3 Fun and Easy Warm-Ups

My basic level students, Andreia and Flavia, are gaining comfort with me and with the whole experience of filming for YouTube. (See my Basic English playlist.) They start each lesson with smiles and willingness, but it certainly helps to warm up, and so I’ve had a fun time doing simple speaking tasks to get us…

Leveraging Online Tools for Student Engagement and Follow-Up

Many of us use warm-up activities at the start of a lesson. They can be simple or clever in design, and the nature of a warm-up might remain light and fun or become a bit more thought-provoking. The first goal, of course, is to get students thinking in English. We want them to use the language actively,…

Pot-luck Practice with Participles

March 17 is the next big holiday on the U.S. calendar. For many, St. Patrick’s Day evokes images of leprechauns with pots of gold. Have some fun with a play on words and teach the concept of a pot-luck dinner. Ask if anyone has ever attended such a meal where all invited guests bring a…

Playful Props

Do you keep a bag of props in your classroom? I’ve known teachers who used various props in their grammar and vocabulary presentations, from hand puppets to bouncing balls.  Props can also come in handy for making stories. We all know about chain stories, but consider the variations listed below. All you need is a large…

Food Fest: A warm-up activity

This one was inspired by a recent trip to the grocery store, where I broke my rule and began buying a number of things that weren’t originally on my grocery list. I think a good amount of conversation could result by allowing students to tap into their culinary creativity, and those without a clue in…

Monday Mysteries: A warm-up activity

Looking for new ways to get your students talking on a Monday morning? Give this idea some consideration. It’s ideal for intermediate or advanced students, but could work with upper beginners who are confident about forming questions and statements in the simple past tense. STEP 1 – Give each student a slip of paper. Have…

Firsts: A Warm-Up Activity

On the occasion of New Year’s Day, I’d like to offer a communicative activity called Firsts.  Students will be prompted to share memories about first-time experiences. The twist is for the class to decide if a student is telling his/ her own story or another’s. STEP 1 – Prepare slips of paper with topics. They…

The Breakfast Club: A warm-up activity for basic level students

Warm-up activities put students in the right frame of mind to study and use English. Ideally, these are 5-to-10-minute communicative exercises that encourage interaction, collaboration, and self-expression.  They are especially practical after a weekend-break and in longer lessons that allow an hour or more of class time. But even if you teach relatively short lessons…