ESL Kids Warm Up and Maintenance Tips
These activities can be done in the following order at the start of your lesson:
- Supplies: cushions (one for each S), name tags, glove puppet in a cloth bag, any supplies from previous lessons to use for reviewing.
- Songs: The Hello Song or a review song from last class.
Greet the Ss by name as they enter the classroom and gesture for them to sit down. It's a good idea to have a cushion for each student (and mother) as this makes sitting arrangements easy to organize. Try and arrange the cushions beforehand spaced out in a fan-shape around you.
- Name Tags
Before class prepare some name tags (stickers or pin-on tags) with each S's name written on in lower case letters. Sit down with your Ss and lay out the name tags in front of you. Pick up each tag and call out the name. Try and encourage each S to put their hand up and say "yes". Hand over the tags and help to pin / stick on. For older Ss, have them write their names on their name tags.
- Glove Puppet greetings
Use a glove puppet (such as a Sesame Street puppet) to greet the students. Keep him in a cloth bag. Bring out the bag, open it enough to see in and shout into the bag the puppet's name (e.g. "Cookie Monster!"). Then move your ear to the opening to listen - nothing. Go to each S and encourage them to shout the puppet's name into the bag - each time nothing happens. Finally, get all the Ss together to shout the name at the same time. This time the puppet wakes up and jumps out of the bag! The puppet then chats to each S: "Hello", "What's your name?" "Goodbye / See you" before going back into the bag and back to sleep.
- Sing "Hello Song" or a Review Song
Sit in a circle and sing along to the song. Encourage Ss to clap along or pat their laps in time with the music. The Hello Song (Max & Millie's Song Cassette) is a good song to start with.
- Homework check
Check each S's homework set in the last lesson. Ask each student some questions (e.g. "what color is it?"), give lots of praise, and then put some kind of mark on the homework sheet (e.g. a sticker or a stamp - I draw a smiley face). Tell your Ss to put their homework back into their bags.
- Do "Exercise Routine" activity
Say the following and have the Ss follow your lead: "Stand up (T stands and so does everyone else), "Hands up / hands down" (x 3-5), "Jump" (x3-5), "Run! / Stop!" (x3-5), "Turn around! / Stop!" (x3-5), finally "Sit down". Throughout the course you can introduce other commands, such as "Hop", "Star Jump", "Wiggle", "Crouch" and so on.
- Review past lesson vocab / structures / games / songs / etc.
Reviewing past lessons is very important - Ss need constant practice of new vocab, structures, songs, games and so on. Always review your last lessons as well as some parts from other previous lessons. You can spend 5-10 minutes reviewing - it's fine to recycle games and activities from your past lessons to review as kids enjoy playing familiar games (although be careful not to play a game to death!).
Note: You can also include review activities in the main body of your lesson. Little kids have short attention spans so it's good to be able to pull out lots of activities during different stages of the lesson.
Other ideas to include in your Warm Up:
What's in the bag?
This is a great activity to do at the beginning of your lessons. Fill a large cloth bag with items from your previous lessons (e.g. plastic fruit, animals, etc.). You can also throw in a few other objects (e.g. an eraser, a plastic bottle, a plastic cup - anything lying around (and safe!)). Show the bag to your Ss and shake it to rattle the objects inside. Pull out different objects, teach/elicit their names, have Ss hold and pass the objects around. You can even have Ss pull objects out of the bag. Pull out 1 or 2 objects per S. Finally, place the objects around the classroom and have each S retrieve each object as you call out its name and put it back in the bag.