Инфоурок / Иностранные языки / Рабочие программы / Исследовательская работа " Warming Up" как средство активизации учебного процесса

Исследовательская работа " Warming Up" как средство активизации учебного процесса

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The Role of Warming Up Activities During the ESL Lessons


  1. Introduction……………………………………………………………….. 2

  1. The Main Body ……………………………………………………………4

  • The importance of warming up students

  • Purposes of using warm ups

  • Types of warmers

  • Literature Review

  • Research

  1. Conclusion……………………………………………………………… 14

Resources…………………………………………………………………… 15

Appendix(Warm Up Examples)…………….……………………………….16

  1. Introduction

In this article we want to share the experience we have had implementing different warming up activities at the lessons of ESL.

A good English as a Second Language lesson has some distinct parts: a warm-up activity, new knowledge acquisition and practicing new knowledge, revising and recycling.

Each part of the lesson plays a vital role in ESL development. A warmer is a short task or drill, which teachers typically use at the start of a lesson

Having a good warm-up activity is important to an English language lesson, as it sets the student up for success on many different levels.

Preparing the Student's Ear

Learning a new language involves training mind, mouth and ear. Most students spend the majority of their day listening and speaking in their own language. Whether it's asking and answering simple questions, listening to music or watching a cartoon, warm-up activities tune the student's ear to English nuances. Getting the student used to the English language is the first step in language acquisition.

Student Focus

When students step into the ESL classroom from outside or after some other lessons and activities, warming-ups help them to turn off the outside world and focus on the task at hand. By the end of our warm-up activity, every student is ready to learn and focus on the language lesson.

Engage Every Student

Structured warm-up activities, such as a question-and-answer session or a simple student-led activity get everyone involved in the lesson. By engaging students to take part in a low-risk warm-up activity, a ESL teacher reaches every student and helps the students achieve their language goals.


A warm-up activity is the perfect time to review language skills presented in the previous English lesson. Some students have mastered these skills since the last session and are willing to show them off, and others are happy to have the chance to review material they are not completely comfortable with yet. Reviewing the material in a warm-up activity that is different from the one we used practice the English language skill at the last lesson also gives our students the opportunity to hear and use the material in a new way before moving on to the next lesson.


By scaffolding new knowledge on previously acquired English, students are eager to add to their growing language base and it allows teachers and students to move smoothly through the curriculum.

  1. The Main Body

The importance of warming up students

From our point of view, the warm up of a lesson often receives less attention than it should. But a well-planned, effective warm up offers more towards the lesson than just a bit of fun.

Because it's the first activity of the lesson, the warm up sets the tone for the next forty minutes.

An activity that students find too difficult, or even confusing, results in a class of disinterested students. Similarly, a writing-based activity won't get the students communicating.

A fun warm up, on the other hand, raises energy levels. Fun activities also produce relaxed, less inhibited students. With the right warm up, we can create a positive atmosphere to practice and experiment with the language.

The warm up gets students into "English mode." For the majority of students English lessons are the only chance to use the language. So we have to make them enjoy free communication and learning.

As a warm up activity opens the class session, it sets the atmosphere and expectations of the lesson. It shouldn’t be long or difficult. An effective warm up serves as a springboard into the topic or target language of the lesson.

Purposes of using warm ups

Warm-ups help our learners put aside their daily distractions and focus on English. If they haven't used English all day, they may take a little while to shift into it. Warm-ups also encourage whole-group participation which can build a sense of community within the group.

During the warm up stage students have the chance to be playful with the language and create their own communication.

It is widely recognized that we learn best when we are comfortable and relaxed. So a warm up activity that promotes relaxation and fun, that does not stress students or demand too much of them, is a good place to start.

We apply warm up activities to:
- motivate / capture interest
- warm up
- enjoy (for fun)
- introduce a lesson
- frame the mind
- loosen up the tongue

- relax / put at ease

- prepare students for the information and activities at the lesson

- get to know each other, etc.

