The Best Adaptable ESL Warm-Up Activities
No matter how seasoned and confident a teacher is, there are occasions specifically before starting a new class that every teacher might wonder, "what if they don't like me?" This nightmarish query may cause even more distress when one is getting ready to start a job at a new school or a new country. Considering the fact that students don't basically walk into a class with a bias against the teacher, and they tend to take a liking to him/her based on the very first impression they get, can clarify the importance of the first session. In fact, you can work towards establishing a strong rapport by having various fun warm-up activities ready in hand in order to provide your students with a bright start. Here are some sample warm-up ideas you can have in mind.
A Ball game
It is sometimes troublesome to learn and recall students' names, specifically when you are teaching out of your home country, and names appear to be unfamiliar and not quite catchy for you. It's also awkward to ask for names whenever you need to address a student. So what you need is a variety of activities that can help you learn the names and avoid awkwardness. This one is just perfect for this case.
For this game, students are supposed to stand up and make a circle. Join them in the circle with a small ball in hand. Say your name or whatever you prefer them to call you and pass the ball to the student on your right. This student is supposed to say his/her name and pass the ball to the next student on the right. You can clarify it by simply asking, "what's your name?" Then the ball is passed to the next student, and everyone keeps saying their names and passing the ball.
Listen carefully, and when the ball is passed back to you, this time pass it to the person on your left and say his/her name instead of your own name. It is easy because you have just heard the name. While the ball is passed, every student says the name of the person they are going to pass the ball to.
At the end of this round, when the ball is in your hands again, you can either go one more round or change the direction and go right this time. The next thing you might want to do is throwing the ball at a random student and saying His/her name. Demonstrate what you want them to do several times and then let them take control, throw the ball, and remember their classmates' names. They naturally throw the ball to people they already know or remember.
Whenever you feel like it's enough, ask for the ball and throw it to a random student. But in this round, the catcher is supposed to remember the thrower's name, so it can be a little bit stressful for some students.Go on as long as you think it fits your lesson plan and time management.What you need to consider before playing this game is the number of your students and the sitting arrangement, which can be a deterrent if no space is left in the middle of the classroom. Some teachers get students out of the classroom to play, but it can get quite noisy, so you need to think of the school's approach first.
A Gallery Walk
If you think a game is not an appropriate option for your class, you can try other activities like this gallery walk.
Make several cards with some details about you on them, such as your name, age, favorite color and etc., then post them on the walls. Pair students up and ask them to walk around the classroom and make guesses based on what they see on the cards. You can include some mysterious details like your shoe size, a kid or a sibling's name, your major of study, your pet's name, etc.
When the allocated time is over, ask students to sit and get feedback. It is quite amusing for students when they mistake my shoe size, which is 42, for my age or a pet's name for a sibling's name, for instance.Now that they know the teacher, it's students' turn to get to know each other.
They are supposed to stand up, walk around and ask questions in order to know more about their classmates, like a mill-drill activity. Your cards can be referred to as clues.
When the time is up, and they are back to their seats, ask them to tell the class whatever they know about one of their classmates without mentioning the name, and others are supposed to guess about the identity of that person. You can get involved and make guesses or just step aside and let them take control.
There is a lot of standing up and walking included, so if you feel like your students might not enjoy a lot of moving or you don't have the physical space for it, you can use the board instead of the cards and simply board your details.
Finally, no matter how much you try, it is just hard or even impossible to keep everyone happy, so just do your best and be yourself.
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