Classroom Energizers are necessary to wake students up and get them excited about learning. Games are a useful tool to keep students engaged in classroom activities. Using energizers keeps students focused in English class.
One student is blindfolded and made to stand in the middle of the class. Number the corners one, two, three and four. The other students have to quietly move and stand in the four corners. The blindfolded student then shouts out a number (1 – 4) and all the students in that particular corner are out. When there are only a few students left, reduce the number of corners to three and then to two for the last two students. The last survivors may not stand in the same corner. The sole survivor is the champion.
A and B
First let the students write down their names twice on two pieces of paper: Both for A and for B. Put all the names into baskets A and B. Let all the students then pick out a name from A and a name from B, but not their own. Start the game with a chant/ handclap that you sporadically stop. The students may only move while the chant is going on. They have to shuffle one foot at a time to get away from student B and as close as possible to student A, but must keep their intentions secret. This will also help to keep the class under control.
Remember to tell them that there is no running or pushing. The teacher then says “Stop!” Ask the students to reveal their persons A and persons B and measure to see who got the closest to their person A and the furthest from their person B.
To energize lethargic students, let them stand behind their desks and slowly start walking-in-place; then they have to start wiggling their fingers; next they have to wiggle both their hands and their fingers; then on the count of three they have to do their wrists as well; number four is to wiggle their arms too while walking-in-place; next they have to wiggle their shoulders, then the head, their chests and waists. Finally, they must try to wiggle their legs too!
If they have mastered wiggling all of the body, take them reverse all the steps back to wrists, hands and fingers! This is a silly, but great activity to energize students and they love it!
Litter box Game
Students work with a partner and they need some kind of a crumpled paper ball on the floor. Working with their partner, they have to pick up the paper ball and drop it onto their table. The teacher has to shout out what body parts they should use, for example: Use their wrists and their elbows to pick it up; it could be elbow to elbow, foot to foot, knee to knee, forearm to elbow, foot two elbow, forehead to back of hand, or whatever you can think of to let them do it together.
A great variation is to put students in a team relay, where they have to work as a group and the first team to finish wins.
Imagine and mimic
The teacher has to be creative and tell the students to mimic what you tell them to do, but first make sure there is enough space for your students and tell them not to jump into anyone or anything; you don’t want any injuries, you just want them to have fun and let go of some of that energy that they’ve got pent-up. They can then, for example, jog in place as if a scary bear is chasing them; walk as if you are walking through pudding; jump in place like your popcorn popping, pop pop; reach up and grab balloons out of the air; march in place and play the drums like you’re in a marching band; paint as if the paintbrush is attached to your forehead; swim as if you’re being chased by sharks; swim as if you’re in a giant pool of yogurt; shake your body as if you’re a wet dog.
It will get the students’ imagination going. Students can act out these fun activities for 20 seconds; you can even put them into groups and ask them to write their own activities which you can use in the future.
Pick one student, the other students then stand around the leader, whose eyes are closed. The teacher then takes an object like a banana, or toy and hands it to the students. They have to send it around, passing it along to each other without the leader finding out who has it. The leader can guess who has it and then, if correct, switches with that person.
This is an easy game and the students enjoy it a lot. You can also tell the students that they can fake giving it to each other. Once again, you don’t want the students running around, or throwing things, but you want them to have fun with this activity.
The teacher can use simple yoga poses for students to hold for a minute or 30 seconds. That’s a great way for them to calm down, or a good way for them to prepare for the day ahead. A morning routine helps your students stretch and be ready physically for the class ahead.
They can do jumping jacks, knee lifts, flap their arms like a bird, hopping, reach for the sky, runners’ stretch, or rotate their ankles, wrists and necks. Repeat these simple activities to physically prepare them for the day ahead, or when they need a break during the day.
