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10 Speaking Warm Up Exercises

These 10 Speaking warm up exercises are one of the easiest ways to differentiate between the extroverted and introverted students. The former will eagerly join any discussion, often with little to no prompt.

The latter, on the other hand, prefer to stay quiet, and often the more the teacher tries to ‘encourage’ them the more they bottle up. This sadly translates to language proficiency as the gregarious types naturally practice more.  

Luckily, there are techniques any good teacher can use, for instance, by starting the lesson with a good speaking warm up. This will create a more comfortable atmosphere for the shy students as they warm up.

Yet even this little step of participating just a little at the beginning of the lesson may act as the metaphorical ‘breaking the ice’, encouraging them to participate more actively during the rest of the lesson.

1. LAST LETTER WORD CHAIN

Level: A1 and above

1. Arrange your students into a circle. If your class is bigger than 10, break them down into smaller circles of up to 10 students. 6 would be the ideal number.

2. Start the game by suggesting a simple world like ‘house’ or ‘cat’. The next student has to say a word which starts on the last letter of your suggestion.

3. The game continues like this for a few rounds

4. Later you could introduce some rules, such as ‘only words relating to food’ or ‘only adjectives’.

2. WORD ASSOCIATION

Level: A1 and above

1. Put students into groups (5 is a good number).

2. Give each group a theme such as: food, animals or global warming.

3. Students take turns in saying 1 word that associates with this theme.

For example: Global Warming

Carbon!

Ice!

Oceans!

Temperature!

Etc.

4. If someone takes longer than 2-3 seconds to think of a word, they are out. The last man standing wins. Then, give your students another theme.

3. TWO LINES

Level: A1 and above

1. Organise your students into two lines, facing each other.

2. Write a series of simple questions on the board:

  • What’s your favourite colour?
  • What country would you like to visit?
  • What’s your favourite film?

 Etc.

3. The two students from each line face each other and in quick succession ask and answer each of these questions. Make it fast paced and fun!

4. When they are done, they move to the end of the line and the next pair starts. It’s sort of like a speaking duel or a speaking Dance Off.



4. ENGLISH BULLSEYE

Level: A1 and above

Resources: 1 Sticky Ball

1. Draw a large circle on the black board. Next draw 2 or 3 smaller circles inside, creating a crude version of the ‘dart board’.

2. Toss the sticky ball to one student and ask them a question (perhaps one relating to the lesson).

3. If student answers correctly, they get to throw the sticky ball at the board.

4. Write down their name and score on the board next to the circles and toss the ball to the next student.

5. OVERTHROW THE KING!

Level: A1 and above

Resources: King’s insignia (can be any object)

1. First, ask your students to come to the blackboard (all at once) and write as many vocabulary words as possible. The whole board filled with words is perfect.

2. Second, set up 2 chairs facing away from the board.

3. Pick one student to become the King. Sit them down on one of the chairs and put the crown on their head.

4. Now ask Who wants to challenge the King? Pick one person and position them on the other chair, next to the King.

5. Stand behind them and point to one word.

6. The rest of the class gives clues about the words. 

If the King guesses any word, the Challenger leaves and someone else takes their place

If the Challenger guesses 2 words in a row, they become the new King.

6. GUESS THE RULE

Level: A2 and above

Less than 11 students – play individually

12 – 15 students – pairs or groups of 3

Over 15 students – groups of 5-6

1. Instruct one student (or a group) to leave the classroom. No eavesdropping!!

2. The rest of the class comes up with a Rule. At first it might be hard for them so you’re expected to suggest the initial few rules..

Here are a few examples:

  • People with glasses say YES, people without glasses say only NO.
  • Elbows on the desk say YES, elbows off the desk say only NO.
  • Boys say YES, girls say NO. 
  • If you smile you say YES, if you frown you say NO.

3. After everyone is 100% clear on the Rule, invite the students back in.

4. They must walk around the classroom asking closed questions (the answers can only be YES or NO).

5. All the other students answer according to the Rule, no matter the question!

6. When the Rule is discovered the individual or a group gets a point, if they fail, send the next group to leave the classroom.