Types of warmers

Different purposes of using warmers require different types of these activities. We can suggest:

  • Reviewing a previous lesson

  • Discussing the topic of the lesson

  • Stating the aim of the lesson

  • Linking previous lesson to the new one

  • Getting to know each other

  • Raising a discussion of common interest

  • Starting with music / a song/cartoon

  • Repeating a riddle

  • Using proverbs or English idioms , etc

All kinds of warming up activities mentioned above can be classified into:

-Competitive warmers that involve some element of competition - usually, though not always between two teams.

-Finding other students warm ups involve the learners in talking to other students to discover information they have in common or need.

Find someone who... (Objective - asking polar questions - "Do you like ...)

Find your partner ( Objective - speaking practice).

-Spelling warmers that help to practice and improve spelling skills

Spiderman Spelling ( Improve your spelling)

Alphabet Spelling Activity (Turn scrambled letters into words)

Word Guessing (enjoy testing your English ability and problem solving skills)

Easy Spelling Puzzles ( use combinations of letters to make a variety of words with large, colorful pictures as hints)

-Stories and sentence creation warm ups that involve students in creating or editing sentences or in improvising conversation. It can be a writing activity, speaking activity or both.

Telephone" or "Message" (Objective - practice listening, speaking, having fun)

Fit in the sentence (Objective – improvisation)

Scrambled sentences (Objective - practice word order)

Vanishing sentence (Objective - practice word order)

What’s it all about? (Objective- recreate the original text)

Where are you? (Objective –improvisation, practice listening, speaking, having fun)

-Vocabulary warmers are designed to reinforce and review students' vocabulary, including aspects such as spelling, pronunciation and synonyms.

Anagrams, hangman and word soups are all good for recycling vocabulary and more motivating if played in teams.

Literature Review

To support applying warm up activities into our teaching practice we did Literature Review on the following aspects:

Motivation and Warm up Activities

First of all, it is necessary to consider the relation between motivation and warm up activities for it is the desired goal to enrich the learning of the subject matter, in our case, language learning.

Warming up activities can foster motivation and this is, in turn, an essential component when planning warming up activities. According to Dornyei (2001), teachers need to try and actively generate positive students' attitudes toward learning. He also claims that the key issue in generating interest is to widen the student's appetite; that is, to arouse the students' curiosity and attention and to create an attractive image for the class so that they will get more involved with it and a better learning process will take place.

Warming up and Attention

The importance of having warming up activities was mentioned at the beginning of this paper, but a question remains: What is a warming up activity?

Allwright (1984) considers that warm up activities are designed to attract students' attention, to help them put aside distracting thoughts, and to get them ready to focus individually and as groups on whatever activities that follow. They will cause people to stop whatever they are doing or thinking and refocus their attention.

We could say a warming up activity is a motivating starting point that will lead students to become animated to work efficiently in the language class. For the purpose of our study, it was the activity used to encourage students' involvement and permeate the development of the whole lesson, so we avoided looking at them as isolated activities. These kinds of activities might also be called zealous, enthusiastic or suggestive activities.

The Place of Warm up in the English Lesson

When preparing lesson plans for our EFL lessons, we must include at least the following parts so that warming up activities can play a clear and meaningful role in our teaching. Kay (1995) describes the stages of a lesson plan in the following way:

Warm up: "It is an effective way to help the students begin to think in English and to review previously introduced material. Different types of warm ups help provide variety and interest in the lesson". A warm up to prepare students for a period of concentration may involve physical movement with activities that keep them active by standing up, walking, jumping, matching pictures with sentences or vocabulary, drawing or writing personal experiences or stories, and singing or listening to familiar songs and chants. These are, among others, enjoyable and motivating warms ups.

Presentation: The first part of the presentation often involves pre-teaching to encourage the flow of information. In this initial stage, we conduct activities to present the new language by providing a context for each situation.

Practice: It involves a wide variety of tasks that ensure the practice of the target language. These activities can range from controlled to less-controlled and free expressions. The activities must provide opportunities to work on a particular skill or to work integrated skill exercises.

Application: The application provides students with hands-on opportunities to use what they have learned. This part of the lesson can also be considered part of the practice -particularly less controlled and free practice.

