I always like to begin my classes with a warm-up activity. After all, you don’t really know where your students have been, what their frame of mind is, or whether or not they have spoken a single word of English since your last class
I find that easing into it works well. Compare this to jumping right into the “meat” of your lesson at the beginning. I find that students often won’t really “get” it because they’re too distracted by other things. If you do a warm-up activity first, they’ll be ready to take in the main point on the lesson in a few minutes.
Describe something is a simple ESL warm-up activity that can be used for a wide range of topics. It’s well suited to beginner students.
Describe Something: ESL Warm-Up Activity
Describe something guessing game is a simple and easy warm-up game for your ESL speaking class that you can use to generate some interest in whatever topic you are studying that class. Here’s how you do it:
Make up a handout with pictures of objects or names of famous people (around 20 works well).
Choose one and use it your example.
Give some hints about that object or person such as, “He’s American,” “He’s black,” “He’s a sport player,” “He plays golf.”
By this time, the students will have guessed Tiger Woods. They will then cross Tiger Woods off their list.
Turn it over to the students and they will take turns describing the people of object to each other, with their partner guessing who or what it is and crossing it off the list once chosen.
This game works for almost any topic such as animals, food, clothing or people in the class!
And that’s how the guessing game works.
Teaching Tips for Guessing Game
- It’s always best to do an example for just about anything. I find that I don’t even really have to give instructions, if I do an example first.
- Try to get your students to speak in full sentences, unless they are extremely low-level students. It doesn’t really help them to say, “Golf, famous, USA.”
- It’s not competitive, so don’t make it about a time goal or points or anything like that.
Like this ESL Warm-Up Activity?
If you like this ESL warm-up, then you’re going to love this book: 39 ESL Warm-Ups: For Kids 7+ over on Amazon. There are plenty of ideas for getting your class started, in style.
You can get the book in both digital and print formats. The (cheaper!) digital copy can be read on any device by downloading the free Kindle reading app. Have dozens of top-quality ESL warm up activities at your fingertips wherever you go!
Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office a handy reference guide. Or, take a copy with you on your phone or tablet to the local coffee shop where you like to plan your ESL lessons. It really is that easy!
Check it out on Amazon today, but only if you want a serious dose of ESL awesome in your life, okay?
Guess My Job: Another Simple ESL Warm-Up
A variation on this warm-up about people is to do it with jobs. Check out this short video below for details about that:
Have your Say about this ESL Warm-Up Game
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