Get all your students to stand in an open area and then ask them to write their names onto post-it notes. Then take all the post-it notes from them and redistribute them. They then have to put the post-it notes on the back of the student to the right of them. After that say ‘go’ and the students each have to try and find their own name. They then walk around (tell them no running) and look for their name.
When they find the notes with their names on, they have to put it on the chest to see who has won and who is last. You can also play it with some variations and make teams. This is a really easy and fun game to play with your students, just make sure they don’t get too excited while playing it.
Split the class into smaller groups and give them an object or phrase that they have to form, using their bodies to demonstrate the object and with only ten seconds to assemble it. The best group gets a point. This is a fun team building activity and it requires students to think fast and innovative.
So, for a start give them easy objects like a clock, furniture in the classroom, the letters of the alphabet to form. Challenge advanced students with some abstract objects like the north pole. Teams compete to see who is the best; give them 10 seconds and then they have to make the object. After the countdown of ten seconds shout “freeze!” and give them a point.
This is like rock-paper-scissors, except that you have knights, wizards and giants. Put the students into groups together; they have to decide what they want to be. Do they want to be a giant, a wizard, or a knight? Then they have to act it out: wizards beat knights; knights beat giants; giants beat wizards.
So, once they’ve picked what they want to be, you count down three to one and all the groups have to act out what they are in unison. For example, the wizards have to say “shazam!” and wave their wands; the giants have to say “fee-fi-fo-fum” and stomp their feet, while the knights have to say “en garde” and strike with their swords. This is a fun way for the students to work as a team and also have a lot of fun.
Miming is a fantastic way for students to use TPR (total physical response) in the classroom. The teacher tells them what they have to mime. For example, mime an animal, dance like a ballerina, drive a car or ride a bike. When it comes to sport, you can say I want you to do a jumping slam dunk, juggle balls, swing a golf club, do downhill skiing, serve a tennis ball, play ping-pong, shoot an arrow, hit a baseball.
Use miming in your class to make a connection between a word or a phrase, and the meaning, so that they can internalize the language in their own lives.
Miming a lie
Ask the students what they are doing they have to mime one thing but say another for example if they say, “I’m serving a tennis ball,” but they mime swinging a baseball bat. This is really fun and difficult for them at first, but you’ll see how they adapt and what fun it is for them to do. Later the students have a great time watching their friends try to lie and mime at the same time.
Ask your students to stand next to a wall. They then have to arrange themselves according to their height. After checking that they got it right, tell them to rearrange themselves according to their alphabetically according to their name, or birthday date or telephone number.
Use anything you can think of for them to rearrange themselves. Playing games and fun activities in the classroom is a great way to keep your students engaged.
Ask students to think of an interesting animal—don’t make it too easy! They then have to mime that animal to show their friends what their animal looks like without using any words. Then ask your students to stand next to a wall and arrange themselves by the animal’s size, but once again they can’t tell their friends what animal they are; they have to show and mime what the animal looks like and how big it is. Afterwards, the students reveal what animals they were. It’s usually really fun, some come out with strange animals that nobody has heard about.
Rock paper scissors evolution
This is a great activity. Students start off as ‘eggs’ and then have to find other eggs to play rock paper scissors against. They move around as eggs once they win a match to advance up to ‘chicken’ level. Chickens have to say “cluck-cluck” and find other chickens to play against. After winning a match on that level, they become ‘dinosaurs’ and have to move around like dinosaurs until they find another dinosaur to ‘fight’ against. They then progress to become ‘monkeys’ and have to move around like monkeys until they find another monkey to fight against to become ‘humans’.
The winner is the first ‘human’ to win against another ‘human’ becomes the ultimate champion. When players lose a game of rock scissor paper, they do not devolve, unless a ‘human’ loses to the champion and turns into an ‘egg’ again.
Ask the students to stand in a circle, they then have to take the hand of someone not directly to their right and not directly to their left. While holding hands, they now have to untangle the knot without letting go of their hands. They may release their grips a little bit to make it easier to move around.
