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. If they haven't used English all day, they may take a little while to shift into it. Warm-ups also encourage whole-group participation which can build a sense of community within the group. Brainstorm (any level, individual or group) Give a topic and ask learners to think of anything related to it. Write the responses for all to see, or ask a volunteer to do the writing. You can use this to elicit vocabulary related to your lesson. Question of the Day (intermediate-advanced, individual or group) Ask 1-2 simple questions and give learners 5 minutes to write their answers. Randomly choose a few people to share their answers with the group. Yesterday (intermediate, group) Have a learner stand in front of the group and make one statement about yesterday, such as "Yesterday I went shopping." Then let everyone else ask questions to learn more information, such as "Who did you go with?" "What did you buy?" "What time did you go?" etc. Try this with 1-2 different learners each day. Describe the Picture (any level, group) Show a picture and have learners take turns saying one descriptive thing about it. Beginners can make simple observations like "three cats" while advanced students can make up a story to go with the picture. They aren't allowed to repeat what someone else said, so they need to pay attention when each person speaks. Criss-Cross (beginner-intermediate, large group) Learners must be seated in organized rows at least 4x4. Have the front row of learners stand. Ask simple questions like "What day/time is it?" Learners raise their hands (or blurt out answers) and the first person to answer correctly may sit down. The last standing learner's line (front-to-back) must stand and the game continues until 3-4 rows/lines have played. You can use diagonal rows if the same person gets stuck standing each time. To end, ask a really simple question (e.g. "What's your name?") directly to the last student standing. Variation for small group: the whole group stands and may sit one by one as they raise their hands and answer questions.
Show & Tell (any level, individual or group) A learner brings an item from home and talks about it in front of the group. Give learners enough advance notice to prepare and remind them again before their turn. Have a back up plan in case the learner forgets to bring an item. Beginners may only be able to share the name of an item and where they got it. Be sure to give beginners specific instructions about what information you want them to tell. Sing a Song (intermediate-advanced, group) If you're musically inclined, or even if you're not, songs can be a lively way to get everyone involved. Mystery Object (advanced, group) Bring an item that is so unusual that the learners are not likely to recognize what it is. Spend some time eliciting basic descriptions of the item and guesses about what it is and how it's used. If possible, pass the item around. This is an activity in observation and inference, so don't answer questions. Just write down descriptions and guesses until someone figures it out or you reveal the mystery. Count Up! This is a good activity for 6 to 10 people who have good cognitive abilities. The idea is for the group to count to 10. Here are the rules for 10 people in the group: 1. Someone in the group starts out by saying "one" 2. The next person (at random) says "two." This continues until all 10 numbers are counted. 3. Once a person says a number, they are out of the current game. 4. If two or more people yell out the same number, the group must re-start the game. 5. If there 3 or 4 seconds passes between numbers, the group has to start over. 6. The group cannot setup a pattern or signal someone to say a number. The same person cannot start the game each time. Participants take turn yelling out a number at random. 7. The group "wins" when they count from 1 to 10 successfully within the given rules. 8. If there are less than 10 participants, each person can say a number twice.
This is a lively game that is sure to induce laughter... and sometimes frustration if the group "don't get it." More than likely though, they will succeed, resulting a great "hurrah!" Dollar or Pencil Jump Size of group: 1 to 10 Equipment: a dollar bill or a pencil or a sheet of paper the size of a dollar. Focus: Getting the groups attention! Have you had a group where you can't get their attention or that is disjointed? Try this challenge activity and warm up the group quickly. Description: Lay down a dollar bill on the ground and challenge each person to jump over the bill length wise. What makes the jump difficult is that the person must hold onto their toes with their hands as they jump. They cannot let go of their toes as they jump. The individual who succeeds in jumping the bill collects the dollar. Have You Ever?
