Nowadays the importance of the first conversation at the lesson has greatly
risen. It is called warm-up activity. It helps to engage students into the
process of communication. The main aim of it is to create favorable atmosphere
for communication according to humanistic approach. It was often used only for
training pronunciation or vocabulary. Such activity can also be organized to
drill student’s intellectual abilities to develop their imagination in context
of learner centered approach.
When I enter the classroom with my friend Reddy (a funny puppet clown from
Great Britain who doesn’t know Russian, it is put on my right hand) I greet
students and then he is our close friend. He is happy, joyful and my students
like him very much. He talks to children on different topics. It depends on
weather, students’ mood, program, conditions of teaching. Drama technique is the
important part of the arsenal of communicative and discovering learning.
When we learn the topic family in the 3rd form I use the following situation:
Reddy comes to visit us. He misses the children because he has known them since
they were in the second form. Reddy: (cheerfully) ‘’Hello boys and girls! I’m
very glad to see you. I haven’t seen you for ages. I’m on a tour in Russia. How
are you? (He asks some students, they answer and ask him how he is.) I’d like to
talk to you about your families. I’m sure you love your family and you like to
do something together. What do you like to do with your family, mother, father,
brother or sister?” He asks the children. They answer: "I like to play football
with my father. I like to play tennis with my mother”. They speak about
different kinds of activities. Reddy: "I think you are friendly with your
families. Good bye. See you soon.” The students are joyful, concentrated and
ready for learning and it’s useful for the following activities.
The role play is used in the 2nd form. The students are the actors of the
travelling puppet theatre. The actors are different animals. They are going to
have a performance. The teacher begins: ‘’Today we are having a performance.
(Some noise is heard under the table.) What strange noise! Is anybody there?
Wow! Reddy is getting out of the table.
Reddy: "Hello! Where am I? I’m lost”. (The teacher
interprets when it is necessary)
Teacher: "You are in
our travelling puppet theatre. Children! Let’s ask him who he is, what his name
Children: "What is your name? Who are
Reddy: "My name is Reddy. I’m a puppet clown.
Children: "Nice to meet you”
"I’d like to ask you some questions too. What is your name? Who are
you? (He addresses some students and they answer his questions with great
Teacher: "Nice to meet you, Reddy. We
invite you to our performance. Let’s show what we can do. Who can count?” Such
activity helps to involve all the students to take part in the performance. They
are happy to show their skills. At the end of the performance Reddy: "I’m so
pleased with you. You are so little and your English is so well. Good bye. Good
luck to you!”
So Reddy travels with my students from lesson to lesson, from form to
Another kind of warm-up activity is the usage of such "fascinating
signal” as singing. It helps to concentrate the students, to create joyful
atmosphere. I use different songs and try to perform myself as well as I can. It
helps me to cope well with my students.
In the 5th form I begin one of the
lessons with the song "Only love is spoken here” (it is from the musical of
the same name)
Teacher: "Children. I’d like to begin our lesson with a
beautiful song "Only love is spoken here” What do you think what it is about?
(They try to answer the question, using patterns which are given on their
cards. Teacher comments their opinions). Please, listen to the song and
then we shall talk about it. (The text of the song is on each student’s
desk. The unknown words are translated)
1. Only love is spoken here,
Only hope and joy and cheer,
Only love is
spoken here, love is spoken here
2. Only love is spoken here.
There’s no doubt nor hate nor fear,
love is spoken, love is spoken here!
3. Treating others like they are your brothers
Is the only way to
Always caring, yes, and always sharing, yes,
The secret is to
4. Only love is spoken here,
Only hope and joy and cheer,
Only love is
spoken, love is spoken here!
All the children are listening attentively. Their faces express interest and
admiration and it is very important. I see that the song has realized its role.
Teacher: "You are smiling. I think you like the song. Why? What do you
Students answer the question, using the patterns given on their cards. Their
possible answers: because it’s wonderful, nice and etc. They express their
feelings. They don’t think if their English is correct or not. They try to speak
and they are prepared to it by the song itself.
Teacher: "I think we’ll learn it by heart” Then the teacher
goes over to the following part of the lesson because the children are to
discover new things.
With the students of older age we discuss the content of the song. All the
students try to express their opinion to the thoughts expressed in the song.
They also share their opinions about love, charity, the idea of giving. They try
to answer the question what "love” means. They learn not only to speak English
but also to think, to discuss. The song helps to involve students into
conversation. The teacher can use the song to solve problems of education. We
discuss the song in the context of instilling tolerance to people around us not
only close people but also classmates and nature.
Speaking about "Thanksgiving day” we use the song "Thank you for saying thank
you”. The teacher first gives the students an opportunity to predict what the
song tells about. Then they discuss if it is important to say thank you and why,
what forgetting saying thank you means. Then we go over to the American