Assessment: Some assessment activities like games, tasks or projects let students carry out the activity while the teacher is circulating in the classroom monitoring their use of the language, to examine students' progress and achievement. Also, a written assessment and a self evaluation section could be included.

Useful Strategies when Implementing Warming up Activities

For the purpose of our project, we considered some specific aspects related to warm up activities which we thought could make students' learning more stimulating. They were as follows:

- Breaking the monotony of learning: About this one, Dornyei (2001) highlights the importance of the "motivational flow" when talking about the general rhythm and sequence of events in class and suggests starting it with a warmer, which can be a short stimulating game to set the tone.

- Making the tasks more interesting: The author claims that humans are able to produce concentrated effort if they want to. Generating this interest involves a set of characteristics. Most of them can be adaptable; thus, they become challenging for students since they have interesting content, novelty, and intriguing, exotic, fantasy and personal elements; they stimulate competition and humor.

- Increasing the involvement of the students: He considers that it is important to make students active participants and suggests selecting tasks which require mental or bodily involvement of each participant and creating specific rules and personalized assignments for everybody.

Principles for warming up activities

1. Go at the beginning of classes

2. Focus student’s attention

3 .Help students begin to work

4. Prepare students for a period of concentration

5. Be interesting and enjoyable

6. Be useful to continue the lesson

7. Be related to the topic

8. Be short

The principles help us realize that warm up activities are not only processes to begin the class, but tools that help us catch students' attention.

If you start with an exciting and interesting activity you can be sure the other steps can be developed easily. This warm up must also be short because it is like a preparation for the other class stages. That is why it has to be related with the topic and centered in communicative aspects which could involve activities that emphasize the practice of different skills.

Students’ learning styles and warm ups

A warm up must be prepared taking into account the students' learning styles. According to Cárdenas (2001), "students learn best when they can address knowledge in ways that they trust. They will learn best through doing, rather than reflecting" (p. 18). Additionally, Winters (as cited in Cárdenas, 2001) suggested that incorporating the "play" element adds meaning to the issue of applying learning styles.


Our research involved reflection based on the teacher’s experience and observation, students’ experience and reflections and on the literature.

We designed the lesson plans including warming up activities, after the lessons we tried to analyze what we have observed in the relation to the effects of the warm up and shaped our plan for the next one.

We also took into account the ideas suggested by the students in the diagnostic questionnaire that we applied at the beginning of our project.

The results can be seen in Table 1.

Table 1. Activities students liked the most in the class










Matching pairs















Flash cards


















Finding others






We also asked students about the activities that encouraged them to work in class and the ones they liked the most to start it. The results were as follows (Table 2):

Table 2. Activities that encourage students to work in class



Activity that implies movement


Activity related to the topic


Explanation to the topic


Review of the previous topic


Informal conversation




According to the questionnaire, we found out that most of the students had more interest in activities that implied movement or those like hangman, bingo, mimics, or guessing, to start the class.

In addition, they apparently preferred working in small groups. Also, they suggested games or dynamics, and varied activities to have a good start in the lesson. It seemed that these activities could encourage them to understand better, increase their attention and interest and promote interaction among classmates.

Students appeared to have interest in activities that motivated, caught their attention and increased their understanding.

We found in the students reflections that they thought they learnt different aspects of language according to the warm ups worked in class. For example, in the class where the memory game was applied, students said they had learnt vocabulary. Likewise, in the class where hangman was played, most of them said they had learnt spelling.

Table 3. Strengthening knowledge about the language(the results are based on the questionnaire) :

Language aspect the students could reinforce








Interdisciplinary work




Didn’t answer




As can be noticed, functions and structures were learned easily as a result of the use of funny and enjoyable activities, combined with other important communicative aspects. That means the warm ups let teachers link the way language can be used with its formal construction (structures).

