Most language teachers find that there is a bit of dead time during class. This may occur at the beginning of class, as the students are arriving; at the end of class, as they are thinking about leaving; and right in the middle of class, when transitioning from one lesson to another. During this dead time, the best option is to spend five or ten minutes on a short, interesting activity like Building Sentences.
Write the practice words on index cards, one word per card. You have two options:
1)Make two sets of index cards, divide the class into two teams and give each team a set of cards.
2)Make colored sets of cards so that you end up with an identical set for each group of students: one blue, one yellow, one pink, etc. Assign each group of 2-3 students a color, then mix up the cards and place them face down on the floor.
Teacher calls out sentences in English and each team searches through/for their cards, puts the pieces together, and tapes them to the board or lays them out on the floor or desk. The first team to make the correct sentence wins a point. For the first option, the team has all of their cards and just needs to look through them, while in the second option, the teams need to search through the huge pile of all colors to find the correct words in their color.
Teacher calls out "We are dancing" - the correct answer would be the following three cards: Nous dans ons. Or, "I don't like apples": Je n' aime pas les pommes.
You can use this in any level class: simple verb conjugations or sentence structure for beginning students, while intermediates could practice more complicated sentences with auxiliary verbs or dual-verbs (vouloir, devoir, etc).
What kind of warm-up activities work best in your language classes? Let us know!
More warm-up activities