Good Warm Up Exercises for Advanced ESL Students

Written by arash farzaneh
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Good Warm Up Exercises for Advanced ESL Students
Warm-up exercises are a good way to start the class. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Warm-up exercises are an excellent way to start language classes. These activities work well as daily icebreakers and raise the students' participation and motivation from the beginning. Since the students are using their creativity and humour during such activities, they are in the right frame of mind for further language learning.

Have you ever?

Warm-up exercises often an be used to reinforce previously learnt material. In this activity, students write down and ask five general questions starting with "Have you ever ...." For example, they may ask "Have you ever been to Thailand?" In this way, students are using questions and answers in the present perfect tense, they get to know each other a little better and they start participating right away.

Guess the Author

Another way to start your class is to get the students to write a short paragraph about what they did the previous day or weekend. The texts are collected and read out by the teacher. Based on the information and writing style, students will try to guess who wrote the passage.

Fortunately / Unfortunately

A warm-up for speaking is the chain story of Fortunately / Unfortunately. The learner is given a sentence to start off the story, such as "I went to Cancun last month." Students will then add events, alternating between positive ones, "Fortunately the weather was nice," and negative events, such as "Unfortunately, I lost my wallet." The stories need to be coherent, but can take sudden twists and turns and become amusing and entertaining, as a result.


A game in which the advanced students have to use their knowledge and creativity is Scattergories. In this game, the teacher provides five different categories, which could be parts of speech, such as adjectives and nouns, different types of food and animals, or simply topics like "in the kitchen" or "at school." A letter of the alphabet is selected randomly and the students need to come up with words in each category starting with the given letter.

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