Likewise, the analysis of the students’ reflection, which included some headings to encourage them to write, showed that warm up activities produce positive feelings such as happiness, motivation and excitement. It could be noticed in the analysis we made about these aspects for each warm up. For example, in the The Memory Game warm up, students expressed that they felt as follows: (Table 4):

Table 4. Feelings during the Memory Game warm up



Very good














As usual






6. Conclusions and Pedagogical Implications

At the end of this study, we as researchers could assert that using warm up activities is an effective way of helping students to begin the English lesson daily. In regards to this, we completely agree with Allwright (1984) who concluded, based on her own experience, that "with warm ups students paid closer attention, asked better questions and seemed a bit more excited than before" (p. 162). This author also claims that "the proper presentation of warm ups will cause people to stop whatever they are doing or thinking and refocus their attention" (p. 164), an aspect that could be confirmed through the findings of this study.

Through the analysis of the findings learnt from the students' journals and teachers' field notes, we have come to the conclusion that the role of warm ups is one of being an attention injector for students. That facilitates their involvement in the class work by sharing answers, trying to participate, paying attention, giving the answers, encouraging to take part in the lesson, participating as volunteers, working on the exercises, drawing, and writing the exercises.

Based on the results collected mainly from the field notes, these kinds of activities really appear to promote students' involvement at the English lesson. They must be used as a motivation and a means of preparing the ground for the various stages of the lesson.

In the same way, they must not be considered as isolated stages in the process or be centered on only one skill. That means we can prepare the warm up with the objective of involving students' participation and letting them communicate at an early stage of the lesson.

Some important aspects to be considered for the warm up development are the classroom conditions and the clarity of the activity rules. That means we have to explain the procedure carefully before starting, to have all the materials ready, to encourage students to participate and to motivate them by means of examples or guides.

It is also important to remark that no matter how simple warm up activities can be, they should be well prepared. In addition, we need to examine the connection for the later activities so that we, as teachers, can take advantage of them to develop our lessons. For example, to prepare the warm up related to the use of a Bingo in the topic Daily activities and their frequency, the teacher only had to think about the sentences the students must include in the Bingo and the right order to develop the activity. Consequently, it did not demand a lot of time to prepare or complicated materials to be implemented.

We can promote students' involvement at the very beginning of the lesson by applying warm ups. And for warm ups to be effective they should be short, related to the topic, useful to continue later activities, interesting, and enjoyable. In doing so, we can prepare students to concentrate and to help them begin to think and focus their attention on the English class.


  1. Allwright, R. (1984). The importance of interaction in classroom language learning. Applied Linguistics, 5(2), 156-171. http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_nlinks&ref=000129&pid=S1657-0790200800020000200001&lng=eng

  2. Cárdenas, M. L. (2001). Responding to children's learning styles. How, 8, 17-22. http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_nlinks&ref=000130&pid=S1657-0790200800020000200002&lng=en

  3. Dornyei, Z. (2001). Motivational strategies in the English classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_nlinks&ref=000131&pid=S1657-0790200800020000200003&lng=en

  4. Howatt, J. W. (1994). Our criteria for grading students' programs. ACM, SIGCSE Bulletin, 26(3), 3-7. http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_nlinks&ref=000132&pid=S1657-0790200800020000200004&lng=en

  5. Kay, C. (1995). Scott Foresman English series. Baltimore, Maryland: Scott Foresman. http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_nlinks&ref=000133&pid=S1657-0790200800020000200005&lng=en

  6. Nunan, D. (1989). Understanding language classrooms. New York: Prentice Hall



Our Favourite Warming Up Activities

  • Brainstorm (any level, individual or group)
    Give a topic and ask learners to think of anything related to it. Write the responses for all to see, or ask a volunteer to do the writing. You can use this to elicit vocabulary related to your lesson.

  • Question of the Day (intermediate-advanced, individual or group)
    Ask 1-2 simple questions and give learners 5 minutes to write their answers. Randomly choose a few people to share their answers with the group.

  • Yesterday (intermediate, group)
    Have a learner stand in front of the group and make one statement about yesterday, such as "Yesterday I went shopping." Then let everyone else ask questions to learn more information, such as "Who did you go with?" "What did you buy?" "What time did you go?" etc.
    Try this with 1-2 different learners each day.

