Lesson Starter Ideas for your Whiteboard

Here are a few ideas taken from some of the talks I have given this academic year for ideas on using your Interactive Whiteboard during lesson starters. They could also be used as plenary tasks. Some of the ideas you may have seen before in various places (such as the Canada, Germany talks), but I’m bundling them up into one file for you to download.

Here are some of the activities that are in the file:

Organ Reveal : A student comes to the board and pulls out an organ. They then have one minute to talk about the organ and its role in the body without repetition or pauses…. I’ve also included the fishing rod and balloon activities from previous presentations.

Put it in the box : This activity makes use of the layer feature. One group of objects will go into the box, the other group will not go into the box. In this example drag the insects into the box…. Easily adaptable for any two groups of objects.

To customise. Add all the items to the page. Unlock the front of the box and “send to front”. Relock. Then select all the objects that do not go into the box and “send to front”. They will stay outside, while the other objects will now go inside the box again.

Keyword Bingo : Pupils use a selection of words to create a bingo grid on a piece of paper. Teacher can then reveal definitions at random. Cross it off the grid and see who can get three in a row and a full house.

Plenary Circle : Simple idea, but can be used at all key stages. Pull in pairs of words to make “I know that…. ” sentences. If you have a more able group, you could leave one word in for the next pupil to use in their sentence – this means you have to think more carefully about the range of words you put around the edge of the circle.

Word Builder : How many words can you make that relate to science. Give everyone time to make as many words as they can. Students can come to the board to show examples of the words they have made.

Use the links below to download a version of the file for your whiteboard:

Promethean ActivInspireVersion : Download here

Smart Notebook 10 Version : Download here

If you use the files, I’d love to hear how they went. If you do adapt them for your own subject, please let me know what you did – I’d be interested in having a copy. It’s always good to get ideas from other subjects. All my resources are covered by a Creative Commons Share-Alike license. I am more than happy for you to pass on, rework and modify any of the files that I produce. BUT…. share alike. You got it for free, pass it on for free 🙂

And a subtle plug – if you ever want training sessions on how to make these kind of resources – please get in touch. I’m happy to travel around the UK and can go further afield if dates allow. Email me for more information.

Author: Danny Nicholson

Danny is an author, Science teacher, ICT Consultant, PGCE lecturer and computing / interactive whiteboard trainer. He has delivered training courses across the UK, in Europe, and in Canada. Please get in touch with your training requests.

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  1. Your great ideas are appreciated very much and are ones that I can easily adapt to high school.

  2. These are all wonderful ideas for using our IWBs to engage our students. Thanks so much for sharing! I’ll keep you posted on how they work here in Canada.

  3. Thanks Blaine – please do let me know how well they go down. Would love to see any ways they’re adapted for your subject.

  4. Thanks for putting this together. I’m going to have a whiteboard in my class for the first time this coming year. I know this information will help.


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