Clanin's Corner

December Newsletter

Shooting for Success

Last newsletter began with the end in mind(closure) since we begin our planning with that thinking. Once the end is established, how should a lesson begin? Whether it be Madeline Hunter or Best Practices, the Anticipatory Set is still a tried and true method.

Why Is It So Important to Start with an Anticipatory Set?

  • Focuses students’ attention on the lesson
  • Creates an organizing framework for the ideas, principles, or information
  • Extends understanding and the application of ideas.

It is the attention-getter/hook for the lesson. This gets the attention of the students and generates interest by creating a need to know.

The goal is to prepare the students to learn so teachers do not have to spend a great deal of time getting the students interested.

Key Items for an Anticpatory Set

Essential Questions

  1. How will I most effectively introduce the lesson?
  2. How can I involve as many students as possible, piquing their interests for the subject matter to come?
  3. What do the students need to know before I can delve into the lesson plan itself and direct instruction?
  4. How should I inform my students of the lesson’s context and objective in kid-friendly language?


  • A short activity or prompt that focuses the students‟ attention before the actual lesson begins
  • Links students’ prior learning to new learning
  • Works best if it’s thought provoking, interesting, fun, or exciting
  • Links to the learning objectives and lesson purpose in friendly language?

Creative Ways to Begin a Lesson

  • Tell a short story that gets students interested in the lesson
  • Get students moving. Make it a game, or something where they respond to you by standing
  • Ask a personal question
  • Use a video clip related to the topic
  • Students complete a metaphor that requires them to relate the topic to an unlike object or activity
  • (________)_is like__(an activity or object)__ because...
  • KWL
  • Paired Verbal Fluency
  • Musical connection
  • Bring an object related to the topic
  • Provocative Questions
  • Review of previous lesson(s)
  • Picture – Cartoon
  • Startling or unexpected statement related to topic
  • Refer students to specific visuals/ graphic organizers/ thinking maps
  • Review the main ideas of yesterday's lesson which will be extended today
  • State ways a skill might be useful in daily life

Follow the Anticipatory Set with the Lesson Objective and Purpose

Students will generally spend more time and effort, and consequently increase their learning if they know at the beginning of the lesson what they are going to learn and why it is important to them.