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Why not play a game of soccer,
volleyball etc in your classroom.
Use the chairs and tables as
obsticale course.
You need a range of foam balls
in your toolkit.
Get enough for you to share around
Refer to Energy Ball activity

How to energise your class, to ensure your students continue learning

It is important that your participants are interacting with YOU and EACH OTHER at all times.  At times this can be difficult due to any of the following reasons:

  • You have been talking for too long
  • The contents is boring (happens sometimes)
  • The contents is not relevant to them (but they need to know it for an exam)
  • It is too hot in the room (sun is streaming in and no way to shield it)
  • It is Monday morning (it was a good weekend)
  • It is Friday afternoon (looking forward to the weekend).
  • Hung over from the night before (why do bars offer happy hours?)
  • Not enough delivery changes made
  • Students are tired
  • After lunch
  • Whatever other reason you can think of ( tell me and I will add to it)

An effective strategy is to use an energiser. Very often you can make them up on the spot and can make it relevant to what you are teaching.  Adults generally dislike doing activities just for the fun of it.  Always try to relate it to your subject if you can. If the actual activity can not be related to the subject, see if you can make it relevant at the end of the activity "what did we learn from this......."

Also remember to keep your instructions short and very direct, so even the most reluctant student will participate before they realise what you have just asked them to do.

Example of short direct instructions:

  • Stand up (and use hand gestures with both palms of your hand facing up and lift them a little)
  • Find a partner
  • Stand back to back
  • On the count of three, jump around with either your fists clinched or your hands wide open
  • If you and your partner have the same, you are out
  • Last pair standing gets a prize

Now think about the above instructions and how your participants would have reacted if you would have said the following:

"OK guys you are all looking a little tired, so to get you re-energised we are going to play a game. I would like you to stand up and find a partner. Then you are going to stand back to back and when I have counted to three, you need to jump around etc etc etc. "

Look back at the highlighted words, THREE phrases that will make many adult learners feel uncomfortable.

Knowledge Base Central has a wide range of energisers you can use. Try them out first and amend them to suit your topic and group. Keep them short and sharp and FUN and remember people need to get off their seats for it!

Be careful not to use an energizer because you have a spot left in the middle of your notes, or you are running ahead of schedule.

ENERGY BALL

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The fact is that a transfer of electricity will give tired students their spark back.

Asking them to do a high Five gesture with their hands, a shoulder tap or simply shaking hands with their neighbour can do miracles. Learners are normally reluctant to do this as they don't seem to see the purpose.

If your class is together for a length of time and you want them to understand why you are asking them to stand up and do a high five, use this ball to confirm that electricity is being passed on through bodily contact. This little ball looks and feels like a pingpong ball.  It has 2 metal strips attached (length of a finger tip).

One student touches one strip and another student the other and the ball will light up and it will make a sound.  You can also do this in a group, standing in a circle holding hands. Allow two students to connect to the metal strips and the ball will activate.

Ask somebody in the group to stop holding hands and the ball will stop. I have played this with a group of 20 and it still worked. Student get very creative as they will try just touching each others nose, cheek,  arm etc and it still works. They can also get creative by making up their own tune. An absolute must have in your classroom. See the class coming alive. Next time you ask them to do High Five they understand and feel the difference.

JIGSAW

This activity has great possibilities of being adapted to what you are teaching. Use either a blank jigsaw puzzels (availabe in arts and crafts shops), or some small jigsaw puzzles that might be relevant to what you are teaching.

Mix the puzzles up and give each learner 2 or 3 pieces. (if you have 2 puzzles, have 2 seperate corners in your classroom set  up to compelte the puzzle).explain to learners they are going to complete a jigsaw.

They have been given some pieces and that is their starting point. Give them a timeframe of say 20 seconds to get started. Ask them to sit down again an continue with the lesson. On the blank puzzles you could write message/sentence etc relevant to what they are learning. Throughout the session, give them more pieces of the puzzles, 20 seconds etc.

BUZZ

Ask the group to stand up and form a circle. One person after the other will start saying a number starting with 1-2-3- however at every number with a 4 in it or a multiple of 4 that person needs to say BUZZ instead of the number, the next person to continue as normal.

The counting will be 1-2-3-buzz-5-6-7-buzz-9-10-11-buzz-13-buzz-15-buzz--17-18-19-buzz etc. Use any number that might be relevant, replace buzz with any word that is relevant or reflect back to make it relevant. Great when teaching communication skills, or how hard it is to do 2 things at the same time (thinking while listening for your turn).

BODY LETTERS

Split your group up in small groups (3-4 per group) and ask each group to think of an acronym about what they have learnt so far.  Acronym can only be as long as the number of people in the group. (4 in a group, acronym will have 4 letters).

The next task is for the group to spell out the acronym by using their bodies to form the letters. They can do this by standing up, lying down etc. Once letters have been spelled out correctly class to discuss what they stand for.

Write on paper and put around the room so you can refer to them in the rest of your session. Great for you to see what the students have remembered and a great tool for students to remember some content.

NUMBER SIX

With this one you need to be very short in your instructions as you can not make it relevant unless you are teaching about the number 6.  However,  it will keep even the most reluctant participant amused but not until the very end.

  • Stand up
  • Raise your right foot
  • Draw a circle with you foot anti clockwise (pause and let them practise and find their balance)
  • Lift your right arm in the air with your index finger pointing out
  • Draw with your finger, the number six, starting from the inside up (this is opposite to how most people write the number 6)
  • Keep circling that foot anti clockwise

Let the giggling begin as it is almost impossible to coordinate this. The foot movement will change to a clockwise direction.

 DRAW ME NOW

This can be used as an icebreaker, warm up and revision exercise.

Put your learners into pairs and make sure they are sitting back to back and can not make eye contact with each other. Give one student from each pair a drawing you have prepared earlier. This can just be some clip-art relevant to what you are teaching.

The student holding the drawing needs to give instructions to the other student who needs to draw it without being able to see the actual picture. You can put a variety of conditions to it, like no asking questions, must draw with your non writing hand etc. If you are using this as a revision activity, let the pair explain to the rest of the class what the drawing is about.

Guaranteed to provide a good laugh as most people are not artists.

 SPOT THE DIFFERENCE

An oldie but a goodie, that works with even the most reluctant. Keep you instructions short as snappy:

  • Stand up and face a partner
  • Look at your partner carefully (give them a few seconds)
  • Now turn around and change 5 things about your appearance (roll up sleeve, take of jacket, change jewelery/hair/belt etc
  • Turn around and spot the differences
     
 UP WE GO

This is great to demonstrate teamwork when it is lacking.
Pair up learners and they need to sit down facing each other, feet on the ground and holding hands. They now need to go as a team from sitting to standing while holding hands.


When they have achieved this without falling over, they join another pair who have achieved this task and try again with the four of them as a circle. Keep adding people till you have a circle of all learners together (or if the group is too big, have a few smaller circles).

 HOT POTATO

Using a soft foamy type ball, ask you learners to form a circle. The aim is to keep the ball in the air using only the palm of their hand and they can only touch the ball once as if it was a "hot potato" and they want to get rid of it as fast as they can by bouncing it to somebody else.


If you have sufficient time, you can split in group in two circles and have them count out loud the number of hits the ball gets before it falls on the ground. If this happens they need to start again.