Size: 5+ Equipment: None Objective: Ice Breaker, energy burner, appropriate social interactions Description: Procedure: Arrange group into a large circle with one person in the middle. The leader will prompt with the phrase Have you ever ? The person in the middle will finish the phrase. Example: Have you ever had candy bars for breakfast? Each of the people in the circle that has done what the person in the middle has said (had candy bars for breakfast) will quickly exchange places with someone else that has also done it. Whoever is left in the middle will finish the phrase the next time. The game has no real end so you can play 2 or 20 times, it s up to you!
Research Game Group Size: 10 to 100 Objective: Warm-up, to break group up into two teams, for fun Description: Indicate to the group that you are conducting research to determine.... (make up something). Invite everyone in the group to the center of the room. Say, "If you are more like a Cadillac, go to the right of the room. If you are more like a Volkswagen, go the left of the room." Once the group is separated, invite everyone to look around to see who has shared interests and to look across the room to see who has different thoughts. Have the group re-join in the center of the room and repeat the activity with two different items. Winter------summer Pen---------computer Soap Opera--cartoons Pizza-------steak Racing Car--antique car Book--------movie Lucy--------Charlie Brown Make up your own opposing pairs. For groups that are not mobile, invite the group to stand or sit... raise hand or lower hand.
Quick Link Size of Group: 10 to ? Focus: energizer, socialization, fun Description: As the group leader shouts out "get into groups of fours," everyone quickly joins in a group of four. At any time, even before the group of four is formed, the leader shouts out another instruction. Examples: everyone with same color shoes, everyone
with same color eyes, groups of five, people born in the same month, people with same Zodiac sign, form a letter Z with groups of 3 people. Pass the Face
Size: 5-15 Objective: get the group relaxed and allow them to feel ""silly"" with each other Description: This game is just like the game ""telephone"" but instead of passing a word or phrase around you pass a facial expression. Get the group in a circle. Have everyone close their eyes except the person who wants to pass the ""face"". The passer will tap the shoulder of the person next to her, that person will open his eyes to receive the face. He will then tap the shoulder of the person next to him and pass the face along. Once you have passed the face you may keep your eyes open to watch it move around the group. At the end, the original passer receives the face from the last person in the group and then shows what the original face was! This game ALWAYS gets people laughing!
Newspaper in a Bag
Equipment: bag filled with newspapers. Objective: To stimulate imagination, curiosity and improvisation and to help break ice in group Description: Bag is passed around group. They can guess what’s inside. Before its revealed they are told that they may think that its something very boring, however their challenge is to make it into something exciting. Group leader can begin. Newspaper can be crumpled, torn folded etc and transformed into something such as a hat. Participants can mime the new item and others in the group guess.
Modified Simon Says
Size: 8-12 Equipment: None Objective: Group members learn the importance of paying attention when given instructions. Description: Members sit in a circle. One member is selected to be the listener. A peer gives them instructions of something silly to do or say and the member follows the directions. Then another peer gives a direction to follow. The group member then completes the first instruction and then the second instruction. This continues until the member is unable to remember which direction is next. Then another member is selected and so on.
