Posts Tagged ‘warmers’

Here’s a simple needs analysis/goal-setting warmer to do at the beginning of a new module or unit, in order to help the group personalize the topic and take ownership of their learning.

Materials: editable .docx worksheet. If you don’t have Microsoft Word, download a .pdf file from slideshare:


Think about where you might use the topic you’re going to study with the group and create a sample case study worksheet (see my example for food below). Ask the students to read the column on the left and guess the words in the column on the left.

T_ _ _ c Food
Something you’re
pl_ _ _ing to do, h_ _e for or
dr_ _m about
My boyfriend and I might stay for a week in Rome in a rented flat
Sit_ _ _ _ _ _n: Supermarket in Rome
T_ _ing to: buy food to cook breakfast (for myself and my boyfriend)
Pot_ _ _ _al
pr_ _ _ _ _s
I might not be able to find our favourite food and I won’t be able to ask the shopping assistant if I don’t know the English equivalents.
How to
pr _ _ _ re:
· Write the list of things my boyfriend and I typically eat for breakfast and learn English equivalents
· Practice a dialogue with the shopping assistant in class

(Key: Topic, Something you’re planning to do, hope for or dream about, Situation, Trying to, Potential problems, How to prepare).

Now distribute a blank worksheet and ask the students to complete it with a plan, a hope and a dream that might be connected to the topic they’re going to study. In open class, get the s/s to share their plans/hopes/dreams and brainstorm a list of places/situations that might connect them to the topic. The s/s pick some of the places/situations and complete goals and potential problems related to the situations. After that, the s/s discuss action points, either in pairs or in a mingling activity. It’s a good idea for the teacher to circulate and suggest some strategies too! Make sure the students keep the worksheets in order to reflect on the goals they’d set when they finish the module.

P.S. Here are some examples of strategies that could come up.

  • [speaking] The person I’m talking to won’t understand me.
    Strategies: use a dictionary to check the pronunciation of important words in this module; use teacher’s feedback to speaking and writing to identify one frequent grammar mistake you make and do some self-study online; learn six expressions to give examples (e.g. To give you an example,…), check that you’ve been understood (e.g. Does that make sense?), reformulate (I mean,…) and summarize what you’ve said (So, to sum up…). Use each expression five times during this module.
  • [ideas/vocabulary] I don’t know much about this topic, so I won’t be able to chat about it. Also, I don’t know vocabulary.
    Strategy: choose three interesting articles about this topic. Read them, noticing topic expressions. Organize the expressions into a mindmap (see examples here) and then practice telling other people what you’ve read about, using your mindmaps (either find someone in this class to meet with in a cafe at the end of the module, or look for a conversation partner on sites like or
  • [speaking] I will have problem giving the presentation because I speak too slowly.
    Strategy: use 4-3-2 technique to practice: deliver the same monologue three times, each time giving yourself less time to say everything. Use a timer!
  • [listening] I won’t understand the waiter.
    Strategy: revise expressions that can be used to ask to repeat / clarify (e.g. Say that again? Pardon?) and reformulate to make sure you understood (So you’re saying …, is that right?). Use those expressions 10 times in class during this module.

Also check out these great handouts with ideas for activities to do outside classroom that Lizzie Pinard shares with her students.