Warm-Ups and Wrap-Ups

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					                          Warm-Ups and Wrap-Ups
                                        Set the Tone

1)     Word Webs/Vocabulary
1. Write a vocabulary word in the middle of the board.
2. Ask students to suggest any words they associate with it.
3. Then draw a line out from the center word and write the words they suggest until you
have a spoke pattern with a number of words surrounding the original word.
Variation: Ask the students to come up and add words to the web, once you’ve modeled
the activity.
Ways to adapt to higher level:
       Provide less time.
       Add more words to the web.
       Promote higher-level thinking skills by creating more complex webs.
       Limit words
       …to adjectives defining a noun
       …to adverbs defining a verb
       …nouns that can all be defined by the same adjective
       …to words with the same root
2)     Tic-Tac-Toe
1. Draw a Tic-Tac-Toe board on the white board and write a vocabulary word in each
2. Divide the class into two teams. Designate one team as “X” and one team as “O”.
3. Representatives from each team take turns trying to create a sentence with one of the
vocabulary words.
4. If they can use the word correctly in a sentence, their team gets to mark the spot with
“X” or “O”. The teacher must be the judge as to whether the sentence is correct or not.
5. If they are not able to use the word correctly in a sentence their turn is over and
nothing is marked on the board. A representative from the other team may now try to use
any of the words in a sentence.
6. Continue until one team makes a successful Tic-Tac-Toe or the board is completely
       In order to win, students must correctly define the word they’ve selected.
       To practice the 100 questions on the citizenship test, write a topic in each square,
       e.g. dates, people, places, events, holidays, etc. Each team must pick a topic, the
       teacher asks a question from that category, and the team must answer the question
       correctly in order to place an “X” or an “O” in that box.
Ways to adapt to lower level:
       Ask students to write one word in a square related to a given topic. For example,
       if the unit is clothing, each team must write the correctly-spelled word for an item
       of clothing in the square in order to “win” the square.
3)   Circle Game
1. Working in groups, have learners draw a circle on a piece of paper with 3 horizontal
lines in the middle and a line radiating out from the edge of the circle for each member of
the group (like rays of the sun).
2. Inside the circle, ask learners to write 3 things they all have in common.
3. On the rays around the outside, ask them to write something that is unique to each of
them within the group.
Ways to adapt to higher level:
       Instead of themselves, learners can compare animals, foods, cultures, systems of
       education, cities, etc.
       Ask a representative from each group to explain the group’s findings.
Ways to adapt to lower level:
       Use a multi-sensory approach and ask learners to sort pictures, objects, numbers
       or letters instead of writing.
4)     Warm-ups specifically for GED/Advanced Level
       Scaffolding/Find out what learners know. Ex.: Show a photo from the week’s
       news. Ask: What do you know about volcanoes? What have you heard about in
       the news this week? Elicit related vocabulary.
       Defining math terms: In a math class, you might ask students to define a common
       term that they think they already know. "What is subtraction?" Then you can talk
       about that question together. You might also try a less familiar concept, such as
       division or geometry, and then find out what problems students were running into
       in defining it. Finally, you can ask students to work together to write a definition.
       Writing Warm-ups: Give students a theme when they arrive and ask them to write
       as much as they can. Another idea would be to write about opinions on a subject.
       "Do you believe that global warming is a problem? Why or why not?" Then,
       have students discuss their answers. Next, have them read an article about the
       topic. Finally, revisit the discussion and see if anyone's opinions have changed.
       Listening for minimal pairs: Even More True Stories has a story called
       “Misunderstandings” about situations where people get in trouble because they
       hear a word and mistake it for a word that sounds similar (bear vs. pear). In this
       activity, students listen to pairs of words that sound similar and circle the one they
       T or F: Students listen to a series of statements and decide as a group if they think
       they’re true or false. They will later find the answers in the day’s reading activity.
       Writing/student dictation: Students write sentences with specific vocabulary
       and/or grammar forms and then dictate to other students.

5+ minutes left in class?
1. Start by suggesting an evocative word: “spring”.
2. A student says what the word suggests to him or her – it might be “flowers”.
3. The next student suggests an association with the word “flowers”, and so on around
the class.
4. After you’ve completed a chain of about 15-20 associations, take the final word
suggested, write it on the board, and, together with the class, try to reconstruct the entire
chain back to the original idea.
1. Ask the students to draw two or three columns on paper and give them a category
heading for each one, for example, food and drink, or animal, vegetable and mineral.
2. Then dictate a series of words which can fit into one of the categories.
    • Low level: Students make a check or cross in appropriate column for each word
       you dictate.
    • More advanced: Students write the word in its appropriate column.

Note: You will need to note the check marks yourself as you dictate the words in order to
check the results.
Only 2 minutes left?
Review agenda at the end of the lesson to reinforce what was covered.
Ask everyone to turn to a partner and tell them 2-3 things they learned that day.
Ask the whole class “tell me the most important thing you learned today” or “tell me
what you want to remember”.
With a more advanced class, ask “what’s the most interesting or funniest thing you
learned today?”.
Assign homework that is a real-life application of what was covered in class or talk
about real-life applications.
One-Minute Feedback (for intermediate or advanced level):
1.When students come into class, hand each a card. Tell them that at the end of class you
will ask them to write on the card what they learned today, what questions they still have,
and then give the card to you.
2. Be sure they put their cards away until the end of class.
3. Allow 1 minute at the end of class for each student to write his or her note to you.
    • Because the time is so short, students need to be concise, and you need only a few
        minutes after class to read their notes and incorporate what they said into your
Note: Once students are used to this, and they know they are expected to write this note,
they will become more aware during the class of what they are or are not learning. This
leads to increased student responsibility for their learning and more questions during

Gail Irish, ESL Trainer
Minnesota Literacy Council

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