TEFL Warmers: Short Activities To Start Class

walk371.jpgIt’s often effective to start each class with a short but useful English language activity. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Moving Questions – if you have enough students and enough room. Or, give them a small stack of questions which they turn over one by one and answer in pairs.
  • I Am You – students have to imagine they are someone else (usually another student in the class but why not a famous person) and answer some questions or finish some statements on that person’s behalf…the other students have to guess who they are. I sometimes do a quick “Karen, what did Min Soo do this weekend?” and after she answers, Min Soo tells us if her guess is correct or not. Probably not, but that doesn’t matter in the least. It can get funny if your students have a sense of humor.
  • Explaining Words – students in pairs brainstorm words on a topic (school, holidays, food – each group picks its own), make a list of 10, then re-pair and have to explain the words to their new partner.
  • Confusing Questions – this works best with higher levels because it’s important they understand the directions well. It’s also quite funny to do if you have students who frequently arrive late because they will be totally thrown. First, you should come up with and write down a list of random questions which require relatively short answers – could be yes/no or could just be “Paris” “27” “Because I’m too short”. You ask the questions going in a circle around the room, but the first student you ask should remain silent and not answer. Then you move to the second student and ask the second question. BUT he gives his answer to the first question, the one you asked the other student. It continues like this – with you asking questions and students giving apparently ridiculous answers. The point is, they have to pay attention and remember your questions. A rule of thumb might be, if you think the instructions will take longer than the activity, skip it.
  • General Chit-Chat – about current local events or news. Get students involved with questions on relevant topics and check that they are listening (to each other) with a couple of “Do you agree?”-s. Information on local events can help you too!