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Do Nows

April 2, 2018

It could be difficult to get students ready for a difficult lesson or to any kind of lesson at 8. They need some kind of warm-up to get their brains/moods tuned right before you start your lesson. This is why I find Do Now activities useful.


What are Do Now activities?

Do now activities are quick light (?) activities that can be used to start your lesson. They are meant to be easy to understand without your involvement, and should be done individually and quietly.

As recommended by many teachers who have used these activities, one way to ensure a successful implementation (?)  is to make them a regular part of your lessons, on a weekly or daily basis. You can find them helpful when you need time to set up for your lesson, like rearrange desks into groups or so.


How to set them up?

Although our lessons are mainly laptop-based, it could be a good idea to make these activities paper-based. This way students won’t have to wait for their laptops to turn on because it is unpredictable that you will ask them to use a laptop in a laptop-based classroom! 😒😒 Also, having it on paper will eliminate any possible “I can’t open it” or so problems. Students can either do it on their notebooks, or you can give out weekly do-now worksheets (example), which might make it easier for you to track.


Instructions should be clear to avoid the need for clarification from the teacher or side chats. They should also be displayed throughout the activity to accommodate latecomers, probably on the board or screen. These activities should also be doable in 3-5 minutes. A countdown timer on the screen can be helpful. It is also best to try and make these activities relevant to your lessons, theme/skill/topic/… .




One common example is to have students free write about an accessible topic, something they can easily relate to or casually talk about. This website lists many interesting prompts.

Students can also complete a language worksheet to reinforce skills covered that week/cycle. I know, it sounds really old-school, but it’s could be a nice change of pace :) . This website offers many grammar printables, and this one offers many, many language worksheets.

Spelling activities can be helpful. These are some examples: jumbled words, missing letters, matching word parts, and word search. You can use this website for ready-to-print worksheets or the spelling lab lists (common IELTS words) to create word lists.

You can also target reading skills. Students can complete some of these readings comprehension worksheets, or you can have them do some skimming and scanning activities. Speed reading, or timed reading, activities can also be received well. You can find passages here, or use Reading Power, one of my favorite books.

April 2, 2018
Lesson Plans & Ideas

Sebah Al-Ali

An ESL lecturer whose experience in programming and web development has made her passionate about integrating technology in her classes. She’s mainly interested in how technology can be efficiently utilized to facilitate active learning, develop interactive curriculum, and train teachers.

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