Categories
A bit of this, a bit of that Ready, steady, go - the power of warm-ups

Ready, steady, go

It’s almost the beginning of the school year. I hope you are relaxed and enthusiastic about new challenges. I do love the first lessons – making new relationships, students revealing secrets about their passions, observing different personality types in one group, a little bit of stress but also new opportunities. There is some mystery and promise in the first days of September.

In order to make the whole year successful, you need to get to know your students and let them learn a little bit about one another and you. Here are a couple of activities I’d like to share with you today which you can use during the first lessons with your teens and adults. I love those exercises because they are simple, they are fun, they make your students speak English from the very first minutes of the lesson and they demand little or no preparation. They are perfect icebreakers that can lead to or follow the needs analysis.

THIS IS ME…/THIS IS NOT ME… – THE POWER OF PICTURES

All you need is a set of photos. I love using Dixit or Imaginarium cards because they are less obvious, more abstract, and thus more fun. But if you have an elementary group or teach smaller children, you may use less mysterious photos. Each student chooses two cards: one which says ‘This is me’ and the other one which says ‘This is definitely not me’. And then he/she explains how the cards are connected with their personality or passions or the other students have to find out the connections by asking the student questions about the chosen cards. You probably already know this exercise but have a look at my variation of this activity below.

THIS IS ME…/THIS IS NOT ME… – THE POWER OF THINGS

This time the students bring two items to school. The idea is exactly the same as in the previous activity. The students’ task is to prepare a short story or description connected with those items. You may also ask the other students to predict what those items could mean and which one completes the phrase ‘This is me’ and which one is an example of the phrase ‘This is not me’. Encourage your students to bring less obvious objects so that it was not so easy to guess the meaning. Once I brought a needle and some thread to class. On the one hand, it meant I am not an artistic kind of a person, I can’t embroider, knit, crochet, sew, etc. But on the other hand, it meant I’m not a very patient kind of a person, I hate waiting, I make up my mind very quickly. And I told my students a story illustrating this personality trait of mine.

THIS OR THAT?

This is a well-known activity but I love it because it makes your students move, it is a lot of fun and students always look backwards to see who is similar to or different from them. You ask your students to stand one behind the other facing you. And then you ask them questions such as: Tea (pointing to the left) or coffee (pointing to the right)? Mountains (pointing to the left) or sea (pointing to the right)? And the students (and you) move one step to the right or left (or stay in the middle cause they love or hate both). You may also ask more serious questions in order to analyse the students’ needs such as: Homework or no homework? Book or authentic materials? Speaking or writing (with a scared face)? Listening or reading (with a happy face)? I usually end this activity with: Stay at school or go home? The bafflement on my students’ faces – priceless!

LIE, LIE, LIE

This is a variation of the game ‘Two truths and a lie’. Students pick a question or topic. Their task is to answer it in 1-2 minutes but they can only lie, nothing they say can be true. Although it seems quite easy, in fact it is not because in 2 minutes they have to give many details. Give it a try, I’m sure your students will have a lot of fun.

WHAT QUESTION DO I HAVE ON MY BACK?

It is a task for definitely more advanced students because they will have to try to answer the questions not revealing much information, not answering them directly. You will need one question per one student in class or group. You attach one question to each student’s back so that they couldn’t see it. The students walk in class and answer the questions on their friends’ backs not mentioning the key words. The task of each student is to guess their own question on the basis of the answers given to him or her by a couple of students. You could ask questions such as:’ Would you like to have your tattoo made, why, what kind and where?’ The answer could be: ‘Black because it’s classic. The place is not so important but I’m afraid of pain so it can’t be a very sensitive area. I’m not interested in any quotations, that’s for sure. So maybe the face of Hemingway? I love his books.’ The other questions could be: Who is the most difficult person to buy a Christmas present for in your opinion and why? Do you agree that a real man should never cry? Why/Why not? What book would you take to the desert island and why?, etc.

