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Warm up the brain so your students are ready to learn

First thing in the morning or after each break it is good to get those brains ready to learn with a warm-up activity. 

Most of the time this can be done with a quick verbal quiz to review what has been covered so far or you might want to check what your learners already know about your next topic.


Find a picture relevant to you teaching topic. Have one picture (the same picture!) per group. Cut each picture up as a simple jigsaw (but each jigsaw should be cut up slightly differently) and put in envelope so as to not accidentally mix up the different jigsaws.

Once all pictures are cut up and in separate envelopes, take one random piece from the first envelope and swap with a piece from the second etc. So each each envelope now has a piece that will not fit. Hand out an envelope to each group and ask them to complete the jigsaw. Wait and see what happens when they can't complete it. Are they getting frustrated?  Giving up?  Asking the other group if something is wrong with their puzzle?

Reflect back on this activity, based on what you wanted to achieve (teamwork, communication skills, what does the jigsaw represent etc.)


scrabble_letters.jpgUsing a scrabble game or a box of  Anagram game letters, give each group a good handful of letters and ask each group to relate each letter to something they have learned.

This can be a group activity where by you check progress and understanding with each individual group. You will be able to pick up any areas of learning that are missing or have not quiet consolidated.

Get your set of scrabble letters without the scrabble board now!



Give each person a coloured piece of paper, half the size of A4 is sufficient. Each person is to write a question on it. You can decide what it is, for example:

  • At the start of the course it could be a question they would like to have answered during the course, it could be a statement about something they are uncertain about with regard to the course.  Allow them to throw the scrunched up paper ball to you. It shows you are game.  It gets rid of some first minutes nerves and certainly creates a bit of laughter at the very start of your session.  Once your class is doing an activity, discretely read the questions/comments and deal with them by weaving them through your presentation ensuring all have been addressed in the first session.
  • During the course it could be a question about  what they have learned so far.  Ask them to fold it in a plane and have a flying competition in the classroom, or if not creatively minded they can scrunch it up in a ball and throw it somebody else. Ensure that everybody gets a different colour ball/plane. They now read the question and write the answer down. Scrunch it up and throw it to yet another person. This third person needs to check the answer. If answered correctly they can throw it in the bin. Anything incorrectly answered goes to you to incorporate in the training that follows.


kooshball_1.jpgFor this activity, it is essential that you have range of Kooshballs or any other type of balls or novelty soft toys that can safely be thrown around the room between your learners. Your first question will be to every one in the group and throw it to the person who knows the answer. If answered correctly the Kooshball will be thrown to another person in the group etc etc. It will only come back to you once everybody has had a turn, or you run out of questions.

By having students throw the ball to each other, it means you can not be accused of picking on a person with a particular difficult question. Get your Kooshball today and get the ball rolling.

Get your own set of Kooshballs NOW!



Split your group into small groups of 3 or 4.

Allocate each group a flip chart or whiteboard around the room. The aim of the activity is to write down as many words, statements or whatever is appropriate for your topic. The hard part is that the groups are not allowed to double up, so one or two people in each group will need to keep an eye on what the other groups are writing down. This can be really hard so leave this warm up until you have covered a lot of content and you really want your learners to think back as what has been covered so far.

Read CHEAT 2 for reviewing ideas.


This is the same as above but make sure all groups have a different colour pen to write with.

Give them one minute as a group to come up with as many words as possible. After one minute they all move to the next groups flip chart with their pen and give them another minute to add any additional words etc. Keep moving till the groups are dried up. It is essential that after CHEAT or CHEAT TWO you review what has been written down.

  • You could ask a learner to explain what one of the words means.
  • Ask each group to create a 5 minute teaching session about the words on their flip chart.
  • Ask the group to create a quiz, with the words being the answers. Share quizzes around the room during the rest of the day or sessions.
  • Ask the group to create a puzzles/word-find either manually or using a www.puzzlemaker.com  or www.eclipsecrossword.com


This is always fun and has already been given so many variations. Prepare Sticky labels in advance, one for each learner and write a word/item relevant to what you have been teaching.

Stick a label on their back and ask them to walk around the room, only asking questions that can be answered with yes or no.   (closed questions, ie - Am I a square item?)

Anybody that guesses correctly - who or what they are, will then need to sit down. Now change the closed questions to open questions (questions starting with Who, what,where,why,when-What colour am I?) but each particular question can only be answered with ONE word.

Once this is getting hard they are now allowed to ask probing questions (You said I am green and square, is green the only colour I have?). This activity is fantastic if you have a formula they need to remember or certain words/statements etc.

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