39 ESL Warm-Up Activities

ESL Warm-Up Activities

Exciting news! I’ve just released a new book on Amazon, 39 ESL Warm-Ups: For Teenagers and Adults. Warm-Up Activities are awesome, if you didn’t know that already. They get your students active, engaged and speaking English right from the beginning of the class.
In case you’re the type of person who likes to try before you buy, here’s one of the activities from that book:

Small Talk ESL Speaking Activity

You can use this activity for high-beginners to advanced students, but you’ll have to adjust the length of the conversations. Print off this grid, one per every 4 students.

Small Talk Grid

Put students into pairs, with 2 pairs in one group (4 students total). The first pair chooses a topic such as “this morning” and must talk about it for 2 minutes (advanced), 1 minute (intermediate) or 30 seconds (beginner). The other team is the “timer” and can use their cell-phones to do this.

If the team can keep up a conversation about this topic for the full time, they get to mark that topic on the board with either an “X” or “O,” with the goal being three in a row, which equals one point. If they can’t do it, there is no penalty but they don’t get to mark that square on the board. The game is essentially S-O-S/Tic-Tac-Toe. Then, the next team chooses a topic and the game continues.
For a short activity, the winner can be the first team with one row of three squares.

For a longer game, continue for a certain amount of time (10 minutes is good) and the winner is the team with the most rows.


1.Print off the small talk grid, one per every 4 students.

2.The first pair chooses a square and must talk about that topic for a set amount of time. If successful, they mark the board with an “X” or “O.” The game continues with the next team choosing another square (or the same one if the other pair was unsuccessful).

3.The goal is to get three squares in a row or the most rows, depending on how long you want to play.

Buy it Now on Amazon

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