Number one for English language teachers

Mingle activities: Greetings, word circle and star of my life

Level: Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Extra

Three short mingle activities.

Greetings

  • Choose a song that you like and that the students might also appreciate. It works better with lively, happy tunes such as reggae.
  • In class make sure that you have lots of space for the students to walk around.
  • Explain that you'll play some music and when you stop they have to greet the person next to them by shaking their hands and introducing themselves (name, country, nationality, age, likes and dislikes, etc). 
  • Do it a few times adding new 'topics'; then add some variation and fun by asking them to greet each other in a different mood, for example 'greet each other happily' or 'sadly' or 'you don't like the person you're greeting' or 'he/she is your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend', 'you're in a bad mood', etc.

You can make it more complicated by changing the topics without warning or by asking the students to say the next word using the last letter of the last word said.

Word circle

This can be used as a warmer, to revise vocabulary or for the teacher to check students' vocabulary range on a certain topic.

  • Ask your students to stand in a circle. Choose a soft object such as a small ball or soft toy that would be easy for the students to catch.
  • The teacher calls out a topic, for example, 'animals' and the ball is thrown at students at random. 
  • The student who catches the ball has to say a word belonging to that category in a few seconds (the teacher decides on the time according to students' levels). 
  • If the student fails to say the word or says a word which has been already said, he sits down and is out of the game.

You can make it more complicated by changing the topics without warning or by asking the students to say the next word using the last letter of the last word said.

Star of my life

This activity is great for breaking the ice and allowing teachers and students to get to know each other quickly.

  • Draw a four, six or eight-points star on the board or prepare an OHP, depending on how much you want your students to know about you.
  • On each point of the star write something that is important for you, such as a date, name, number, likes/dislikes, etc. For example, I usually write Dave (my husband's name), 31 (my age), 2+1 (I have two brothers and one sister), Thailand (my dream holiday) and so on.
  • Write these words down but don't tell the students why they're there. The students have to ask you questions and try to guess the meaning of what you've written. You can give points for those who guess correctly or set a time limit to make it more interesting.
  • When you have finished, put your students into pairs and ask them to do the same.

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