Learn.Using quotations for the Anticipatory Set. New Zealand


When students arrive in my class each morning or afternoon they know exactly what to expect, some pearl of wisdom from some member of the human family that in some way shape or form connects to them personally, our school or our world. They know that they are expected to jot down the quotation and THINK about the three/four why’s.

Why is this important to me? 

Why is this important to this class? 

Why is this important to my school? (Sometimes)

Why is this important to the world? 

After a few minutes of silent writing and reflection I ask if anyone would like to share their ideas or understanding of the quotation. Usually sharing is a quick 5-7 minute activity, but sometimes these quotations completely de-rail my lesson plans and the conversation that ensues turns into a way greater lesson on life and the world than I could have ever possibly planned.

Let’s get started.

New Students: (this is one of my all-time favorite class starters)

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” -Bruce Lee

Returning Students:

“You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call “Failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford


As an educator, this does a lot for each and every one of my classes. First and foremost this anticipatory set gets students thinking, not only about curricular content but instead their place in the greater context of the world. Secondly, it gets the students speaking and sharing their ideas and personal viewpoints. Fostering self-confidence and reassuring that everyone’s voice is equal is a key component to my classes of international students at THINK Global School. Thirdly, it gives us a known and established routine to start class each session. Later in the class students should be ready to think, consider their place in the world, and share viewpoints the same way they did in the opening 5-7 minutes. Students would share that my classroom climate is a warm one, and I attribute a good portion of this to using quotations as anticipatory sets.

Current students, former students, and colleagues if you have been moved or remember a certain quotation that you learned in my class please share it in the comments below.


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