There are a couple of ways to solve the knot; sometimes they will be in a figure eight, other times they will have to form a circle inside another circle, or they will have to form a big circle with some students facing in or out. This is an easy way if you’ve got a big group to keep them positively busy for a couple of minutes.
Throw and Catch
Throw and catch can either be a spontaneous action, or a classroom game to keep the students alert. The teacher needs something soft like a softball, sponge, or a crumpled paper ball to throw. Students take turns to write keywords from a lesson on the board; they then have to say the word and throw the ball to another student, who then has to make a sentence using that word.
It’s really a good exercise to check up on vocabulary, or if you want to practice some new words. To make it easier for the students, the teacher could write the words on the board first to give them some examples to practice with. Students love throwing and catching and, if you can make it count for points in some way, even better. Teams lose points if they drop the ball or get bonus points if they give a good sentence.
Writing in the Air
Ask students to write their names or words in the air. You can also put students into two groups; each with a list of words. Members of each team take turns to stand in front of the board and copy the words their team is writing in the air. The first team to complete all the words correctly wins. Another variation with smaller students is to use their bodies to shape the letters; or not use their dominant hand to write. This is a fun game to practice the spelling of keywords.
This is an easy game. Students have to count up as far as they can without using seven or multiples of seven. So instead of saying the word seven, they have to use another word, a noun, number or letter. For example: 1 2 3 4 5 6 three 8 9 10 11 12 13 mouse 15 16 chair 18 19 20 dog 22 23 and so on. The first one to make a mistake loses a point and has to restart. Students really get into this game when they try to go faster. This is an interesting classroom energizer to improve the students’ engagement while having a fun lesson.
Ask students to walk around in the class, the teacher then says a number and the students must form groups with that number. For example, while they’re marching around you say the number “two” and the students have to form pairs. If you say “three,” they have to be three in a group and so on. Students who fail to form a group are out.
Another variation is where you write a number on the board and they have to do a pre-arranged action with that number. For example, if it’s number one, they have to sit back-to-back with someone; if it’s two, they have to stand with toes touching; three, they have to sit in a circle; four, they have to sit on their chairs. The activities are really up to you. This is also a great way to train the students to respond to the teacher’s commands.
Love my Neighbor
First, let the students write some ideas on the board about what makes people different, for example: Some are girls and some are boys; people with braces; people with glasses; tall people, short people; people that wear jackets, people that wear the color red. So let them write a list of interesting things that people have.
The students then make a circle and put a pencil in front of each of them with one student in the middle who has to say something, for example: “I love my neighbors, who are girls!” All the girls have to find a new pencil to stand in front of. They cannot move to a pencil directly next to them—they have to find a different pencil. The one student who ends up without a pencil becomes the new leader. This is an interesting game and the students really enjoy this; just make sure that they don’t bump into each other or fight to get in front of a pencil when they have to run around. We want our students to be safe when they’re having fun and doing activities.
Each person thinks of an adjective that starts with their name, for example: “I am exciting Eric.” The next person says: “I am magnificent Michelle, and he is exciting Eric.” The next person says: “I am jolly James. He is exciting Eric, and she is… Oh no! I forgot!” So, I’m out for the round. The students go around the circle and see if they can remember everyone’s adjectives.
This is a fun way for the students to get to know each other. Another variation is to add actions starting with the same letter as their name, for example: “I am exciting Eric, I like to exercise.” The next person says: “I am magnificent Michelle. I like to move. He is exciting Eric, he likes to exercise,” and so on.
Twenty students close their eyes and they have to count down from 20 to 1, but only one person at a time can call out the next number, so they count “20, 19, 18, 17…” but the moment two students say the same number at the same time, they have to restart. The starting number can be the number of students in the class, for example: If there are sixteen students in the class, they can start counting down from 16 and try and get down to one.
Students get very anxious when they get near the last numbers. To make it a bit more stressful, you can add zero as the last number, after which one of the students must say “victory!”
