5 first day activities from our readers

First day activities

This is the second post in our new blog series, sharing with you some top tips, advice and ideas from our blog readers. If you missed our first post – 6 things to consider when planning your first classes – you can read it here!

The first class with a new group can be nerve-wracking for students – no matter their age. It’s therefore important that you create a safe and fun learning environment where everyone gets to know each other and the students leave feeling motivated to learn English.

Here are 5 of our readers’ favorite activities to help your first class go with a bang.

1. Two truths and a lie

From Anna in Poland who teaches children aged 6-12.

In this activity students have to find out the truth about their classmates by asking questions.

  • Prepare two true sentences about yourself and one false. (e.g. 1. I have a dog 2. I have never knitted anything 3. I play the drums)
  • Read them aloud
  • Have students ask questions and guess which of them are true/false
  • Students prepare the same kind of sentences about themselves. Depending on the group size, students can work in pairs, groups or as a whole class and try to guess the true statements

2. The name game

From Favi in Mexico who teaches teenagers.

In this fun memory game students learn each other’s names.

  • Students get into a circle
  • The first student introduces themselves (name/interesting fact)
  • The next person has to say their name and interesting fact and that of the previous one too
  • This continues until the last person says all the names

3. My portrait

From Katherin in Panama who teaches teenagers.

In this activity students draw a picture and give a presentation.

  • Students have 15 minutes to draw a portrait of themselves
  • They should include a drawing of their hobbies, likes and dislikes, favorite food etc.
  • Once time is up, they have to go in front of the class or stand up and orally introduce themselves using their portrait and the drawings
  • Encourage students to ask questions to find out more

4. Toilet Paper Sentences

From Olivera in Serbia who teaches children aged 8-11 and 15-19.

In this activity students share interesting information about themselves.

  • Have students sit in a circle
  • Pass around a toilet roll and ask each student to take from 1-5 pieces (without any further explanation)
  • When they all have their pieces of toilet roll tell them they need to say as many sentences about themselves as they have pieces of toilet paper

5. Find someone who

From Juan in Spain who teaches adults. 

In this activity students walk around and find out fun things about their classmates.

  • Prepare a worksheet for each student with 10 “find someone who…” sentences on it
  • Write sentences that will provide interesting, fun facts about their classmates (e.g. find someone who can juggle/do a moonwalk/has been on TV etc.),
  • Students walk around the room asking their classmates questions. (e.g. Can you juggle? Have you been on TV?)
  • If they find a student who has done any of these things they should write down their name.
  • In the next class ask your students: what do you remember about your classmates?

Looking for more ideas? Here are five more speaking activities perfect for your first day with a primary class.

In this article