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Capture Your Students' Attention Online With These 3 warm-up Ideas!

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

So you're starting your online ESL lesson, and you need a fun game to not only get your students' attention but also to review previously taught materials. Well, let's take a look at three quick and easy warm-up ideas, to help you start your online ESL lesson with a bang!

What is that?

This fun game is used to practice previously taught materials while also teaching students a new sentence. For this activity, all you're going to need is a digital whiteboard or a small portable whiteboard that you can draw on.

  • Explain to students that you're going to draw a picture and that they have to guess what it is you're drawing. 

  • Start to draw a picture of a previously learned word such as a dog. Try to draw the picture in parts so that it's harder for students to guess.

  • Students may start shouting out different words as they guess what the drawing is. Teach students to use the sentence, "Is it a...."

  • Once a student has guessed the drawing correctly, have them use the word in a sentence. You can then even add in some extra language points by having them tell you. "I guessed correctly," or "I was right!"

The Shy Puppet

This activity is a great way to have students practice introducing themselves and asking and answering personal questions. For this activity, all you're going to need is a puppet. You can buy different puppets online, or you can also be creative and make your own. Think about the kind of puppet that would work best for your students.

  • Start by introducing your puppet to the student. Depending on your student, you might want to make your puppet shy or even naughty. Try to think about the right puppet character for the student or students that you are teaching. 

  • Next, use the puppet to practice some introduction questions such as, "What's your name?" "How old are you?" or "What's your favorite color?"

  • Keep practicing different review or introduction questions and then say goodbye before moving on to the next activity.

If you aren't one for making silly puppet voices, that's okay! Your puppet might shy and simply whisper into your ear instead of talking out loud.

Puppets are a great tool because they capture students' attention and are lots of fun. They also work exceptionally well when working with timid students. To help make the illusion real, keep the puppet's eye contact when speaking to it and make sure that it makes eye contact when speaking with the students. Also, keep the character, don't just throw the puppet on the table when you're finished with it.

Silly Puppet

Silly Puppet is a fantastic activity to help students develop their phonological awareness and work on their initial sound recognition skills. For this activity, all you're going to need is a puppet and some flashcards of the vocabulary you want to review.

  • Explain that silly puppet has some fun pictures that they would like to share. 

  • Have the silly puppet introduce either a picture on you're digital whiteboard or a flashcard to the camera. 

  • Have the silly puppet introduce the word incorrectly, mispronouncing the initial sound of the word (note that it's important that you use review words and not words that students aren't familiar with). 

  • Have students correct the silly rabbit with the correct pronunciation of the word and then ask them to use that word in a sentence

Keep going until you have reviewed all the words you want to practice or until your students are ready to move onto the start of class.

So there you have it three fun ways to start your online lesson with young learners. If you're looking for more fun. ESL teaching ideas, make sure you check out. the Mooncake English YouTube channel.

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