Warm up by Auctioning, Miming and Finding the Mistake! – by Isabel Fechas

Being a Young Learner’s teacher is not an easy task. Even after years of doing this, I still need to be constantly researching for new strategies to teach English to my students and, at the same time, make them enjoy what they are doing. To do so, I’ve used some strategies that most of you already use in your classes: warmers, games and rewards.

As you may know, warmers are a good way to set the mood to learn English. They shouldn’t take more than a few minutes in the beginning of the lesson and don’t necessary need to be related to what you’re teaching that day, but they are excellent techniques to review subjects taught in previous lessons. Here are some of the warmers I’ve used with my students.

Auction a Sentence is an activity that can be used to review grammar and you can do this with almost any level. Mix the correct and incorrect sentences on pieces of paper and give them to your students. Explain that you are going to have an auction and that they’ll be given a certain amount of money to spend (using money adds a sense of reality to this, so it might be advantageous to do so). Tell them they must read the sentences and bid if they think the sentence is correct. They can only spend the amount of money they have. The ones who lose must give their money to the winners, adding a fun, competitive spirit.

If you have younger learners who aren’t familiar with auctioning, you can just do a Find the Mistakes activity. The process is more or less the same. They must find the mistake and correct the sentence. Instead of money, they can win points that you can later exchange for a reward. A nice way to make this activity more appealing to them is to use a mini-whiteboard for them to write the correction on. Students love to use different materials, and these work really well.

Miming the Word is a good way of reviewing and recycling vocabulary taught, and it doesn’t take long to prepare. On separate pieces of paper, write words that students have been learning and give one or two to each student in class. Instruct your students not to show the paper(s) to their classmates. Explain that they have to read the word and mime it out to the rest of the class. The student that guesses the word then gets a point. If your students are shy and don’t like to be up front, try doing it yourself first to get them started. Seeing the teacher doing the same activity they’re supposed to do is encouraging for them and might give them the boost they need.

These are just some of the possibilities of warmers you can use with your students. They will help to lighten the mood at the beginning of each lesson and will definitely result in more engaged students when it comes to learning and speaking English in your class. Hope these warmers help!


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