First English class of the new year

Today was the first day of English class for the new school year. Here are some ice breakers I did with my sixth and fourth graders!

Human Scavenger Hunt:

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For the sixth graders, I started off with a simple survey activity. I gave each student a list of 20 questions about what everyone did during their Winter Break  to review the past tense and ‘Did you…?’ question form. They were to survey their classmates in English, ask the questions on the sheet (“Did you watch a movie?”) and if the friend answers yes, they get his/her signature next to the question. After making sure they understood what they were supposed to ask and that it should be in ENGLISH ONLY, I gave the go-signal and they went crazy running around asking each other about their winter vacation activities.

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Surprisingly, even the lower-level students were trying their best to ask whole questions in English. If they didn’t know how to read a certain word, they’d come to me and after I read only that one word for them, they triumphantly ran off shouting DID YOU GO SWIMMING at everyone hahaha. The enthusiasm for this activity was the most surprising of all because I thought they’d be slightly bored by yet another survey. TIP: Just changing the activity name from ‘survey’ to ‘human scavenger hunt’ makes a world of difference.

Next up, Brainstorming Race! The goal of this activity was to test out how much vocabulary (including spelling) they remembered from the fifth grade curriculum. I put them in groups of four, each group balanced with lower and upper level students. I gave each team a sheet of laminated construction paper and a board marker. When I call out a category such as Food or Colors, each team member quietly takes turns writing down a word on their sheet until the timer rings. The team with the longest list wins!

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We first practiced with easy categories like Animals. Once the students got the hang of the game, I went on to slightly harder ones like Sports. The last category I threw out there was just for fun: Superheroes! (I told them I wouldn’t take off points for misspelling in this category.) The results were hilariously horrendous.

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I especially like “I-Unman”, “Herke” (Hulk), “Betmen” and “Tore” (Thor).

For fourth grade, I decided to review the major grammar structures they learned in third grade: I like, I have, I can. We started off with a simple ‘Guess Who?‘ game. I gave each student a little slip of paper like this:

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(animal, color, food)

I purposefully kept it SUPER simple because they are still at a very low beginner level (in Korea, English isn’t introduced into the nationwide curriculum until 3rd grade). They each filled out their sheet without showing anyone, then handed it in to me. I let them write in Korean if they couldn’t think of the English spelling because again, they are at such a low level. Once I got everyone’s sheet, I mixed them up, pulled out a random one, and read it out loud in English. Fortunately, their listening skills were much better so I didn’t have to translate a single word. Then, the students would try and guess who I’m talking about. They really got into it after the first few wrong guesses.

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Next, we reviewed the question forms of like, have and can with People Bingo. I made a 3×3 bingo board with sentences such as ‘I like snow’ or ‘I have a sister’ in each box. Similar to Human Scavenger Hunt, the students had to go around asking their friends the question form of those sentences, and if he/she answers yes, they get that box signed. I was impressed by how well they did considering I hadn’t had English class with them in months. Like the sixth graders, they asked me to read a certain word out loud, but right after I read it they were off screaming DO YOU HAVE A BROTHER at their friends haha.

Time went by very quickly for both classes today. Overall, a good start to the new year!

*Icebreaker ideas from: http://adulted.about.com/od/icebreakers/tp/toptenkinetic.htm 🙂

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