An exercise which uses sound effects as the basis for providing advice for problems.

Cannibalizing warmers

'Cannibalizing' is an idea that comes from The Recipe Book, an excellent Pilgrims resource book edited by Seth Linstromberg. In the first section of the book, Tessa Woodward suggests cannibalizing language learning exercises. By this she means taking parts of different activities and switching them around to create new activities. This warmer was created using this idea.


  • Ask your students how they get advice when they have a problem.
  • Write some of their ideas up on the board.
  • Then pass out some slips of paper.
  • Get each student to write three problems they have in the form of questions. For example:

How can I save money?
How can I get along better with my roommate?
How can I lose weight?

  • Give them some time to write, make sure they write their names, then pick up the papers.
  • Tell them you are going to introduce a novel way to find solutions to problems. You are going to play a sound effect, and they are going to create a solution for another student's problem using the sound. (Example: the sound of a dog barking for the question 'How can I make new friends?' might make one student write 'Go to a dog show and ask a lot of questions.' while another student might suggest 'Get a pet dog and take him for a walk in the park to meet new people.')
  • Pass out the slips, and check that everyone has someone else's paper. Then play a sound effect, repeat it, give students time to write an answer, and repeat the procedure two more times with two different sound effects.
  • When you are finished, let the students return their paper to the original author. Ask a few students to share the advice they received with the class.


  • You might want to demonstrate the technique so they understand what they should be doing.
  • It's more interesting to choose the sound effects randomly.


Students can write out questions they want to ask a fortune teller.