Top 3 Tried and Tested Lesson Starters!

EducationCity includes a whole variety of content types, which can be used in a multitude of ways to support teaching and learning in the classroom. 

Here, our Education Consultant, Haylie, talks about three lesson starter ideas, using three different content types on EducationCity. Having used them in classes herself, she guarantees they’ll engage your young students and prepare them mentally for the lesson ahead. 

Do you like these ideas or have suggestions of your own to share? We’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email us on

Video Transcript

Ideally, any lesson starter we use needs to be engaging and reflective, getting our students interested and prepared for the lesson ahead, whilst still asking them to think about and possibly discuss what they may already know.

So here are my top three tried and tested EducationCity lesson starters: 

1. ThinkIts 

Place a ThinkIt onto your interactive whiteboard prior to the lesson, so that your class has something to focus on as soon as they come in. They’ll ultimately have a read of the question and then turn to a peer or buzz partner to start chatting about what the answer might be. You can then use the answers as a part of your introduction to the lesson or turn to it at the end as part of a plenary.  

The great thing is, as most of our ThinkIts have a next step question, there’s always the opportunity to extend learning into greater depth or just use this as tomorrow’s lesson! 

The maths ones are absolutely amazing for maths mastery, they require problem solving and justification skills. Whereas the English ones, work great for discussion and debate work, really getting the children talking to one another. And the science ones? Well, they’re fantastic for the lead up to an investigation or experiment, and really get the children thinking about their testing! 

2. PlayLive 

Want to start the lesson with a game? Well, what could be more engaging whilst still testing mental recall skills for the four maths operations, or for spelling? 

Show PlayLive on your interactive whiteboard and give each student an individual whiteboard and pens on their tables. When they come into class and they see this on the board, I guarantee they’ll be so eager to start.  

The great thing about using PlayLive this way is it’s completely inclusive. Your middle-ability pupils will be able to link the letters together to create their words. Your students who maybe struggle a little bit with their spelling, they can pick any letter from anywhere to get their words; and maybe your higher-ability pupils – those ones you know can do the spelling – they’ve got to put their words into a descriptive sentence or expanded noun phrase in order for you to accept it! 

You might also create a PlayLive ‘Champions League’ for your students, having a league system for points scored in that session. It’s a great tool to use! 

3. Mind Map Topic Tool 

Now being a teacher, I obviously love ALL Topic Tools, with the Story Starter Machine and Mental Maths Tests being two of my absolute favourites. But this Topic Tool is slightly underrated. People don’t really know it’s there, and yet it will appear in every single subject area. 

As a starter activity, you can use it to discuss what the students already know about a lesson. You then might want to turn it into the KWL – what do they want to know? – and ask the questions that way. The great thing about this Topic Tool is that it has a number of features that other content types don’t have, such as: 

  • Accessibility function – this enables you to put a tinted overlay onto the screen for students with dyslexia or dyscalculia, so you can still include them within your lesson. 
  • An onscreen keyboard – this is fantastic because it will enable students to come up and type in their own answers. 
  • The Save and Open function – meaning you can pre-create your mind map for the children to come back to. And obviously you can save them to keep coming back to and adding more and more onto. So by the end of the lesson, the children are writing about what they’ve learned in each area. It essentially becomes a learning map. The children could use it individually to create their own, you could put it on the board to do as a class or print it off because it has that option as well. 

So, those are my top three EducationCity lesson starters. If you have any that you’d like to share with us, please do. We’d love to hear from you. Simply email us at! I look forward to seeing you soon. Bye!