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5 Top TEFL Warmers

5 Top TEFL Warmers

5 top TEFL warmers

Warmers are  5-10 minute activities designed to motivate and ‘warm’ your English class into thinking in English before the main body of your lesson gets underway.  We’ve selected 5 tried and tested easy-to-use activities that are sure to get your class off to the right start. 

1) Truth or lie

Each person writes 1 true fact about themselves and a lie. However, they present both statements as the truth. E.g I have published a book and I have eaten frogs legs.

They hand the statements to their partner who then has to ask questions about both statements  to try and guess which is the truth.

2) Board relay

Write 5-10 anagrams in the centre of  the board. Split the class into 2 teams. Make each team line up behind one anther away from the board, one team to the left of the board and one to the right. The first person from each team has to run up to the board and unscramble the first word by writing it correctly on their side of the board. They then run back to give the pen to the next person in their team and the game goes on. The first team to unscramble all the anagrams wins.

3) Who am I?

Write the name of a famous person on a piece of paper and pin to the back of each student. Students have to mingle with each other asking only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, such as ‘am I dead?’ to find out they 'are'. This is also a good practice of the present tense.

4) Change places if…

Everyone sits in a circle. 1 person stands in the centre and says ‘change places if you are wearing  blue jeans.’ These people have to change seats, but the person in the middle also tries to sit down. This means  the slowest person to get to a seat will have to remain standing…and the game continues. Great for the present continuous.

5) What’s the question?

Write 5 ‘answers' on the board, e.g. ‘3 children,' ‘I work as a teacher,’  ‘yes, I love dogs.' Ask each pair to write the appropriate questions.  Ideal for a revision of question forms.

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Other classic activities you already know  - ideal for TESOL 

6) Memory chain: ‘I went to the market and I bought a …..’, each person says this aloud, adding their item to the list of the items stated previously. The chain gets longer and longer.

7) Guess my job: Students mime a job for the class to guess.

8) Tongue twisters: Write on the board for students to practise.

9) Chinese whispers: Whisper a phrase to one student who passes it on in the same way until the last person says aloud what they heard. Is the message the same at the end as it was at the beginning?

10) I spy, hangman, Simon says and more.

Warmers don’t have to tie in with the theme of the lesson to follow – but they can do to really good effect. Similarly, if your class proves sluggish, introducing a 5 minute ‘livener’ in the midst of a lesson can work wonders.

There is more on crafting warmers into your lessons in our accredited online TESOL courses.

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You might also like: 
5 top tips for lesson success
Creating great discussion classes
* To join our Facebook group and ask any TEFL/TESOL questions of Louisa or William 

  • Author: Louisa Walsh
  • Date: Wednesday 1st October 2014

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5 Top TEFL Warmers