Size: 2-8 Equipment: assortment of lotions, massagers (vibrating, hand-held, wooden, etc.), relaxing music Objective: Lotion massage/sensory experience to help individuals become relaxed and focused prior to participating in a structured group. Description: Working with the disabled population, I find many times that when entering into a therapy session, they are quite hyper-sensitive and unfocused. I find that these individuals need time to sit and relax and become focused so that they can successfully participate in a program. Prior to the structured activity, whether it be
music, dance, etc., having individuals sit in a circle and experiment with a variety of lotions and/or massagers for relaxation. Working 1:1 with individuals giving them lotion to hands and arms while explaining to them what they will soon be doing with the upcoming activity. I find this relaxation/sensory period help individuals, especially the disabled, to become more focused and ready to participate in an activity as opposed to just jumping into movement, instrument play, etc. This activity can also be used as a closing to any session, allowing individuals to cool down and relax before leaving. Circle Massage Focus: relaxation, touch, trust Description: Have the group form a circle and face one direction. Instruct each person to place their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. Each person then gives the person in front of them a shoulder massage. Feedback to the massage giver (such as "that's perfect") is encouraged. After a few minutes, the group does an about-face so that they are now massaging the shoulders of the person who just gave them a massage. This can be a lead up activity to discussions on relaxation, touch, and/or trust. This can also be an end-of-group activity
THREE THINGS This is a family favorite. It also teaches connection making skills and can assist with the transfer of learning. First the 'family' version: 1. The child comes up with three things (real or abstract) that they want in their story e.g. 'Father Christmas', 'me' and 'a huge present'. You instantly tell a story with these three things in it. 2. Each child (approximately 3!) comes up with a 'thing' that really challenges the storyteller e.g. 'the dirt in my finger-nail', 'spending £100 million in a minute' and 'a really, really, really funny ending'. You do your best! But when children get this 'clever' it's definitely time to turn the tables (and let them enjoy story-telling)...
3. You come up with 3 'things' for the child (or children) to tell you a story about. Now the 'professional' version: 1. Ask each individual to choose three different 'things' from the course that they want to remember ('things' they valued directly, or 'things' they valued indirectly because of what they learned as a result). Ask each individual to describe these three different things to a partner in a way that brings out similarities or connections. 2. Ask each individual to choose one high(ish) point from the course and one low(ish) point from the course and then to imagine a situation six months ahead when they are facing a problem and have a 'flashback' to the course. Ask each individual to tell a story (to the group or to a partner) which brings these three 'things' together into one story. A more challenging variation is to ask each person to write a 'future problem' on a piece of paper and put the 'problem' into a hat. Each person in turn, draws a (random) problem and incorporates it into a story with the high and low points they have already chosen. Find the lie Materials • small pieces of paper, one for each student Procedure 1. Give each student a small piece of paper. 2. Tell them to write three pieces of information about themselves on the piece of paper. Two of these bits of information must be true, one is a lie. - My name is Sophal (True) - I am married (False) - I visited Japan in 1999 (True) 3. Tell the students to stand up and to hold their pieces of paper in front of them. 4. They should walk around the classroom, read the information about people and see if they can guess which statement is a lie. Name circle Materials: none Procedure
1. Get all the students to stand in a large circle. 2. Each student must say his or her name clearly. 3. One student points to another student, calls out his name and the two students change places. The second student calls points, calls out the name of another student and they change places. Variation • The students stand in a circle. One student calls out someone's name and throws a ball to that person. They call out someone else's name and throw the ball to them. Find someone who… Materials • paper and pens Procedure 1. Before the class the trainer or teacher prepares game sheet. Eg, find some one who... … likes fishing … comes from Battambang … has two older brothers … can ride a motorbike … is married … has two children 2. The trainer or teacher writes the game sheet on the board and the students copy it. 3. The students then stand up and have to ask each other questions to find someone who "likes fishing" or "is married". When they find someone they must write their name on the game sheet. They should find a different person for each statement. Find some one who… Sophal likes fishing Thary comes from Battambang Tivea has two older brothers Sopheap can ride a motorbike Sokheng is married Chetra has two children
4. The first person to complete their game sheet is the winner Circle games/Change places Materials: none Procedure 1. Get all the students to sit in chairs in a circle except one person who does not have a chair. This person stands in the middle of the circle. 2. The person in the middle calls out one instruction. eg, “Change if you are wearing a white shirt.” 3. All the people wearing a white shirt must stand up and change places. The last person left standing without a chair, calls out another instruction. eg, “Change if you live in Phnom Penh.” 4. All the people living in Phnom Penh now change places and the person left standing calls out another instruction. eg, “Change if you are married.” 5. Keep playing for a few minutes.