One student per team is blindfolded or must close his or her eyes. The teacher then draws something on the board and the team members then have to explain the drawing to their blindfolded friend. They also have to copy the drawing. The team that gets the closest to the original picture wins.
Remember to take a photo of your drawing before you erase it, to show the students what it actually looked like. For example, you can draw a boat, an animal, or an action and the students have to explain what’s going on. This is limited to your own imagination, so make it interesting and let the students have fun explaining to their friends.
We are all familiar with the telephone game, where children must whisper a word to each other down a line. Older students have to repeat a sentence, whispering it down the line. The last person in line then has to retell the sentence. It’s really fun because you see how the sentence changes over time. Another thing you can do is to show them an action, for example: riding a bike, turning left, then right. They then have to show that to the person in front of them and this carries on to the person who is first in line, who has to show what the original action was.
This shows students how messages change over time as they get passed along, so we have to emphasize how important it is to communicate clearly. These energizers and activities are great as ice breakers or when the students have low energy, to pick up the mood, or if you just want to use some team-building exercises.
Usually, we ask students to introduce themselves to a partner, but now we want them to be psychic. The student looks at a partner, but instead of asking questions, has to guess and make any statements within reason about the partner. For example: “I think you like to read,” or “I think you like to have fun,” or “I think you are very sociable,” or “I think you like spaghetti.” They can also guess about their partner’s future, for example: “I think in the future you will become a fireman/ pop star/ serial killer,” or “I think you will become rich/ infamous one day.” Otherwise, they can guess about their partner’s past: “I think you went on a trip to another country,” or “I think you cried a lot as a baby.”
They can also talk about their situation right now, who they are as a person. It’s really fun guessing things about the partner, especially if the students don’t know each other yet. This is a good way for them to practice saying what they think.
Apples to Apples
Apples to apples is a fun card game where a random sentence is read and the students take turns to select the funniest reply from the answer cards they are given, for example: “At night I become a…?” One student may reply “a baby hippo,” or “a submarine,” while another may answer with “a stick of dynamite”. The teacher decides which one was the funniest.
The teacher could read random sentences from a book or something on the internet. Let the students convert these sentences into questions. They then write their answers on pieces of paper, fold them up, and hand them in. All the questions and answers are then shuffled and read out loud by the students, taking turns. Afterward, the class vote to decide which combination of a question and answer was the best. I’ve had a lot of success with this in the classroom.
Students work in pairs. Student A has to ask student B questions, who has to respond by saying the opposite, or have to make up a lie. For example: “Did you brush your teeth today?” “No, I didn’t.” “I saw you in school today?” “No, you didn’t see me.” “Were you on earth today?” “No, I was on the moon.”
Students have to make up a story, or say the opposite of yes, or no for a couple of minutes before they switch roles. The aim of the game is for students to try and get their partners to make mistakes. Make sure that students don’t ask or repeat the same questions and answers. Try to trap your partner with a trick question, or go faster and faster until they make a mistake.
This is a really fun group activity. Split the class into two teams; let them line up to face each other. Tell them to look at the other team to make sure they notice all the details. Then one team looks away while the other team has to change things about themselves; they can switch places, they can exchange jackets, they can untie their shoes, untie some buttons, switch their watches from one wrist to the other; anything changes they can.
Once the other group turns around, they have to spot all the changes that they can see. It’s a really fun activity because students love trying to trick each other and fool the other team.
Students sit in a circle. One student then stands up and goes to another student and asks a question, for example: “What’s your most annoying habit?” The student addressed may not answer, but the person to their left must answer for them. Students take turns in asking questions. This is a really fun activity because the students use their imagination to ask fun questions and come up with creative answers.
