Tag Archives: first day activities

First Day : getting to know my students

I’ve been teaching for a long, loooong time and one might expect I don’t have to suffer from first-class stress . But I’ve come to terms with myself and admitted  that no matter how long I’ve been in the business, it is always going  to feel like  having a bull ( past the butterfly feeling) in my stomach. So again, I’m hunting books ,posts, and the Internet for ideas to use on the first day  to get to know my students and to give them the first chance to use the language. These are the ones I’m considering  – in case you want to use them.

By the way, these are the ones I used last year if you want to have a look https://www.cristinacabal.com/?p=2694

♥Interviewing your partner: Tell students they are going to interview four or five people they don’t know in the class. Ask them to write three or four questions to ask these people. Once it is done, students get up and walk around the classroom.

♥Get to Know you Bingo: this one requires a bit of preparation but it’s not like you are already loaded with exams, is it? Let’s play bingo, then! Now, the first thing you need to do is prepare a bingo sheet with some questions ( a grid of  4×4 , for example). Make sure students know how to play bingo- this is quite  important, as you can guess. Students get up and walk around asking questions to everybody in the class but they have to have a different name for each grid. So if a student asks a question to a student and this student says “yes”, he should write the name of that student in the grid and move on; if the student says “no”, he can then ask this same student a new question. The first person to get a line down or across shouts “LINE” and the first person to fill in all the boxes with a name shouts  BINGO.

I would , of course, encourage follow-up questions  when checking,  with  the students providing the questions- of course.

♥Who Am I..? I love this game to introduce myself to my students. It is played in teams and there is a winner. If you have been reading me for some time you know I am very competitive; that must be the reason why I am definitely going to use this one this year. The game was written by Paul Adams  and here is the link

♥Five Questions. Divide the class in five groups and ask each group to write a question they would like to ask you. In turns, one member of each group comes up to the board and writes the question. The students decide if the question is correct in terms of tenses, spelling …etc. Finally, the student asks the question. Before you tell them, give the students the chance to guess your answer.

♥Writing SampleI’m thinking it might be a good idea to use this warm-up after doing some oral practice. The idea is to ask students  to write a bit about themselves  to  get an idea of how advanced they are. Some ideas might be : Why are you learning English and why are you taking this course? or What’s your favourite hobby ?

Hope you can use some of these ideas!!!

Back to School ! Part II : Icebreakers to get to know my students

So much for writing about going back to school but… my classes haven’t started yet.The big day is going to be Monday and I am still deciding which ice-breakers will work better  with my new students.

Let me show you some of the ones I’m considering and you might want to drop a line if you know of any others that work well. The good things about these ones is that they require “No Preparation“.

The one I like best is Personal Star for many reasons, but mainly because it requires no preparation  and students always  enjoy a bit of gossip  about their new teacher.

I draw a star on the board and inside it  6  answers to questions about me. (My answers are black , London, December 9, tennis, Terry, English , and meat.)

Tell students that the star contains information about you. Ask them to try to guess the information behind the words by asking questions.If they don’t get the idea give an example. Tell them “My favourite colour is black. What question do you need to ask to find out this information?” Elicit from them, “What’s your favourite colour?” and cross out the word ‘black’ from the star.

Then, put the students in pairs. Ask them to draw their own personal star and put 6 pieces of information about themselves inside. In pairs they can ask each other questions to find out about their partner. When they have all finished, ask them as a group to tell the others what they have found out about their partner.

Who has never told a white lie?? This is another very traditional way of getting to know your students. The Game could be called True or False? or any other name you fancy.

Write on the board  3 statements about yourself :, 2 must be  true ones and 1 must be false.  Grade the statements depending on the level of the class. For beginners, use the present simple.


♥I go to the gym four times a week
♥I like football
♥My favourite singer is Justin Bieber

For a more advanced level, a mixture of tenses would be great:
♥I have been to Israel in July
♥I once did a bungee jump
♥I don’t like hoovering

Students will have to  guess which one is false. Then, ask the students to do the same and write 3 sentences about themselves. In small groups they read out their sentences and the others guess the false one.

♣Add an adjective
The aim of this activity is to try to learn their names. Introduce yourself by saying, “my name’s Cristina and I’m calm”. (Replace Cristina with your name and “calm” with an adjective which has the same first letter) Emphasise the fact that your adjective starts with same letter as your name. Invite the students to introduce themselves in the same way.

♣Hot Seat: Preparation: some vocabulary for revisionSplit the  class into two teams. Take two chairs and place them at the front of the class. One member from each team sit in the chairs so they are facing their teams and with their backs to the board.
Now, write one of the words you want to revise and write it on the board. The aim of the game is for the students in the teams to describe that word, using synonyms, antonyms, definitions etc. to their team mate who is in the hot seat – that person can’t see the word! The student in the hot seat listens to their team mates and tries to guess the word.
The first hot seat student to say the word wins a point for their team.
Then change the students over, with a new member of each team taking their place in their team’s hot seat.
Then write the next word…

Source: straight from http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/language-assistant