Odd One Out: Warm-Up Game

Odd One Out: A fun warm-up game

I always use warm-up games or activities in my classes. It can be pretty hard for our students to come in, sit down, and then just immediately get into the meat of the lesson. I like to give them time to warm-up their brains, and think, speak, read, write, and listen in English.

I find spending a few minutes at the beginning of a lesson is certainly not a waste of time because it makes the rest of the class go that much more smoothly. It also allows some time for the latecomers to get to class without interrupting the most important things you want to cover that day.

An Introduction to the Odd One Out Warm-Up Game

This warm-up game is a quick warm-up game that can be used for beginners to intermediates. I’ve used it with kids and adults and most groups seem to like it. It makes an excellent review activity for vocabulary from the previous lessons.

The name of this ESL Warm-up game is called odd one out. The way it works it that there are some sets of words on the board. Some of the best topics include: body parts, shapes, colours, seasons and foods. But use your imagination and you’ll find that almost anything can work.

For higher level students, you can use more “abstract” things where there are many possible answers. You can also use more difficult vocabulary words.

Some Examples: 

1. apple/orange/onion/banana

2. ankle/toe/leg/mouth

3. TV/cup/credit card/table

4. Amoeba/triangle/Aloe Vera plant/platypus

The students have to think about which one is different and also say why. If you don’t make students say why, the activity is too easy and takes about 10 seconds!

As you can see, the first three examples are pretty easy and would be appropriate for beginner students, while #4 is appropriate for higher level students.

Here are the answers for the previous four examples.

1. onion, because not a fruit.

2. mouth, because upper 1/2 of body.

3. cup, because it’s a round shape.

4. triangle, because it’s not a living thing.

Alone, or in Pairs

I usually put my students into pairs and they have to write down their answers. The first 2 teams with answers that make sense get a prize of some sort. They’d have to write something like:

#1: Onion, not fruit.

More ESL Warm-Ups

39 ESL Warm-Ups: For Kids (7+)
List Price:$13.99
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If you liked this ESL warm-up activity, then you’ll need to check out this book: 39 ESL Warm-Ups for Kids (7+).There are almost 40 engaging, interesting activities to help get your classes started off in style.

Get your students engaged, and ready to learn with these fun warm-ups.

You can get the book on Amazon in both print and digital formats. The (cheaper!) digital copy can be read on any device (Mac, PC, tablet, Smartphone) by downloading the free Kindle reading app.

Check out the book for yourself on Amazon and get ready to plan your lessons in no time. The first few minutes of each class will basically plan themselves!

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