Put the students into groups. Each group has to create some kind of movement or special rule for their group, for example, before you can answer you have to touch your chin, or you have to sit a specific way, or you have to make a noise at some point. Make a special rule for each group to apply, but make sure their rules are not too difficult and are fun. One person from each group then has to visit another group and have a conversation, asking them questions. After a couple of minutes, each group’s spy moves to the next group and then the next. Finally, each spy returns to their team and shares information about what they have observed in the other groups. The teacher checks if each group has figured out what the other group’s special rule was.
This is an interesting activity because it’s all up to the students what rules they make; what they talk about and if they can keep it from the spy within their conversation. For small classes, you can use a variation where students take turns to go outside and then have to figure out what the new special rule is when they return.
Who’s the leader?
One (or two) student leaves the class to play the role of detective. The class has to decide who’s the leader. When the detective student comes back into the class, he or she has to ask the class some questions to guess who the leader is. The class secretly imitates the moves that the leader makes. For example, if the leader sits in a particular way, everybody else has to copy the leader, but they have to do so discreetly. The detective has to guess who the leader is.
This is an easy but fun game. If the class has many students, you can put them into groups and have a detective for each group simultaneously.
Sometimes students struggle to use the right prepositions when giving instructions. Playing Crazy Cubes helps them practice prepositions. Write some words, for example, write on Cube 1: book, pen, backpack, eraser, marker, and paper. Then, on Cube 2, write some places: the floor, the teacher’s desk, chair, a friend’s desk, the dustbin, or the door. Students then line up; you can even split them into teams if you want to make it more competitive.
One student then has to throw the dice twice and give instructions to the partner, depending on the rolled numbers. For example, if they threw a one and a four, they have to tell their partner to place a book on the desk; and then when they throw it again, place a schoolbag next to the chair. It’s even more fun for the students if you place them in teams and they have to compete with each other to complete all the activities and finish first.
Ask all the students to stand up. Each student then has to say something that is unique to them. For example, “I have three brothers.” If somebody else also has three brothers, it cancels the uniqueness. The student then has to sit down and think about something else that may be unique. This helps students to think about some experiences that they’ve had, or things that might be unique to them. This is a great way for students to share things that are inherently unique to them. They can talk about experiences that they’ve had, places they’ve been to, things about their families, or they can talk about skills that might be unique to them.
Let the students share these things; it also helps the students to think about why they are unique, what makes them special, and to celebrate that. Playing games and using fun activities in the classroom is a great way to keep your students engaged. I recommend using these games and activities to spice up your class and to get your students engaged in the material they are studying.
The Perfect World
Place students into groups or with a partner. They then have to discuss and imagine their perfect world. It could include world peace; everyone gets a free pizza every week; there is no school and everyone can play the whole day. It is up to the pair or the group what they think their perfect world is. Once they’re done, they have to present their perfect world to the class, and then the class votes on who has the perfect world.
It’s up to the teacher whether it should be based on reality, or if they can include fantasy elements, like everybody has a superpower, or could fly, or no one dies. I think this is a fun way for the students to be creative and to think about what they really want in life.
Questions board game
Talktastic has a free board game with many topics. Put the students into pairs or into groups. They have to throw a dice and try to make it all around the board game. They also have to practice asking questions. Many teachers have some issues with students struggling to ask questions (using why, who, what, when, where, and how / have you). So, this board game can really help students practice asking questions. For example, if they land on a topic like ‘math teacher,’ you can ask: “Who is your math teacher? Why do you like that teacher? When do you have class with that teacher? Where is that teacher’s class? How long have you known that teacher?”
Get them to practice these five W’s and one H. What I like to do with my students too is to get them to ask follow-up questions, so once a student answers a question their partner should ask them a follow-up.
FREE BOARDGAME —-> Click HERE!
First, make a list of ten famous people; they can include celebrities, politicians, sports stars, singers, or artists, whoever. Make the list with your students, then put them into groups and tell the groups that there will be a dinner party with these ten famous people as guests. It is up to the groups to decide the seating arrangement around the table for these ten celebrities.
