ESL warm ups and fillers to activate knowledge and energise the class

ESL warm upsA good warm-up is an essential part of an ESL lesson and can serve multiple objectives; breaking the ice, gently easing students into the right frame of mind, reactivating previous gains, and introducing the theme of the class. If you get the warm-up right, often the rest of the lesson will take care of itself. And by the way, don’t forget Pass the Bomb!,  the funniest five-minute filler ever created.

10 dictation activities
Here are ten ideas to breathe new life into dictation activities.

The big list of no-prep warm up activities part 1
No preparation is needed with these fun ESL warm ups which help to get the class off to a smooth start.

The big list of no-prep warm up activities part 2
Even more no-preparation warmers and fillers.

Collaborative crosswords
A pairwork speaking activity to present and practise new vocabulary and improve learner fluency.

Scatter Sheets: a fun way to improve vocabulary and fluency
A simple but effective activity to increase students’ vocabulary and speaking confidence. Also available as a photocopiable book.

A to Z race
A fun and lively game which pitches teams against each other to fill the board with vocabulary.

What’s in your fridge?
A guessing game to practise using countable and uncountable nouns and quantifiers like there is, there are, some, any, much, many etc.

This very popular and reliable ESL game gets students competing to define words for their teammates. A great way to review vocabulary.

Picture taboo
A less stressful version of Taboo, students describe objects for their classmates to guess.

Crosswords are a handy way to review vocabulary or introduce a theme. Here’s a quick guide to creating them easily.

Mixed up idioms
Choose the right word to complete the idioms.

Pass the bomb
My classes’ favourite ESL warm up. The bomb never fails to inject life and excitement into the most tired and sluggish classrooms.

Name the sound
These mystery sound quizzes are a fun way to introduce a topic.