Variations with ‘go and open the door’






The original activity is described here and the poem ‘Go and Open the Door’ by Miroslav Holub is here. This is a very powerful poem and I think it will work really well with teenagers and adults on the first week of the term.

Here is a variation with the poem for the new comers.

Materials needed


The poem

A big poster of a classroom door (or any other door)

Introduce some vocabulary if you think they will cause problems when you read the poem.

Tell them you will read a poem, they can close their eyes if they want.

Before you begin reading the poem, play a relaxing

Tell them they are about to open the door of their new classroom. They don’t know what they will find there. First focus on the followings:

What are their expectations?

Why are they in this class?

How will they improve themselves?

What are their expectations from their teachers?

When and how will they have fun?

Stop the music and read the poem.

Tell them to open the door of the classroom and step in, meet the people, the teacher and find a seat. Now tell them to open their eyes and jot down the things they thought.

Ask the volunteers to share their ideas.

Give them post-it notes and ask them to write what they’ve found when they opened their classroom door.

Stick the door poster on the wall.

Get students’ post-it notes and stick on the door.

Get into groups according to …








image is taken from here



This is a fun activity that I found from ESLCafe years ago and I love using it once every year. It’s even great to team your students for their group works.

Group the students as the 1st child, middle child, youngest child of their family or a single child.

Prepare a handout with some questions similar to the ones below.Get them discuss in their groups

  • How are you similar to each other?
  • What is it like to be the eldest child of the family?
  • How are you different from your sister or brother?
  • Are you organised?
  • Do you say no easily to people?
  • What is it like to be the eldest child?

 Then share the following

FIRST BORN: perfectionist, list maker, well-organised, natural leader, critical, serious, logical, doesn’t like surprises, difficulty saying no to others.

MIDDLE CHILD: mediator, diplomatic, avoids conflict, independent, loyal to peers, many friends, secretive, unspoiled, has reasonable expectations

YOUNGEST CHILD: charming, blames others, attention seeker, people person, natural sales person, engaging, affectionate, loves surprises

ONLY CHILD : little adult by age 7, very thorough and deliberate, can’t bear to fail, has very high expectations for self, more comfortable, with people who are older or younger.

Discuss as a class whether these characteristics apply to them or not.

And you will actually see that they do. Try for yourself 🙂 You can also read this article.

Another 1st Day Activity-Promises to be kept…

ImageChef Sketchpad -

I believe from the moment we enter the classroom, our aim should be to help our students see where their learning journey is taking them to so the first day activities are important to give them some clues too.

You can adapt the activities below according to your classes. If they are new comers this way you can learn about them changing some of the questions, if you already know them you can just remind  them their reason to be in the class.

Activity 1

I ask my students to write a letter to me imagining it’s the last day of the class and tell me how they became successful throughout the year answering the following questions:

How many hours a day did you study English?

How many books did you read?

What was your aim?

How did you improve your studying skills?

What advice can you give to your friends who will be in this class next year?

How did you change?

When I read the letters, I comment on them and tell them that those are their promises and they have to keep their promises. So they should read the number of books they have written in their letters or study or do the things they have stated.

However, this year I’m planning to do something else.

Activity 2

Materials: colourful paper or cards, colourful pens, blue-tac

Ask students to choose some colourful pens and paper.

Tell them to write their names in the middle.

Tell them to write what their plans are for the year, how they will study, what they will learn, what they will read, etc on the corners or around their names.

Then stick the cards on the walls so as not to forget them 🙂