They have to make sure that the celebrities are placed next to someone they can talk to so they won’t be bored. They should have similar interests to talk about; some celebrities might not like each other. Once they’re done, let the students present their table setting to the class and explain (justify) why the celebrities are going to sit where designated.
What’s my problem?
First, write about some common problems that students face; maybe they don’t get enough sleep, or it could be that they always fight with their brother, or maybe they don’t study for a test. Write all these problems on the board and let the students also write them on post-it notes while you are writing the board. Once you’ve got enough problems for all the students in the class, take these notes and randomly place them on students’ backs.
The class then mingles—they walk around and ask their friends what’s about the problem they are labeled with. Their friends look at their problem and then give them advice without revealing the problem. They may not tell them directly what their problem is, but they should give some advice and from that advice, the student can figure out what their problem is. For example: “Maybe you should always pack your bag at night,” the student can guess what his or her problem is.
The M&M game
I’ve played this game a lot with groups. Give them a small packet of M&M chocolate candies. Once a student has picked an M&M, he or she has to talk about a certain topic for one minute before they can eat that M&M. What do they talk about it depends on the color of the M&M they pick: If it’s blue they talk about a hobby; if it’s brown, they talk about a wish they have; yellow is about their family, or their friends; orange is about a vacation they took in the past and red is about anything they want to talk about.
This is a great activity for the students to get to know each other, or if you just want to share some treats with them and let them practice their speaking skills.
A Day in the life
Put the students into groups; they play rock paper scissors and the losing student has to leave the room. The group then has to make up a fictitious schedule about what they did that day. You can write it on the board, for example, “A Day in My Life”. So, what did that student do from 8 to 12 am? And then from 12–2 pm, 2–6 pm, 6–10 pm, and 10–12 pm? It doesn’t have to be one hundred percent correct. Tell them to make it fun and interesting and write it down somewhere.
The student then comes back into the class and he or she has to guess what the activity was during that particular time period, for example: If they wrote from 8 to 12 am he went scuba diving, then he has to ask them questions to figure out what the secret activity was. He can ask “yes” or “no” questions; he can ask specific members or the entire group. This is a fun way for the students to think about their schedules and to imagine what they could do with their time.
Where’s my present?
First get the students to draw a toy, it could be any toy they really want, or just an interesting toy. You then fold up the toy drawings and hand them out to random students in the class, who take a look at the toy before putting it away. The students then have to mingle around and look for their toy by asking questions describing their toys. What the object is, be it a car, a doll, a robot, what colour it is and so on. They walk around and ask questions until they all find their drawings and it is handed back to them. This is a really good activity for students to have fun and ask good questions classroom.
It’s a deal
In negotiations there is a clear objective and a desired result, therefore negotiations are inherently stimulating. It’s also a great way for learners to practice explaining themselves, or to argue their ideas. Place the learners in pairs and ask them to practice one conversation for every category. Once they are done, let some of the pairs perform a negotiation in front of class parents and children.
They can talk about homework, dinner, bedtime, pocket money, chores, staying at a friend’s house or what birthday presents they want, boyfriends and girlfriends, where to go for dinner, what to watch on TV, spending time with other people, who should we visit for the holiday. For older students the topics could the amount of homework, classroom behavior, classroom rules. Regarding employers and employees, the negotiations could be about working hours, salary, how much holiday do they get, what benefits or asking for a promotion. Regarding politics, they can talk about avoiding war, international agreements, and exporting agreements. The negotiations can be between a landlord and a tenant to agree on the rent, about the house’s condition and how to fix it. Another scene is between a police officer and a witness, making deals, offering protection or between a police officer and a criminal, which also could be fun.
A quick warning: I have seen many learners take role plays and simulations too seriously; remember it’s about taking part and not about winning.
