Snow is upon us (at least it is here in The Netherlands) and the temperature is dropping! Even more reason to get learners warmed up at the start of a lesson.
Warming up is important in order to help learners make the transition from a regular lesson to a CLIL lesson – warming up in this case could focus on the use of English in the lesson.
Activating tasks are also essential to help motivate learners and engage their interest for a particular topic.
Warming up is also important for the transition between subjects in a bilingual stream – in this case an energizer might focus on subject content and activating prior knowledge, alongside activating language use.
Here’s a suggestion for five (winter) warming up activities for a CLIL lesson.
This can get very noisy! Choose a set of questions (Q) and answers (A). Write each Q and A on separate pieces of paper. Roll each one up and place it in separate balloons. Blow the balloons up. Learners walk around the room until the teacher says, “jump”. Each person then stands on a balloon to burst it and releases the paper inside. Each then looks for the person with the A to the Q they have, or the Q to the A. Alternatively, use collocations with different words that need to be put together. For example, one person has “fish” and has to find the other person with “chips”. Also possible to do this activity without the balloons!
CLIL beach ball
Write questions all over a beach ball. For example, what would you do with a million dollars? which famous person would play you in the movie of your life? which vegetable do you hate the most? Then throw the ball around the room to learners — wherever their right thumb lands, they answer that question. Questions could also be related to subject content – but then they need to be open-ended questions in case of people getting the same question.
A fat question is an open-ended question that has no single answer and requires more than a single sentence in a possible answer. For example: Is there life on other planets, what do you think? Use a fat question at the start of a lesson to get brains into gear and to generate discussion, as well as motivating interest in the topic for that particular lesson.
Place pupils in pairs or small groups. They take it in turns to think of a verb. Others have to ask questions to discover the verb chosen using the word ‘’coffeepot” in place of the verb: for example, “Do you coffeepot at night? When do you coffeepot? Where do you coffeepot?” etc. until they find the answer. Verbs could also be related to a specific topic to connect with subject content.
Everyone writes something down which he or she knows about him/herself but that no-one else in the class knows. Gather cards together, then redistribute them. Everyone reads out their card, and guesses who it comes from. As an alternative, learners need to write a secret about themselves using different tense, for example, one sentence in the present tense, one sentence in the present perfect tense.