44. Can you suggest warm-up ideas for second language classes?

Warm-up activities usually take place at the beginning of a class period, to help students transition into a second language class where the main focus is language development: listening, speaking, reading and writing in a language that is not their primary language. Teachers can plan daily warm-up activities for the first few minutes of each class that help students review:

(1) vocabulary -- The teacher or a student holds up pictures, and students name the object or person, animal, or article of clothing, food, tool, or anything else shown in the pictures. Students can respond with a single word or with a phrase or sentence.

(2) action words (verbs) -- Each student tells what (s)he has done, what actions (s)he has performed that day. Or what they plan to do after school, or during the weekend.

(3) associate words -- The teacher names a part of the body, for example, and the students tell the name of an article of clothing or an accessory to wear on that part of the body. The teacher names an object and the students tell the material it is made of. The teacher names a color, and the students name fruits or vegetables or flowers that have that color, inside or outside.

(4) synonyms and antonyms -- The teacher says a word and students name its opposite, or other words having similar meaning.

(5) math -- The teacher or a student counts and stops, and the students count five numbers after the last number named. The teacher or a student gives a mathematical expression orally (2 + 2 = ), and the students provide the answer.

(6) proverbs, sayings, idiomatic expressions -- The teacher gives a clue, for example, "proverbs that name animals," and the students respond with proverbs in which an animal is named: "Más vale pájaro en mano que diez volando."

(7) famous historical figures -- The teacher recalls an important historical event, and students name the main historical figure involved in the event.

(8) shapes -- The teacher names a shape, and students name as many objects as they can remember that have or can have that shape. For example, the teacher says "Circle." Students can say: "Clock," "hamburger," "coins," "wheels," etc.

(9) root words -- Teacher names a root word or several forms of the same root word. Students say as many words as possible based on that root word. For example, the teacher says "terr-" or "tierr-" and students repond with "tierra," "terreno," "terráqueo," "enterrar," "desterrar," "aterrizar," etc.

(10) time -- Teacher displays a large clock showing a specific time measure, and students respond telling the exact time the clock shows.

(11) poems or rhyming words -- Teacher begins a short poem and stops, students finish telling the poem. Teacher gives one or more words that rhyme and students provide additional rhyming words.

(12) spelling patterns -- Teacher says a word and students respond with other words spelled similarly.

There is no end to the many ways warm-up activities can help teachers begin their lessons in a way that is fun, educational, and helpful to students adjust to the mind set of listening, speaking, reading and writing in a second language.

Many warm-up activities can also serve as "sponge activities." Sponge activities keep students focus on the second language as they transition from one activity to another. For example, all of the above activities could be used while students prepare for a dictation, or when they get ready to leave the class, or as they put their reading materials away. The idea is to keep students practicing the second language even when they are doing something else.




For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.


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