7. WHAT'S WRITTEN ON MY CHEST

Level: A2 and above

Resources: sheets of paper

Setup:

1. Prepare half the amount of A4 papers as there are students in your class.

2. Cut them in half.

3. Give one half to every student and tell them to write on it 5 (or 10, if you’d like to play longer) completely random words. Make sure the words are large and easy to read.

4. Make sure your students don’t show this page to anyone else.

5. Finally, students put the papers on the table face down, so that the words are hidden, and pass them to the closest classmate.

The procedure:

1. When everyone has somebody else’s paper with words in front of them, instruct them to place it on their chests WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE WORDS.

2. Students walk around the classroom trying to guess the words on their chest.

3. When students talk to each other, they should pick one word from the other persons list and use it’s synonyms as much as possible in the conversation. 

8. ROLL A RANDOM ASSOCIATION

Level: A2 and above

Resources: 2 – 10 dice

1. Divide the class into groups of 2 – 5 students.

2. Instruct each person to create a list of 6 random words. Tell them to number them 1 to 6. Each student should then have their own list of unique words.

3. Distribute the dice to all groups.

Variation 1: duel

4. Two people throw the dice and enter a duel. For example, Student A threw 4 which is ‘4. Ice cream’ on her list, whereas Student B threw 2 which is ‘2. Airplane’ on his list.

5. Now each person needs to create a scenario that involves both words, i.e. I never ate ice cream on an airplane!, I once was eating ice cream and a plane flew and scared me and I dropped it!

6. This could be enough or the whole group could vote on the best answer which would encourage students to be more creative.

Variation 2: story

4. The whole group casts the dice and then they have to create a story from all the words they got.

5. Next, all groups present their stories to the rest of the class. In my experience, due to the randomness of the words, most of the stories end up quite hilarious and students have a lot of fun during this exercise.

Variation 3: link

4. Only two students cast the dice, however the whole group participates.

For example, the words drawn are ‘animal’ and ‘house’.

5. Now the whole group has to figure out a one-word connection between these two i.e. ‘pet’ or ‘nest’ or ‘jungle’.



9.COUNTRY CHARADES

Level: B1 and above

Resources: small paper slips with countries’ names. As many as possible!

1. Put your students into groups.

2. Shuffle the paper slips on a flat surface in the middle of the classroom.

3. One team’s representative goes to the front and has 2 minutes to score as many countries as possible. The country is scored when their team guesses the name of the country.

4. Everything is allowed: explaining, drawing, miming – except mentioning the name of the country as a noun or an adjective, i.e. England, English.

Note: to make it more fun, add some ‘fake’ countries in the mix such as: Narnia, Mordor, Mars, the Internet, Atlantis, Shire, Matrix, Westeros, Antarctica, etc.

Example of 65 Countries:

England, Scotland, Ireland, China, Japan, Italy, France, USA, Canada, North Korea, Australia, Egypt, South Korea, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Vatican, Russia, Mongolia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonasia, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Jamaica, Cuba, Bermuda, Caribbean, Monaco, Poland, Czechia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, India, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Morocco, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Panama, Venezuela.

10. PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTIONS

Level: B1 and above

1. Divide the class into groups of minimum 2 people.

2. Dictate 5 ambiguous questions to each group, one question per turn.

Examples of Questions: Why are we on Earth? Why is the sky blue? Why haven’t we met aliens yet? What happens after death? Why are fruits sweet? What is love? What makes a great person?

3. The goal is to answer these questions in the most creative/funny way possible.

What happens after death?

We go to an afterlife KFC and have to forever wait in line to order our fried chicken.

(actual example from one of my students)

4. Each round the groups read their answers out loud and then vote for the best suggestion. Alternatively they can vote on a creativity scale 1-3 for each answer and the most points wins.

2 Comments

  • All activities are very Interesting .By doing warm up activities before starting teaching the lessons,the students will be happily ready to learn what his or her teacher teaches.

    Reply

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