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Methodics of English Language Teaching

Project: Warm Ups and Five Minute Activities (Body Parts)

Student: Vesna urevi

18 November 2013


Warm ups, or warming up activities are activities used at the beginning of a lesson. Their purpose is to interest and motivate learners to work, but it also connects the motivation process to previous knowledge. Penny Ur states that: ''Many teachers see 'warm-up' activities as an essential preliminary to the teaching of any literature: they raise curiosity and motivation, and provide some orientation of thinking and mood'' (Ur 202). I have chosen this topic because I consider warm up and five minute activities rather important. Their impact to classroom atmosphere can be crucial for the Ls efficiency. Also, I find it that a good warm up activity can change the course of the whole class that comes afterwards. If a teacher skips a warm up activity, or if the activity is not properly done it can set gloomy atmosphere on the whole lesson. The difference between warm ups and five minute activities is in the stage of the class they occur. Both are short activities and both are supposed to improve class atmosphere and learning efficiency, but five minute activities can occur at any time, not only at the beginning. Five minute activities can shake up the atmosphere in the classroom in case the Ls start finding it boring, or lose concentration.

Main Part

I have chosen warm ups and five minute activities for young learners. This is a group of Ls that need movement, fun, and work better if activities are shorter. This is imagined to be their beginning encounter with body parts in English. I have planned the class as a practice class, so they do have some previous knowledge of body parts vocabulary, but they are still new to it, and are still acquiring the knowledge. Besides, as Ur states, children have a greater immediate need to be motivated by the teacher or the materials in order to learn effectively (Ur 288). There are several problems I might encounter. In the first activity, where Ls are doing the TPR, there could be a problem if there is a L with disability and he/she cannot move properly. Lynne Cameron describes TPR activities as a form of CLT (communicative language teaching). She describes TPR as an activity based entirely on listening to comprehensible input. (Cameron 106, 107) That happens sometimes, and it is necessary to involve that L into activity without him/her feeling less valuable, and the other Ls feeling slowed down. In the second activity, problem may come up if the classroom is too small and Ls cannot move properly. Again, if there is a L with disability, we need to consider him/her. In the third activity the problem might be the number of Ls because it is rather important to have equal groups. Of course, considering their development, there could also be a L that does not speak correctly and misses sounds, or mispronounces them and it could make the activity harder for the other Ls in the group. On the other hand, Ls are usually familiarized with their classmates speaking skills and know how to interpret ones speech even if he/she has a speaking disorder. Yet, some Ls might not be interested in any of the activities, but usually, they like at least one, or they are drawn into working by looking at their classmates and like the activity in the end. Their pre-knowledge might be a bit of a problem, but these activities

are mostly group work so they can reassure themselves by looking at others since this is just a practice class.

Since I was planning my class for young learners, I had to consider to what extent to use the first language. Here is what Scrivener says about using first language (L1) in classroom: A little teacher translation (in instructions or explanations) can bring things to light that would otherwise remain hidden. He also advises for teachers to be careful and use a little L1 when they have clear purpose, but then return to English; as the general aim of the class is to get students to use English teachers should resist the temptation of resting the whole class on L1. (Scrivener 309)

While choosing activities, I have tried to cover different types of Ls needs and likings: TPR, visual and audio activity, thinking that that way I would be able to capture interest of every L, and make them all feel interested in the topic and motivated to work through the class that would be taking place after the warm ups or after the five minute activities.


The main difference between my warm up and five minute activities, and the activities of my two colleagues is in the age of my Ls. My Ls have the smallest amount of words that they need to know, and the warm up activities are adapted to their age and knowledge. Wider knowledge of the topic allows T to design different warm ups, but also, YLs are sometimes easier to work with because they are more interested in game like activities that are very good for warm ups. Also, it is necessary to be clearer while explaining to YLs because they are not yet familiar with the whole process, and older Ls tend to be more experienced and sometimes know what they need to do without much explaining. Sometimes it is even necessary to use L1 while explaining to YLs while they cannot always understand the instructions.


Cameron, Lynne (2001) Teaching Languages to Young Learners. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Harmer, Jeremy (2003) The Practice of English Language Teaching. (revised) Longman Scrivener, Jim (2005) Learning Teaching. Macmillan Heinemann Tanner, Rosie and Catherine Green (2001) Tasks for Teacher Education: a reflective approach. Coursebook. Longman. only consulted, not quoted Ur, Penny (1996) A Course in Language Teaching: Practice and Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ur, Penny and Wright, Andrew (1996) Five Minute Activities: A Resource Book of Short Activities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press