to look at the prerequisite knowledge assumed in any lesson or lecture. It may not seem important, but students cannot begin to learn new material until they understand the prerequisite knowledge. It’s not just the official class prerequisites, either. Without knowledge of English composition and writing, students may have difficulty taking an essay test. Without basic algebra, students may have difficulty in even an introductory economics course.

Look to the example activity below to get a feel for how good warm up activities are structured and how you can make your own. Remember, creativity is a virtue!

Clear Point, Muddy Point

Students will share a “clear point” – something they understand fully – and a “muddy point” – something on which they need clarification.

Can be shared verbally or written on index cards and discussed. Index cards provide a great way to engage students who are reluctant to speak.

Example Activity: Clear Point, Muddy Point

This activity (inset) is a great warm up activity. Students are given time to think about the material in lecture and self-evaluate.

It also is a great discussion starter and can help you identify what concepts the students find difficult. From there you can choose an appropriate work out activity.

This activity is also flexible. You can use it with a group that is not very comfortable with admitting weakness or is reluctant to speak up. All around, an exemplary warm up.

Environmental Awareness

Many factors contribute to the success of SI sessions, but one in particular is often overlooked. The physical environment of a session influences the attitude and receptiveness of its participants; by (literally) setting the stage for a successful session, leaders can enhance its interactions and effectiveness. In your planning, consider the room arrangement – how you will group the students – as well as where you will place yourself. Keep in mind that the classic lecture-style arrangement creates a division between you and the students, so avoid standing at the board alone!

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