icebreaker lesson

31st July 2015 at 01:00
All aboard for the year's first language lesson

If everyone contributes openly in the first lesson of the year, nervous habits can be washed away before they set firm. Here are two activities to ensure that happens - they are mostly geared towards MFL but can be used across the board.

Boat races

This activity is best for learning short sequences such as conjugating verbs, greetings and names of countries.

Start by introducing the content with plenty of choral repetition, then split the class into groups of five or six pupils to make a "boat", with pupils standing shoulder to shoulder.

Starting simultaneously, the first pupil in each boat must repeat the sequence out loud. Once that pupil has finished, they sit down; only then does the next shipmate begin the sequence. The first boat to have a full team seated is the winner.

This is usually full of controversy and cheating, with skipped syllables and inventive inaccuracies. It gets very loud - this is a good sign and makes for an exciting game. An alternative would be to time the boats individually and ask the class to feed back on pronunciation. It is prime territory for highlighting the fact that everyone makes mistakes, plus you can often make light of this with more boisterous class members.

Letters

For the second activity, ask pupils to draw a table with these headers: name, country, animal, food, furniture (they can be adapted as necessary to suit your subject).

Pupils have to fill out one answer under each column beginning with a letter you randomly call out. The first pupil to finish shouts stop (in the target language). Pupils earn five points for each correct answer.

After a few rounds have pupils present their findings orally or write them on the whiteboard.

Alastair Harris is a German teacher in London

To download resources for this icebreaker lesson, visit bit.lyIceBreaker31July

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now