Superlatives – The Most
First, place students into pairs. They should create a list of ten questions they can ask about ‘the most’. “What is the most interesting place you’ve been to? What was your worst subject at school? What is the tallest building you’ve been in? Who is the strangest (odd, unusual, peculiar) person you’ve ever met? What is the greatest problem in the world today?” Once the pairs have completed their questions, they should walk around the class and ask other students some of these questions.
Remember to get them to ask follow-up questions too. For example: If they asked what is the most money you’ve spent in a day, the follow-up question could be where it was spent. They can ask each person three questions and move on to the next person. This is a great activity to practice superlatives. It also gives individualized answers for each student. When they’re done, take feedback from your students; ask them what are some interesting answers or questions that they’ve heard.
Erase the dialogue
Many students are not confident when it comes to speaking out in class and prefer having a script to read from. The problem is that they rely on the script as a crutch, so what can you do is to write a piece of dialogue on the whiteboard, then put the students into pairs and let them study the dialogue. Then start erasing parts of it while students repeat the sentences of the dialogue, filling in the blanks. As they gain confidence, you erase more and more words until all the words are gone and the dialogue completely memorized.
This is a great way for students to gain confidence in memorizing material and to practice dialogue. I recommend using these games and activities to spice up your class and to get your students engaged in the material they are studying.
Guided group storytelling
Split the class into groups of four students. Each group builds a story together, and each student gets the chance to build towards the story. Write this sentence on the board, for example: “There was an old lady living in a house in the forest with her granddaughter.” Each student should describe a part of the story; the first student should describe the old lady, what does she look like, who is she, what does she do? Student B will describe the house; what does the house look like, is it big or small? Student C will describe the forest; is it a big forest, is it dark, are there flowers and animals? Student D then should describe the granddaughter; what is her name, what does she look like, what is her personality, what does she do at the house? Then continue with the story: “One day a young man knocked at the door,” what does he look like, who is he, where is he from, why is he at the house? Then finish the story; each student adds one sentence until it’s complete.
Once they finish the story, place all the groups into new groups where each individual student has to retell the story to their new group. This is a great way for students to collectively build a story and then afterward share that story with other students.
There’s been a murder (a bank robbery, or a pet was kidnapped) and the students have to find out who is responsible. So, depending on the class size, pick two, three, or four volunteers to be suspects who have to go outside the classroom while the rest have to work on the questions they plan to ask the suspects: Where were they at the time of the murder; what were they doing? If they were eating at a restaurant, which restaurant and what were they eating? They have to figure out the details and talk about it. Make a corresponding number of groups, so if you have three students outside, there should be three groups. You can even let them write some of the questions so that they are prepared for when the suspects come inside. The teacher can help the students outside prepare their alibis.
When the suspects return to class, each one of them goes to a group where the group interrogates them and asks them questions about what they were doing and who they were with (the alibi) when the crime took place. After a couple of minutes, they switch and then they switch again so that each group interrogates all the suspects to test their stories. Once they are done, you can ask the students who was the worst liar, who do they think was guilty. As an extension, students can debate what the penalty should be.
Things in common
Place the students into pairs. Their goal is to find out some interesting things that they have in common with their partner. So, they can talk about hobbies, experiences, places they’ve been to, things they’ve done, things about their lives, their families, and so on. They should find three interesting things that they have in common. Once they are done, they can share that with the class.
Another way is to let them create a Venn diagram of things that are unique to each student and in the middle have the things they have in common. You can even put the students into groups of three to determine what they all have in common with one another. This is a good activity because we should celebrate the things we have in common and not just focus on the differences. The students can make friends and they can form closer ties, thanks to these things that they share.
Students have to make a simple presentation on an easy topic, but they each have to add an interesting word. First, ask the students to write some ideas for topics; it could be food, sports, hobbies, anything simple. They write the topic down on a piece of paper together with their names. The students then have to look up and write an interesting word that they keep secret from their friends. The students must then prepare a short one-minute presentation or speech on the topic and have to hide the secret word inside the speech.