LET ME SEE…

This is a variation of the game ‘Personality test’ that you can find in one of the books with the ‘Recipes for tired teachers’. You show your students the following or similar table (slide 1), you ask them to draw 9 separate pictures not connected with each other but including the given elements in their notebooks. The pictures don’t have to be beautiful or very detailed but they must present something that can be identified. Once every student has finished, put them in pairs, tell them that one of them (in each pair) is going to be a psychologist and interpret the personality of the other one on the basis of their pictures. Only then do you show them slide 2. Tell the students their task is to interpret, so if someone draws a flower in the space ‘This is how you see yourself’ it’s not enough to say ‘You are like a flower’ – they have to think what it could mean – maybe you are cute, gentle, it’s easy to hurt you or you are full of energy when it’s hot and sunny. Then students swap roles – the other one is a psychologist. At the end you ask your students to share one idea with the rest of the class about what they have learnt about themselves from their psychologists. They may choose the interpretation they totally agree or disagree with, the one which was the most surprising or the most freaky one or the one they would like to be true. In this way the students decide what and how much they want to reveal about themselves. I’ve tried this activity with teens and adults, with different level groups and with new and old classes. Always had a lot of fun!

https://bit.ly/3gfjtea_DEAL

No matter what activities you choose to start your new year with, I do hope you will succeed in making and developing strong and friendly relationships with your students. Because that’s what the first lessons are all about – not teaching, giving homework, testing or assessing but getting to know each other, having fun and tightening bonds. Have a great year everyone!

Categories
A bit of this, a bit of that Grab it, teach it - ready lessons Ready, steady, go - the power of warm-ups

Revision Set

This is a huge revision set which you can use with your teenagers before different kinds of exams (E8, basic and extended matura, FCE, etc) as well as with your adult students. It consists of 14 parts, each one corresponding to a different exam topic: Man, House, School, Work, Social Life, Food, Shopping, Travelling, Culture, Sport, Health, Science and Technology, Nature, Crime and Society. In each part you will find 4 tasks: – SNAP: a picture connected with the topic, – VOCAB: eight words or expressions connected with the topic, – CREATE: a photo and a question or writing task – STORY: a topic for story telling

This is a very universal set. And because of it you can adapt it easily to the level of your students and your needs. You may use a certain part as a warm-up only or use it as the basis of your whole lesson. The SNAP and VOCAB tasks are just photos and words or phrases on different levels. So it’s totally up to you and your creativity what you decide to do with them.

I hope this will help you have very effective and enjoyable revision lessons with your students. Let me know whether you have found the ideas useful. So help yourself and bon appetit!

http://bit.ly/3v1zBoA_DEAL

Categories
A bit of this, a bit of that Grammar rocks Ready, steady, go - the power of warm-ups Vocabulary with a twist

Girl power

It’s Women’s Day today so let’s celebrate. You’ll find a couple of exercises here for students on different levels, developing a variety of skills. I hope everyone will find something suitable for their students. All the best for all of you Super Women-Teachers.

GIRL TALK

This exercise will develop your students’ vocabulary. For quite advanced levels. Every sentence is woman-topic based. It’s full of challenging phrases worth elaborating on. My students will have to choose a couple of words which were the wrong answers and prepare their own ‘Fill in the gaps’ and ‘Write 3 definitions – only one correct’ exercises.

http://bit.ly/3qp0hfZ_DEAL

TIME FOR WOMANLY PARAPHRASES

Here you will find two sets on paraphrases on two levels: intermediate (suitable e.g. for E8 or basic matura exam) and more advanced (suitable for extended matura and other exams).

https://www.baamboozle.com/game/384222

https://www.baamboozle.com/game/384316

A GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT OR A FEMINIST SPEECH

Speaking time. The first task is to match the names of famous women to their quotations. And then depending on whether you have 1-2-1 lessons or teach a group of students you can either:

  1. Give or ask each student to choose one character and ask them to imagine they are at a girls’ night out. They meet and start talking about life, men, the usual stuff. Their task is to try to show their woman’s character and personality and include the quotation in a natural conversation.
  2. Give or ask your student to choose one character and prepare a 1-minute feminist speech including the quotation.

http://bit.ly/3qp2DeP_DEAL

I do hope you will enjoy the Women’s Day and the topic-based lessons with your students. I would really appreciate if you let me know whether you and your students found the ideas useful. Have fun.

