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FUN FACT: "Half the world's population will speak English by 2015." (source)


Warmups provide the students with relaxation time and builds their confidence a little before jumping in the heart of the English lesson. A warmup can last anywhere from 5-15 minutes, depending on the needs of your lesson plan and the level of the students.

Also, most of the activities below require little to no preparation, making them extremely useful when you've got an extra 10 minutes at the end of class or when your JTE asks you to prep a short lesson five minutes before class starts.

Acronym Fun: This warm-up or time-killer game tests the students on the meaning. It helps bring about awareness of vocabulary they may already know, as well as introduce new vocabulary.
Air Spell: Unlike ‘air guitaring and drumming’, Spelling requires a skill. Students ‘air fingerspell’ English words in hopes their teammates can guess the word that is being spelt.
Alphabet Madness: An activity to motivate students to write the alphabet faster.
Around the World: Students must respond to questions to sit down.
Ask Me!: An easy way to get an entire class to practice 'target grammar' and learn more about their ALT.
Ball & Chain: Students toss two balls attached to each other around the room while asking questions.
Ball & Music: Students pass a ball to music and revise questions or vocabulary.
Band Guess: Students try to guess the name of the Japanese band from pictograms.
Behind My Back: With their back to the class, students try to guess who is speaking.
Blackboard Relay: Students run to the blackboard relay style to write phrases.
Body Ball: Hitting students and teachers is wrong, eh? Well, this game not only encourages it, but students review recent vocabulary while committing this atrocious act.
Body Discovery: A row race where students attempt to fill in as many body parts on a stick figure, within five minutes, as possible. Usually a lot of fun for students as they learn the correct spelling of various body parts.
Boggle: Students work to make as many words as possible from a 3x3 grid on the chalkboard.
Bomber Man: This activity is a good warm-up to review previous lessons. It can be used with any grammar point.
Bye-Bye Spelling: Students memorize words written on the chalkboard and write them as you randomly erase them.
Categories: Students aim to think of many words associated with a topic.
Chalkboard Bingo: Students write words in their notebooks hoping to score a bingo.
Cogs: Just like the cogs in a clock, students must work together to remember the previous students’ words, actions and/or sounds.
Contagion: A janken (rock-paper-scissors) game. Students practice answering the question 'What's wrong?' whilst spreading illnesses.
Criss-Cross: Students race to answer questions in hopes of sitting down before their friends.
Doink!: In this fast-paced gesture game, students throw a Doink ball around the room acting out various adjectives.
Dondake Money: どんだけぇ~! is said when the speaker is surprised about something done or said. It basically means Really?!?! In this どんだけぇ~ warm-up game, students blindly bet money that they can spell words.
English Phrases: Students study basic useful English phrases. It works best for first year students, but it is recommended for second and third year students as well if they don't already know the phrases.
Famous People Introductions: A shiritori type game where students race to write sentences about famous people.
Fill In the Blank: A warm up game. The students have to listen and fill in the blank word or ending (to make the sentence true).
Guess My Number: In groups, the students try to guess your random number.
Guests, The: Students listen to a scary story and reach for an eraser when they hear the target word.
Hot Potato: Students pass an object around while listening to music. When the music stops, the student holding the object says a target vocabulary.
Hot Milk Bottle: This is a Hot Potato kind of game, except with chopsticks and a lunch milk bottle.
Imagine If: Students imagine their JTE as a sport, a car, an actor - any number of unusual and interesting things. Then, they guess the sport, car, actor, unusual and interesting thing that best describes the JTE.
Janken, Change, Retire: Students work in pairs to answer two questions in order for their pair to retire from the game.
Janken Taikai: Taikai is Japanese for event, game or competition. Students play Janken with you/JTE and the winners, losers, and/or tie’er’s must stand up and face the barrage of questions.
Karuta Alternative: A Karuta game where teams battle to put vocabulary words in order.
Lucky or Unlucky: Ten different things are listed and students must decide if those things are lucky or unlucky.
Missing Letter Quiz: Students make words by adding a missing letter.
Mystery Word: Students help the ALT guess the words written on the chalkboard.
One Thing Song: Students listen to a song by the band One Direction and fill in blanks. 
Phonic Fun: Students listen to the ALT pronounce words from the worksheet and choose the corresponding words in an 'amida' or 'ghost leg' activity.
Picture Shiritori: Students compete in an exciting row race to see which row can create the most pictures with their matching words in 5-10 minutes.
Pronunciation Pyramid Mummys: This activity is to help the students with difficult minimal pairs. It is a good warm-up activity for any grade at any school.
Pyramid Game: Students have to think of English words, phrases and sentences in order to help other students understand the mystery word.
Quick Draw: Students race to be the first person to 'shoot' their opponent's card in order to steal it.
Read My Lips: Students watch your lips in an effort to understand what you are mouthing.
Riddles Away: Students try to understand the English riddles and solve the problems.
Scrabble Time Bomb: A timer is started and students race to write words on the chalkboard and not to be the student holding the chalk when the timer sounds.
Shiritori: Shiritori is the name of a popular Japanese game, whereas one person says a word and the next person must say a word that starts with the last letter of the word before them: dog, gate, each, hand, etc.
Shredded Fables: Students work in groups to try to piece together short classic fables. 
Sit Down: This variation of the Criss-Cross game has students listening intently to easy questions in hopes to sit down.
Slaps: Students slap each other’s hands for not speaking English.
Spelling Race: Students work in teams to spell words to sit down the first.
Spin the Bottle: Students play Spin the Bottle to review a grammar point or to wrap up a lesson's activity.
Team Hangman: Choose a sentence from the textbook. Students guess letters and try to guess the sentence. It's more fun than it sounds.
Think Outside the Shape: Students think about objects in relationship to shape.
Time or Length Word Race: This is a word race game that has students trying to write long words in order to win the race.
Toilet Paper: Using squares of toilet paper, students offer up bits of information about themselves.
Touch the Word: This is a simple warmup activity where the students listen for a word, find and touch it.
True or False: Students listen and decide whether various sentences are true.
Twisted Pictionary: Students have ten seconds to draw a picture and have their teammates guess it.
Who Is Your Favorite....?: A quick pair work activity to practice question beginning with who.
Winter Break Bingo: Students ask each other if they did different activities over Winter Break. If the answer is "yes," they sign their names under the activity. The first student to get a bingo wins.
Winter Olympic Medal Challenge: This is a warmup game to do in class before and during the Winter Olympics.
Word Make Up: Students make up words using the letters given on the worksheet.
Word or Sentence: Students choose to receive a 'word' or a 'sentence' to put into Japanese.
Yamanote Line: Students pound on their desks and while practicing various English target vocabulary.
You Have: Get students predicting and practicing "you have" in this rhythmical one-on-one game.


This page was last modified on Thursday, March 05, 2015 09:53:35 AM