Now, these suggested activities don’t reinvent the wheel, but they do serve as useful prompts, thought-provokers or recap opportunities for Sociology (or other) students. Personally, I like my settler and starter to be explicitly linked to the content of the lesson, but I often recap a previous lesson’s learning or reintroduce some long forgotten key terms. The following is a non-exhaustive list of some settlers that have worked well across a variety of AS and A2 Sociology topics. The formats of which can be used over and over for any subject and for any key stage.
- What do these people have in common? Show images of two or more celebrities or historical figures that all have something in common: Henry the Eighth and Jennifer Lopez are both serial monogamists; Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Julia Roberts were all raised by single-parents
- What does this graph represent? Project a graph, chart or table and hide/withhold the title. You could give students a hint about the theme (e.g., a criminal act) but I like to be more abstract. Projection of world happiness maps always intrigue students, and lead to good discussions about the link between wealth, health and happiness.
- Blank the stat: In large text present a key statistic but delete important information, be it the figure itself or perhaps what the statistic portrays. For example: ‘ ___% of school exclusions are males’, or ‘1,800 calls per day in the UK are made to the Police regarding _________’.
- Cryptic keywords: Find an image that represents a key term. You can be literal or more metaphorical. A picture of a guitar and a bread roll can depict Parson’s theory of the instrumental role. Yes, I know that’s stupid but it’s way of asking students to recall key terms and you can ask them to define in the follow up. A series of these also makes a quick plenary.
- Keyword stakes: Ask students to bet how many keywords they can define from an extensive list of familiar, or even unfamiliar, key words. This serves as a great way to introduce new terms, or as a way of recapping at the end of a unit.
- Something to think about: It could be an image, headline or abstract question that you briefly discuss when all students are seated/ready. My favourite is showing male/female perfume adverts from magazines next to one another and asking ‘What do these fragrances smell like?’ I used this to look at semiotics and advertising, but it can be used when examining gender representation, mass media, gender norms and values and even research methods.