Categories
A bit of this, a bit of that Ready, steady, go - the power of warm-ups

At a restaurant

This time the material is entirely in Polish so it can be used by any language teachers who are preparing their students to matura exams or just want to practice situational dialogues at a restaurant. It’s designed to make students work in pairs. I hope you’ll find it both useful and a little bit of fun.

http://bit.ly/2NOL0HH_DEAL

Categories
A bit of this, a bit of that Ready, steady, go - the power of warm-ups

CHRISTMAS TIME

I’ve just gathered a few of my Christmas activities in one place for you to enjoy during your last lessons before or first lessons after Christmas. All of them can be found on wordwall. Short, quick, can be used as warm-ups, energizers or fillers. Suitable for teens and adults on different levels.

CHRISTMAS CATEGORIES

Students have to put the words and expressions into 4 different categories: Christmas decorations, traditions, food and winter time.

CHRISTMAS MATCHING

Students have to match the pictures to Christmas expressions.

CHRISTMAS QUIZ

Students have to choose the correct answer. It’s a typical vocabulary game.

CHRISTMAS PHRASAL CRAZE

This time we deal with grammar, and to be more precise with phrasal verbs. Definitely for more advanced students.

CHRISTMAS SPEAKING

And the last exercise is devoted entirely to speaking. Could be used as a typical work in pairs or speed dating activity.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

I hope you will find those activities useful, still this year or maybe in the future. I’d like to wish you all the best. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Categories
Grammar rocks Ready, steady, go - the power of warm-ups

Grammar warmers in pictures

I love using photos and pictures in class and I do it as often as possible – for everything: for revising vocabulary, speaking, writing, even for grammar. In this post you will find 2 presentations on grammar warm-ups. Not only will you revise some grammar points with your students but you will also make them use the particular structures in their creative speaking or writing. Each grammar piece starts with a photo and ‘Name as many… as possible’. Then you move on to further practice, more creative and personalised one. I guess the presentations can be suitable for different age groups and levels, both for standard and online lessons. I usually use the slides as warm-ups but sometimes they are the basis of my whole lessons. I’m sure you’ll come up with a lot of different ways of adapting them to your lessons. And I do hope you will like them too. Let me know, please.

https://bit.ly/36TgNgx_DEAL

https://bit.ly/3fjO6gA_DEAL

For those of you who prefer PDF versions, here you are. However, I do hope you will respect copyrights:-)

https://bit.ly/2J2xaQb_DEAL

https://bit.ly/35R6jiD_DEAL

Categories
Ready, steady, go - the power of warm-ups

Exam topics

This post is useful for the end-of-year lessons. If you want to revise exam vocabulary with your students, it’s enough to pick a topic using the wheel and/or one of the ideas below to have a nice warm-up or even the whole lesson. Not only will your students have to be really creative but they will also revise exam vocabulary in context and develop their speaking and writing skills.

  • Challenging writing – students work in groups. Each group gets a different topic (for example group A: Health and group B: Crime). They write down 8-10 words connected with their topics. Then we give them a writing task on a totally different topic (for example Nature) and they have to write it using all their 8-10 words. Follow-up: peer correction and identifying 8-10 words.
  • Chain stories – students work in pairs or groups. Each pair gets a different topic and writes a few words connected with their topic. Then one pair starts a story in which they use one of their words, the next pair has to continue using their word, then the other pair does the same. We can repeat it depending on how many students we have in each group or how much time we have left.
  • Small talks – I ask my students to prepare 1-2-sentence conversation starters on all exam topics. Next lesson each student picks a different exam topic. Then students work in pairs (for example student A gets Sport and student B gets House). Then I give them a conversation starter on a totally different topic (for example Culture) and they have to make a dialogue trying to change the topic into theirs in a natural way. If one of them succeeds in doing it quite quickly, they other student has to try to change it into his. I set a time limit of usually 3-5 minutes. So the students have to continue till the time is up.
  • For other ideas see the ‘Secret word’ post.
  • https://wordwall.net/resource/2421349
Categories
Ready, steady, go - the power of warm-ups

A picture is worth a thousand words

I personally hate questions such as: ‘How did you spend your last weekend?’, “What interesting did you do yesterday?’. But we need to practice past tenses with our students. This exercise is ideal for a warm-up. Ask your students to choose one famous character (real or fictional) and a picture that would illustrate the way the character could spend their last weekend. Students work in pairs. One is a famous person, the other a journalist who has to learn as much as possible about the celebrity’s weekend. They talk. Then the journalists share the most interesting facts about their celebrities with the rest of the class.

https://bit.ly/2XCmbBH_DEAL