A team warmer for brainstorming and an amusing icebreaker exercise.
Board relay race
- Split the board into two - four columns.
- Split students into a corresponding number of teams. Each team lines up in front of their column, a few metres back. Each team has a pen/stick of chalk.
- The teacher calls out a category that s/he wants the Students to brainstorm. Students have two minutes (or whatever you decide) to write all the words they know in that category (e.g. 'has more than two eyes', 'is a modal verb, 'contains the sound /v/, etc).
- The student who is first in line runs to board, writes a word, runs back to the line, gives the pen to the next student in line and then goes to back of line (i.e. relay). The teams are playing against each other (i.e. race).
- When time is up, the teacher reviews spelling (if important) with students, totals points to declare the winners, and then starts the lesson.
- If the students keep copying other teams, then at the end strike out all the words that are duplicated across teams. They'll soon learn it pays to be original!
- The description above is for brainstorming new vocab, but it's also great for reviewing a previous lesson.
True or False?
I use this when meeting a group for the first time, so I guess it's more an ice-breaker than a warmer, but it makes the students practise forming questions, forces them to be creative, and can lead to interesting discussion - so it can be used as a warmer too.
- The teacher tells the students they can each ask him/her a question, and s/he will answer it.
- Each student asks a question, the teacher answers it, and writes it on the board.
- The teacher lies a few times.
- When finished, go through the answers, asking each time whether the students think it's true or false.
- To answer, studentss can put their hands up/keep them down; point to a 'true' sign/point to a 'false' sign; run to the 'true' (left) wall/run to the 'false' (right) wall; etc.
- This is usually lots of fun; outrageous lies are often the best (e.g. 'Are you married?' 'Yes, I have six husbands.' etc.)
- Obviously, the teacher needs to take cultural differences into account. The activity should be fun, not offensive.
- The teacher has to feel comfortable giving out personal information. If some questions are too personal, s/he can always say: none of your business!