Pass the sound Materials: none Procedure 1. All the students stand in a circle 2. One person chooses a short, sharp sound, then putting his/her hands together points to the person next to them and makes the sound. The next person puts their hands together, points to the person next to them and makes the sound. 3. Pass the sound around the whole circle. 4. Then tell the students then can change the direction of the sound by pointing to someone across the circle or sending the sound back to the person who gave it to them. 5. This game needs to be played at a fast speed. Drawing games/Guess the picture
Materials • blackboard Procedure 1. One person comes to the front and starts to draw a picture. 2. The students must try to guess what the picture is before the person has finished drawing it. 3. The person who guesses correctly comes to the front to draw another picture. Memory games/Shopping bag Materials: none Procedure 1. Put the students in groups of 8-10 people. 2. The first person in the group starts by saying the following sentence: “Yesterday I went to the market and I bought some fish.” 3. The next person in the group repeats the first sentences and adds another thing that they bought. eg,”Yesterday I went to the market and I bought some fish and some bananas.” 4. Each person in turn repeats the sentence and adds another item. The students have to concentrate hard to remember all the things in the correct order. Kim's game Materials: • 15-20 small objects and a cloth to cover them, paper and pencils Procedure: 1. The teacher or trainer collects 15-20 small objects, eg, a pencil, a leaf, a rubber, a book, a paper clip, a stone, etc. 2. The teacher picks one object up at a time and holds them up and the students call out what it is. 3. When the teacher has shown all the objects he/she cover them with a cloth. 4. The students must write down all the objects they can remember. The one who has remembered the most objects is the winner.
Ice Breakers Name Bingo (beginner, large group) Hand out a blank grid with enough squares for the number of people in your class. The grid should have the same number of squares across and down. Give the students a few minutes to circulate through the class and get everyone's name written on a square. Depending on the number of blank squares left over, you can have them write their own name on a square, or your name, or give them one 'free' square. When everyone is seated again, have each person give a short self-introduction. You can draw names randomly or go in seating order. With each introduction, that student's name square may be marked on everyone's grid, as in Bingo. Give a prize to the first 2-3 students to cross off a row. Name Crossword (any level, group) Write your name across or down on the board being sure not to crowd the letters. Students take turns coming to the board, saying their name, and writing it across or down, overlapping one letter that is already on the board. It's usually best if you allow students to volunteer to come up rather than calling on them in case a letter in their name isn't on the board yet, although the last few students may need encouragement if they're shy. Similarities (beginner-intermediate, group) Give each person one or more colored shapes cut from construction paper. They need to find another person with a similar color, shape, or number of shapes and form pairs. Then they interview each other to find 1-2 similarities they have, such as working on a farm or having two children or being from Asia. They can share their findings with the class if there is time. Pair Interviews (intermediate-advanced, group) Pairs interview each other, using specified questions for intermediates and open format for advanced students. Then they take turns introducing their partner to the whole class. Be sensitive to privacy when asking for personal information.
Snowball Fight (any literate level, group) Give learners a piece of white paper and ask them to write down their name, country of origin, and some trivial fact of your choice (such as a favorite fruit). Have everyone wad the pages into 'snowballs' and toss them around for a few minutes. On your signal, everyone should unwrap a snowball, find the person who wrote it, and ask 1-2 more trivial facts. Write the questions on the board so the students can refer to them. Remember that each learner will need to ask one person the questions and be asked questions by a third person, so leave enough time. Variation for small groups: learners can take turns introducing the person they interviewed. Mystery Identities (any literate level, group) Write the names of famous people or places (or use animals or fruits for a simplified version) onto 3x5 cards. Attach a card to each learner's back. Give them time to mingle and ask each other questions to try to figure out their tagged identities. This is usually limited to yes/no questions, although beginners might be allowed to ask any question they can. Be at least 90% sure that the learners have heard of the items on the cards and especially the ones you place on their own backs.
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