When I taught at a tech school (adults) I found that telling them ahead of time what I would be doing really helped.
A DOS class was told that the first half of the course would be giving them pieces of a picture puzzle (the commands), and the second half would be assembling them into something useful (programs).
They always understood what they were in for.
Although I later realized that this was a form of the military - Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them - I felt that I had invented something at the time. Oh well.
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