Bridge-in/Intro: Setting the scene for active learning (Part II: A template)


In my previous post, I used the analogy of an opening scene (Footloose) to illustrate the role that the bridge-in plays in setting up expectations for further learning.

To plan and facilitate active learning, I use a BOPPPS lesson plan template that I’ve modified slightly from resource provided through the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) Resource Network.  My version has four vertical columns labeled “what I do” (teaching methods, instructions for myself), “how to encourage students to actively engage” (notes on facilitation including examples of questions to ask students), “what my students do” (learning activities), and “intended learning objectives or outcome”.  This template forces me to plan in more detail exactly how I am facilitating active learning in my lessons instead of simply focusing on the teaching method.  I’ve included two examples below, focusing on bridge-in techniques, to demonstrate what I mean.  As you will see, the last example links the bridge-in with another component of BOPPPS, i.e. the summary.

What I do/teaching technique: tell story to link real life experience (my own or others) with the topic of the lesson

How to encourage students to actively engage/what my students do: I facilitate discussion (usually noting down what questions I might ask) whereby students think about/share/discuss/write down similar real life experiences that they’ve had

Intended outcome: for students to build their own meaningful or personal associations to the course content 

What I do/teaching technique: use a recent world event to relay significance or relevance of the lesson

How to encourage students to actively engage/what my students do: During the bridge-in, I involve students in the discussion of the event, using questions.  I ask students to recall information from the previous lesson and drop some hints about upcoming information in the lesson for the day.  During the summary, I ask students to recall the event we discussed in the bridge-in. Then I ask students to discuss or write down at least one example of how the event might impact individuals or society at local, regional, or global levels (I usually set this up so different students are working on generating different examples).   This activity can be undertaken in small groups if the class size is relatively small, or in a larger class, by asking the students to individually write down their responses.  As part of this activity, I find it’s important to debrief a few examples with the entire class to make sure students are on the right track.

Intended outcome: practice for students to synthesize and apply course content