  • Describe the Picture (any level, group)
    Show a picture and have learners take turns saying one descriptive thing about it. Beginners can make simple observations like "three cats" while advanced students can make up a story to go with the picture. They aren't allowed to repeat what someone else said, so they need to pay attention when each person speaks.
    Variation for individual: take turns with the teacher.

  • Criss-Cross (beginner-intermediate, large group)
    Learners must be seated in organized rows at least 4x4. Have the front row of learners stand. Ask simple questions like "What day/time is it?" Learners raise their hands (or blurt out answers) and the first person to answer correctly may sit down. The last standing learner's line (front-to-back) must stand and the game continues until 3-4 rows/lines have played. You can use diagonal rows if the same person gets stuck standing each time. To end, ask a really simple question (e.g. "What's your name?") directly to the last student standing. Variation for small group: the whole group stands and may sit one by one as they raise their hands and answer questions.

  • Show & Tell

  • (any level, individual or group)
    A learner brings an item from home and talks about it in front of the group. Give learners enough advance notice to prepare and remind them again before their turn. Have a back up plan in case the learner forgets to bring an item. Beginners may only be able to share the name of an item and where they got it. Be sure to give beginners specific instructions about what information you want them to tell.

  • Sing a Song

  • (intermediate-advanced, group)
    If you're musically inclined, or even if you're not, songs can be a lively way to get everyone involved.

  • Mystery Object (advanced, group)
    Bring an item that is so unusual that the learners are not likely to recognize what it is. Spend some time eliciting basic descriptions of the item and guesses about what it is and how it's used. If possible, pass the item around. This is an activity in observation and inference, so don't answer questions. Just write down descriptions and guesses until someone figures it out or you reveal the mystery.

If You Had a Magic Wand

Magic wands open up amazingly creative possibilities. Pass a magic wand around your classroom before you begin a new topic and ask your students what they would do with a magic wand. What would they want revealed? What would they hope to make easy? Which aspect of the topic would they want to fully understand? Your topic will determine the kinds of questions you can ask to get them started.

If You Won the Lottery

What would your students do to effect change in your given topic if money were no object? This warm up lends itself well to social and corporate topics, but be creative. You might be surprised by its usefulness in less tangible areas as well.

Three Words

This is a fast warm up that's easily adaptable to any topic. Ask your students to come up with three words they associate with the new topic. The value in this for you, as a teacher, is that you'll discover very quickly where your students' heads are. Are they excited about this? Nervous? Unenthusiastic? Completely confused? It's like taking the temperature in your classroom.

20 Questions

One person thinks of an object (person, place, or thing). Everyone takes turns asking yes/no questions until someone can guess correctly (or until 20 questions are asked). The difficult part is that you cannot ask "wh" questions!
Example: PINEAPPLE. Does it talk? No. Does it make life easier? No. Do you eat it? Yes. Is it something you would eat for dinner? No. Etc...
If someone makes a mistake in forming the question, other team members can help turn it into a proper question.

Can't Say Yes or No

In this game everyone is given a certain number of coins or squares of paper (about 10). Everyone moves around the room starting conversations and asking each other questions. The only rule is that you cannot say the words YES or NO. If you accidentally say one of these words, you have to give a coin or square to the person who you said it to. Try to trick each other by asking questions that you would almost always answer with a yes or no. Think of other ways to trick your friends. Sometimes asking two quick questions in a row works well. (Especially tag questions: Are you new here? This is your first time in America, isn't it?). This game is a great way to practise using small talk and to add variety to your vocabulary. It also makes everyone laugh.

Fact or Fiction

In this game, one person tells a short story about themselves or someone they know or heard about. Usually it is something funny or crazy. It can be a true story, or something made up.
Example: Josh tells a story about his Uncle Leo who sleeps in the nude. One day Uncle Leo was sleepwalking and he went outside and took his dog for a walk. The next door neighbour was coming home late from work and saw him! She called the police and he got arrested for being naked in public.
Everyone around the room has to say whether they think Josh's story is fact (true) or fiction (made up). Josh reveals the truth when everyone has guessed. Members can take turns telling a story.

