TEFL Lesson Planning – Warmers That Will Make Your Students Adore You – Part II

In previous article we talked about the importance of including a warmer in TEFL lesson planning and outlined the most important aspects to be included. Here is a summary of what we said the warmer should include:

  1. An easy-to-succeed activity.
  2. Include continuity from the last class.
  3. Physical activity.
  4. Physical contact.
  5. Co-operation between students.
  6. Break the usual classroom layout.
  7. There should be an aim to the task.
  8. Link into the next part of the lesson.
  9. 5 to 10 minute activity.

But how can we put these things into practise?

To illustrate how, we will go through an example warmer – classic called ‘Grab’ – and each time one of the elements above is satisfied, it will be shown in brackets. Lets take an imaginary group of students to give some context:

  • Ages: 15-17
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Number of students: 10
  • Previous class teaching aim: should for advise
  • Present class teaching aim: phrasal forms
  • Materials used: flash cards with illustrations of common action verbs

What to do:

  • Greet the students.
  • Hold up flash card (e.g. a picture of someone running)
  • Ask the students ‘What’s he/she doing?’ (easy to succeed)
  • The first student to reply correctly (S1) is asked to come to the front of the class. (activity)
  • S1 is given the next flash card and the teacher prompts S1 to ask the class ‘What’s he/she doing?’
  • The first student to reply correctly (S2) is asked to come to the front of the class. (activity)
  • S2 then continues with the process.
  • When all the students are at the front of the class, the teacher tells the students to form closely knit circle sitting on the floor. (activity, co-operation, breaking with the classroom layout, physical contact)
  • All cards are placed face up on the floor.
  • The teacher says an unfinished ‘should for advise’ sentence with an action from flash card in mind
    e.g. ‘To keep fit you should…’ (includes continuity from the last class)
  • The teacher, by way of example, then grabs relevant flash card (running, for example)
  • The teacher states that by grabbing the card he/she has won a point. (an aim to the task)
  • The game is now set to start, and the teacher gives another ‘should for advise’ sentence.
  • As the students try to grab relevant cards, their hands will collide (activity and physical contact)
  • The teacher will often have to peel away layers of hands to find whose is at the bottom of the pile and who is therefore the winner (teacher-student physical contact)
  • To keep the card, the winner has to complete the unfinished ‘should for advise’ sentence appropriately using the from the flash card.
  • The student who wins the card then has to say the next unfinished ‘should for advise’ sentence to continue the game (this student does not grab for a card)
  • The winner is the student at the end who has most cards.
  • The teacher then says ‘Thank you. Now please go back to your seats, sit down, pick up a pen and note down what I write on the blackboard.’
  • The teacher then writes these very same instructions on the blackboard, and asks the students to say what kind of verbs he has underlined: ‘Go back to your seats, sit down, pick up a pen and note down what I write on the blackboard.’ (Link into the next part of the lesson – phrasal verbs)

By the time you have finished this warmer, you will have well prepared students, and a very positive cooperative atmosphere in the class. Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention: your students will adore you!

In the next article, we will give a list of different activities that meet all these requirements for a good warmer, all of them great fun, and needing next to no materials.

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