After presenting their speeches to the class, the other students have to nominate the words they think could be the secret word. The result is that they listen intently to find out what word is new or sounds a little out of place. The teacher writes the nominated words on the board and the class has to vote. If they pick the wrong word, the presenter wins.
In this way, students practice doing presentations and they don’t feel that stressed about it because they focus on the secret word they have to hide. There are many strategies they can use. They can hide the secret word within the topic to try and confuse the class. This is a really fun activity, and it really gets the best out of your students when they have to practice for presentations or speeches.
What’s the name again
Students are going shopping but they forgot the name of the item they want to buy, so they have to try and explain what it looks like and does. Put the students into pairs; one person is the shopkeeper and the other is the buyer.
Give the students a list of words that they have to describe. For example, student A asks the shopkeeper, “Do you have those things that you put into the sink to stop the water from draining?” Or, “Do you have that thing that you pour water in to boil it?” “Do you have something to cut paper with?” “What’s that thing people watch movies on? “What is that thing you put water in to keep it hot or to keep it cold?” The shopkeeper can then say, “Oh! Do you want a sink plug/ kettle/ scissor/ TV/ thermos?” You want to make sure that the students actually know what the item is, so keep it simple.
If things were different
Place the students into groups, then they have to think of a celebrity they know and write a list of what that celebrity has achieved. It could be a sports star, a singer, a politician, anyone that’s very famous. Walk around and make sure that each group thinks of a different person. They then report back to the class about their celebrity and his or her accomplishments. Write the names on the board so that you can see who they’ve picked.
Now each group has to think of an alternative history for each celebrity; what would have happened if something different took place in their lives, or if they didn’t achieve something. Note that not each alternative history has to end in a disaster; they could just have become something else. When all the groups are done, they report back with their alternate histories. The most creative or well-explained history gets a point. Make sure that each student gets a chance to explain something about the alternate history.
This activity gets the students to think out of the box. You could also make them use some key grammar forms. These energizers and activities are great as icebreakers, to pick up the mood, or if you just want to use some team-building exercises. Use these classroom energizers and activities with your class to improve the students’ engagement and to have a fun lesson.
First, ask your students to draw an item, any object, or any item. For example, I drew this robot. Once they are done, collect all the drawings and redistribute them randomly to all the students who look at items. Next, tell the students that they are stranded on a deserted island and only half of them can survive. The only thing they have is the item in the drawing, but they have to convince the rest of the class on why they should stay. For example, if I got this robot, I would say: “Everyone, you have to keep me, I’ve got this robot that can do chores for us. It can chop wood for us.” This is a great way for the students to try and convince each other and to have fun.
Write notes for all your students with ‘H’ for ‘human’ and then maybe, depending on your class size, two or three ‘Z’ notes for ‘zombies’ with special instruction on how to catch ‘humans’. Hand them out to your students, but they have to keep their identities secret. Warn them that there is a ‘zombie’ or two in the classroom with a secret way to convert ‘humans’ into ‘zombies’. Next, write some basic topics on the board, and instruct the students, for example, “Okay everyone, I want you to talk about food with your partner. What’s your favorite food? What did you eat last night?” You then say: “Stop, everyone find a new partner. I want you to talk about hobbies, etc.” The students then start having conversations.
Those students who are zombies have to wink at the other student in the conversation, but they have to do it discreetly so that the other students do not notice the secret sign. If the student notices the wink and winks back at the zombie, then that student also becomes a zombie. So, the zombies keep on multiplying. When the conversation is over, the students have to find new partners and continue the process. Switch partners perhaps two or three times. After changing partners a few times, ask your students who are zombies to raise their hands. It’s really fun to get students to practice conversational English!
Classroom energizers and activities are great as icebreakers, or to pick up the mood when students have low energy. They work great as team-building exercises and can be used by teachers to improve their instruction and engage their students.