Chain Fairytale
This is a fun writing warm-up. Everyone has a piece of paper and writes the first sentence or two to start a fairytale (not one that already exists).
Example: Once upon a time there was a frog that had no legs. He wanted to get married, but there were no female legless frogs in the land.
After one minute the leader will say "SWITCH". At this time the writers have to put down their pens and pass the papers. They cannot finish their sentences. Then, the next writers will continue the story. After about ten minutes you will have as many silly stories to read as you have club members. The leader should warn the writers that they will soon have to wrap-up the story during the last two minutes so that each story has a conclusion. Read all of the stories out loud for a good laugh. You can extend this activity by trying to edit each other's writing and spelling errors.

Draw the Picture

In this activity members split up into pairs or small groups. One person looks at a scene from a magazine or book (the leader should cut out enough pictures, or bring in enough magazines for the club). The other person has a pencil and a blank piece of paper. The person with the picture will try to describe everything he sees to the drawer. This is good practice for using prepositions of place. When the describer is finished, compare the drawings to the real thing! Whose is the closest to the original?

For this game, one person thinks of a category, such as MOVIES. In a circle, everyone must take a turn thinking of a Movie title (in English of course). If someone takes too long to give an answer (the leader should count to five) then that person is out and a new category begins. If someone gives an answer that doesn't make sense or is incorrect, he is also out of the game. For example, if the category is VEGETABLES and someone says "banana" that person is out. The game continues until only one person is left!

Who am I?
In this game, the leader prepares cards with famous people's names on them. The leader tapes one card on the back of each member. Then everyone pretends they are at a party and asks each other questions to find out their own identities. When someone guesses their own name correctly, the name-tag gets taped to their front and they continue to chat with the party guests until everyone is wearing the nametag on the front.

In this game, which is based on the famous gameshow Jeopardy, everyone writes down ten answers to questions about themselves. After writing down the answers, people have to form pairs or small groups and try to find out what the questions are.
Example: (answer = purple) "What is your favorite colour?" "Blue." "What colour do you hate?" "Green." "What colour is your underwear?" "Purple!" You can stop at three guesses if you want, or keep going until someone in the club can guess the question.

Hot Seat
In this game, the club is split up into two teams. One member from each team sits facing the group. The leader holds up a word (or writes it on the board if you are in a classroom) for all of the team members to see except for the two players in the hot seats. The teams must try to get the person in the hot seat to guess the word or phrase. The first person to guess correctly gets to stand up and a new member from their team takes the hot seat. The person on the other team has to remain in the hot seat until she gets an answer first. You can keep score or just play for fun. This game can also be played in pairs. One pair member closes their eyes while the leader shows the word to the other pair members. The first pair to get the word right gets a point. Warning! This is a loud game because people tend to get excited and yell!

Broken Telephone

This is a listening and pronunciation activity that always gets people laughing. The leader first must think of a sentence or phrase and whisper it to the person beside her. That person will then whisper what she heard to the next person. Each person can only say, "Can you please repeat that?" one time. When the message reaches the end of the chain that person must speak out loud. Oftentimes the message will be completely different when it reaches the end. Try to find out where the chain broke! In a big group you can send the message two ways and find out which team comes closest to the real message. (A famous example is the army message that started as "Send reinforcements, we're going to advance" and ended as "Send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance.")

Краткое описание документа:

     В начале урока учителю важно настроить учащихся на общение, создать рабочий контакт c ними, то есть осуществить речевую  подготовку естественным путём. Такая речевая подготовка носит традиционное название «речевая зарядка» (warmer or warming-up or warming-up activity or lead-in).

   Warmingup (речевая зарядка) — это  вид деятельности в начале урока (обычно не более 5 минут), который преследует две цели: первая — помочь учащимся войти в языковую среду после того, как они приходят на урок английского языка; вторая — ввести учащихся в тему урока.

   В нашем исследовании мы делимся опытом  использования  различных warming up  activities на уроках английского языка , классифицируем  речевые зарядки,   анализируем литературу по данной теме, приводим результаты опроса учащихся  о том, какие  warming up activities  им нравились больше всего и были более эффективны, а также прилагаем краткое описание  некоторых их них  

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