52 Games and Activities for the Classroom to Energize students

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.

Four Corners

One of the students is blindfolded and made to stand in the middle of the class. The other students have to go and stand in one of the four corners. The blindfolded student shouts out a number and all the students in that corner number are out. When there aren’t many students left, you can reduce the number of corners. For example, when there are only three corners left, the students can only stand in one of those three corners.

You can also make a rule like they can’t stand in the same corner, especially for friends who always stand together. This continues until there is only one winner who then becomes the new leader.

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. Once the game starts, the students have to move away from student B and get as close as possible to student A that they can. However, they have to do it in secret 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.

Wiggle game

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!

ADVANCED English Speaking Activities —> Click HERE!

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, 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.

Banana game

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.

Yoga poses

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.

Name grab

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.

Ten seconds

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.

Shazam!

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; knight 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

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 animals, dance like a ballerina, drive a car or bike. When it comes to sport, you can say I want you to do a jumping slam dunk, juggle balls, swing a golf club, downhill skiing, serving a tennis ball, shooting an arrow, batting 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 going to be really fun and difficult for them at first but you’ll see how they adapt and how fun it is for them to do later the students have a great time by watching their friends trying to lie and mime at the same time

Line up

Ask your students to stand next to a wall. They then have to arrange themselves according to their height. After that you can check them and ask them to rearrange themselves according to their alphabetically according to their name, or birthday 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.

Animal Roundup

Ask students to think of an interesting animal – don’t make it too easy! They then have to mime that animal without using words, they also have to show their friends what their animal looks like. 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 and becomes the ultimate champion. When players lose a game of rock scissor paper, they do not devolve, except when a human loses to the champion and turns into an egg again.

Human knot

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 soft ball, sponge, a crumpled paper ball, or even half a toilet roll to throw. Students take turns to write key words 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 some 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 utilize points in some way, it is 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 at the board and copy the words the team are 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 using their dominant hand to write. This is a fun game to practice the spelling of key words.

Sevens Game

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 easy game when they try to go faster. This is an interesting classroom energizer to improve the students’ engagement while having a fun lesson.

Mingle game

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 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 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 of 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 down 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.

Awesome Adjectives

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.

Countdown

Twenty students close their eyes and they have to count down from 20 to 1, but only one person at a time can count down, so 20 19 18 17… If two students say the same number at the same time they have to restart. It can also 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”.  

Blind Drawing

One student is blindfolded or must close his or her eyes. The teacher then draws something on the board and the rest of the class 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 friend.

Telephone

Now you all know telephone: Students line up and you tell the student at the back of the line a sentence that they have to retell and pass forward to the first person in line, who 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.  

Psychic Game

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, have to make statements 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.” You can guess anything about your partner. You can also talk about someone’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.” You can guess about your partner’s past: “I think you went on a trip to another country,” or “I think you love playing computer games.”

They can talk about their situation right now, who they are as a person, or guess about what they will do in the future. It’s really fun guessing things about your 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 answer cards they are given, for example: “At night I become a…?” Some student may say “baby submarine,” while another says: “a stick of dynamite”. The teacher decides which one was the funniest.

If you don’t have the cards, I’ve got a list of funny sentences in the book that you can find in the description of below. Students can say these sentences and then their friends can write the answers on a piece of paper fold it up give it to the person reading it. They then shuffle it and decide which one is the best, taking turns to read the sentences.  I’ve had a lot of success with this in the classroom, check out the book (due soon) in the description if you would like those sentences.

Opposites

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 lie, or say the opposite of yes or no for a couple of minutes before they switch roles. Students have to try and get their partner to make a mistake. 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.

What’s different?

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.

Don’t answer

Students sit in a circle, one student then stand 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. Student 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.

Spy group

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 the special rule for each group is applied. As the teacher, make sure what their rules are not too difficult and is fun. Then one person from each group has to visit another group; they have a conversation; the students chat to each other. 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 the information they talk about it. 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 has to try and 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 like this everybody else has to copy the leader, but they have to try and keep it secret. The detective has to try and 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.

Crazy cubes

Sometimes students struggle to use the right prepositions when giving instructions. Playing crazy cubes helps them practice prepositions. Write down some words, for example: Write on Cube 1: book, pen, backpack, eraser, marker and paper. Then on Cube 2 you can 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 for their partner depending on the rolled numbers. For example, if they threw a one and a four, they have to tell their partner place your book on your friend’s desk; and then when they throw it again, place your pencil 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.

Be Unique

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 and the student has to sit down and think about something else that may be unique. This helps them 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 past 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 then they have to discuss and then create 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 what they really want in life.

Questions board game

I found this free board game on Talktastic with many different topics. Put the students into pairs or into groups and then they have to throw a dice and try and 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 teacher, you can ask: “Who is your teacher, why do you like that teacher, when do you see 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!

Dinner party

First make a list of ten famous people; they can include any 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 interest 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 down some common problems that students face; it could be that they don’t get enough sleep, or it could be that they always fight with their brother, or it could be that they don’t study for a test. Write down all these problems on the board, while doing that let the students also write it down on post-it notes as you are writing it down on the board. Once you’ve got enough problems for all the students in the class, take these notes and randomly place them on student’s 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 gives 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 the life. So, what did that student do from 8 – 12 am, 12 – 2 pm, 2 – 6 pm, 6 – 10 pm, 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 down from 8 – 12 he went scuba diving, then he has to ask them questions to figure out what he did. So, he can ask yes or no questions, he can ask specific members or the whole 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 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 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 and 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 aren’t very 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 down a dialogue and then start erasing some of the parts so that they memorize it and learn to use scripts more naturally. Put the students into pairs and let them study the dialogue. You then start to erase some words and let the students read the dialogue again filling in the blanks. As they gain confidence, you erase more and more words until all words are gone.

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 a 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 afterwards share that story with other students.

Alibi

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 down 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 get closer with these things that they share.

Secret word

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 down 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 down 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 bit 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 try and describe, for example: Student A goes to the shopkeeper and asks, “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 and then you heat it up?” “Do you have something to cut paper with?” “What’s that thing people use to 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 happened differently 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 in a group 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 ice breakers, 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.

Deserted island

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.

Secret zombie

You want to write a lot of h’s for Human and then maybe, depending on your class size, two or three z’s for Zombies.  Hand them out to your students, but they have to keep their identity secret. Then they must mingle around and talk with other students; if they are a zombie they have to wink at the other person in the conversation, but they have to do it secretly so that nobody else notices. When they wink at a person that person 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. Write some basic topics on the board, you can say: “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.” 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!

Conclusion

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 my teachers to improve their instruction and engage their students.

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