Ice Breakers, Warmers, Energisers and Fillers
These are some tried and tested favorites. Use them as they are or be ready to adapt them to your particular purpose.
I. Learning one another’s names
1. A circle game.
Student 1 says “I’m Marcia and I like marshmallow.” Student 2 says “This is Marcia and she likes marshmallow, I’m Kate and I like kiwi.” Student 3 says “This is Marcia and she likes marshmallow, this is Kate and she likes kiwi, I’m Pete and I like peanuts”, etc. The last person in the circle has the challenge of introducing everyone as well as themselves.
NB. The “like” must start with the same letter as the person’s name. Sts have to find the "secret code".
2. Whose name is it?
Students write their names on a piece of paper.The papers are collected and redistributed. Everyone walks around the room asking questions and trying to find the person whose name he/she holds. You can extend this by getting students to find out information about the person they are seeking.
3. Alphabetical line
Students arrange themselves in alphabetical order according to their names.
II. Getting to know the class
Acronyms (What’s in a name?) – Each student writes his/her name vertically down the left-hand side of a sheet of paper, writing each letter separately. Next, he/she thinks of a word or phrase to match each letter. The words or phrases must describe this person somehow. Then, all the students stand up and walk around the room asking one another questions about the information written on their sheets of paper.
Who Am I? / What am I? New Identity:– The teacher tapes to the back of each student a piece of paper or a sticker with the name of a famous person (or thing) written on it. The student is not to see what is taped on his/her back. The teacher tells the class that they have a new identity. Their task is to find out who they are. The students are to mill around the room and simultaneously ask each other Yes-No questions. (E.g.: Am I living? Am I a movie star?) If the student receives an affirmative answer, he/she can continue asking that person questions until a negative response is given. Then, he/she must move to a different classmate and ask another question. When a student has established his/her new identity, this person is to remove the tag, write his/her name across the top of the paper/sticker and tape the tag to his/her chest. He/she now mills around the room helping the rest of the group discover their identities. Students then say what they have in common with the person on their new identity cards.
Bingo icebreaker – The teacher writes on the blackboard “I’d like to know if anyone...” and asks students to brainstorm information they would like to discover about their peers individually (e.g.: I’d like to know if anyone smokes/has pets/speaks more than a language/can play a musical instrument/does volunteer work, etc). Next, the teacher distributes a sheet of paper to each student. The students are supposed to draw a grid containing 16 squares. On each square, they should write a piece of information they would like to discover. If they have brainstormed more than 16 pieces of information, they must choose the ones they are more curious about. Next, all the students stand up and circulate to find classmates who match the descriptions in the bingo squares. When a match is found, the player writes the name of the individual in the square. Different names must be used in each square. When a player has filled a row with names, he/she yells “Bingo!” (Alternatively, the goal of the game can be to fill the entire card.)- If you are a new teacher with an established class, write on the board the answers to some questions about yourself. The students must find the questions to match the answers.
- Students conduct a survey of some kind: e.g. to find out about hobbies, jobs, taste in music.
- “Find someone who…” questionnaires: This can also be useful for practicing question formation of particular grammar structures.
- Students choose between two options. They stand in the middle of the room and choose between, for e.g. sweet things or savory things. Each end of the room represents one choice. They go to the appropriate end of the room and then pair up with students from the other end to discuss their choices.This can be adapted to use the four corners of the room for preferences in seasons, times of the day, types of food, learning styles.
After Holidays/ Monday Morning Activities
The holidays/weekend can be a valuable source of discussion/writing in the EFL classroom. It’s personal, relevant and interesting and everyone should have something to say. It serves as a good first class warmer or a ‘Monday morning’ and gives the students a chance to get into ‘speaking English mode’.
Stand in a circle, make a statement about what you did on your holiday/weekend; ‘I went to the cinema’. Ask; ‘What did you do?’ and throw the ball to one of the students. Repeat until everyone has had a chance to speak.
Chair game/ Change places. Students sit in a circle with the teacher standing in the middle. Teacher says ‘if you went to the cinema, change places’. Students change places, teacher stays standing. ‘if you had a good weekend, change places.’ Teacher quickly sits down and the students change places, so one of the students is left standing to continue the game.
Weekend/Holidays mine: Students have to mime activities they did during their holidays/at the weekend for the class to guess.
Find someone who…
Memory chain. ‘I’m Clare and I went to the cinema’. Student A: ‘She’s Clare and she went to the cinema, I’m John and I went fishing”. Continue.
Students talk to partner for a couple of minutes then present their findings to the class.
Correct 5: Students write five things they did on their holidays on a piece of paper. Fold papers up and them in the middle. Students pick one and read it out and other students have to guess who it was.
Teacher writes about own holiday and uses it as a reading comprehension, vocabulary, exercise, grammar exercise …
Students can draw a picture sequence/cartoon.
Holiday/Weekend alibi. ‘A serious crime was committed during the weekend/holidays and …… are suspects’. Two students go out of the class and work out what they did together. The two are then brought back into the class (one by one) and interrogated. The ‘police investigators’ have to find differences in their alibis.
Crossword composition. Give students an empty grid and in pairs they fill it with vocabulary from their holiday. Black out the empty squares on another grid then students write clues for their words. HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!! ;))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))