Beginning a lesson with a warm-up activity has many advantages. I can just list some as
- waking up tired students
- breaking the ice
- encouraging students to talk and think on the subject
- allowing students to settle down and prepare for the lesson
- previewing or revising a particular language area
- introducing the topic
- providing humour
- starting the lesson with a smile
- energising your students
- proving oral fluency practice
- and they are easy to prepare
There are many activities that can be used as warm-ups. Course books usually support the teachers with a short activity but from time to time, to surprise the students we can bring drama into the classroom. I’ll just list here a few drama activities and a few links for websites in this post.
- Divide the class into two and tell students to stand as 2 lines. Tell them Line 1 will form a circle and that will be the inner one, line 2 will form another circle around the inner circle. Set time limits. Ask students to come face to face and talk about a) something they remember from yesterday b)what they know about the topic you are going to work on. When the time is up, tell outer circle to move until you stop them and inner circle to wait for a new partner. (You can play music while they are moving) When they stop, they can talk on the same topic with their new partners. You can finish the activity after a few rounds.
- The teacher gives a piece of paper to the students and asks them to write at least 5 features of their character. The teacher collects the papers from the students and puts 4 chairs in a + shape. Then the teacher reads the features written on the papers and students who have those features are asked to gather around the same chair. Then the students can talk about their similarities. You can even put them in groups and ask them to create a class poster. This activity will be a great 1st week activity even with large classes.
- Group your students and ask them to freeze frame a few scenes from the previous chapters of the book you have been reading after each scene the rest of the class try to guess which scene is in the frozen frame.
- GoNoodle is a fun website you can find many videos and use them as warmers or energizers when you feel your students are getting bored.
- Famous Movie Segments for Warm-ups and Follow-ups will come handy when you need something different.
Have a great term
September 13th is the Roald Dahl day and this year it’s his 100th birthday. Regular readers know that I’m fond of Roald Dahl stories and I love using them in class. I just wanted to bring some links that you’d like to use with your classes.
Here the schools are not open yet but I’ll start the year with some Roald Dahl stories with my Grade 11 and 12 students. So here you can find some ideas and websites which will inspire you with your celebrations.
My number 1 is The Official Roald Dahl Website, full of ideas and inspirations. You can find writing tips, games, stories and teaching materials there.
On Teacher Vision, you can find loads of links with great ideas.
TES also has lesson plans and ideas.
British Council’s literature project BritLit has a great lesson on The Landlady with the full story.
Some older posts on my blog can be found here
Well, let the celebrations begin!
September is here and another school year is on its way. I’m just enjoying the last few lazy days reading and planning ahead. I’m reading “The Little Paris Bookshop” by Nina George at the moment. I loved the book. Not only for the plot, not only it is set in Paris along the River Seine but also the richness of the creative writing ideas that pop up in front of my eyes while reading it.
The book takes place in Paris and tells the story of a bookshop owner Jean Perdu who calls his bookshop the Literary Apothecary, because he doesn’t just sell books to his customers, he also prescribes them to suit their minor ailments he diagnoses in them.
I just don’t want to forget those brilliant ideas Mr Perdu brought into my mind so I decided to write them.
Here is one as a first week activity. Mr Perdu says “books are like people, and people are like books.” And continues “ I ask myself is he or she the main character in his or her life?” (pg 28) well, I’m not going to reveal more but I’m planning my first day activity as follows.
The activity will be suitable for any level if you plan it that way but I’ll do it with my year 12 students.
Tell students they are a character in a novel.
Tell them to describe themselves, their motives, ambitions, weak points, strengths.
Who else are in their story? What kind of characters are they? A short description for them as the characters of the story…
The blurb of their story, their problem and how they expect the story will end.
I’ll tell them to create a book cover and a few pages of their books to display on classroom walls.
I think this will be a good beginning for a class who will be studying hard for their university exam. This year their main concern is the exam and how they will shape their future so I guess starting the year with these book covers will be fun.
I’ll share a quick drama activity I learned from our drama club while performing at an event at school.
- Put 3 chairs in front of the board.
- Put labels on the chairs as “sad-1”, “happy-2″,”angry-3”
- Write some situations on slips of papers and put them in a box. (You are waiting at the bus stop and the bus is late / You are going to take an important exam /You are travelling to …
- Let students choose a slip of paper
- Give them a few minutes to prepare a very short story based on the situation they have on their papers.
Begin with the volunteers. Explain the rules.
Tell students that you will shout a number from 1 to 3 and she/he will sit on that chair and start telling the story according to the emotion written on the chair. While the student is telling the story change the numbers randomly.
This activity will be suitable for intermediate and above but I think it can also be tried with beginners as a reading aloud activity. The teacher can give a text to practise reading aloud and then asks the students to read the text sadly, angrily, cheerfully, etc
May is round the corner. This means another school is about to end. Here you can find some revision games and activities that you’d like to use.
When I’m 65 (to revise tenses, time clauses)
Team your students
Prepare small cards, on small cards write random numbers such as 18, 22, 56, 38, etc.
Put the cards upside down on the desk
Tell students, take one card and make a sentence.
- When I’m 65, I’ll probably have grandchildren.
- When I was 18, I was a student at university.
I had a great holiday there (to revise tenses)
Put some postcards or photos of places on the walls and tell students to walk around and imagine they were on holiday. They have to concentrate on one picture and then go back to their seats and write a paragraph, how they spent their holiday there. Then they can read and their friends try to guess which picture he has chosen.
I’m poem (to revise participles, relative clauses)
Ask them who they are. They will probably laugh and tell their names but tell them what roles do they have as a person in different places. Tell them that you’re their teacher, a mother, a wife, a friend, a colleague and although you are the same person but for your different roles, you have different responsibilities, feelings, emotions. Ask them if they are the same person as a sister, cousin, grandchild etc. Then give them the skeleton and ask them to write a poem describing who they are for different people and how they feel and react.
- I’m the girl who loves reading books
- I’m the sister watching you grow up