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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > back to school : new ideas needed for the first lesson    

back to school : new ideas needed for the first lesson


back to school : new ideas needed for the first lesson
hi everyone!
I don īt know if i īm posting in the right category so if not, let me know and i īll move my message.
Here is my problem : i īve been teaching for oh, 15 years now and i īm really fed up with the "introduce yourself" lesson to start a new school year (and i guess my pupils must be as well!).
i īm looking for ideas to spice things up a bit for my intermediate to upper intermediate students and create a new atmosphere in the english class right for the first days of september.
thanx for your help

21 Aug 2014      


On my first day, after very brief intros, we did a walk around campus taking photos with our mobile phones e.g, cafeteria, library, drinking fountain etc.  On return to the classroom the students then added the English words of those items to each photo using the caption facility on their mobile. They then had to share 5 of those photos with another person and talk about it in English.
If you like this idea, you could also use  a theme e.g.
- colour - only blue things
- signs - warning, directional, information etc
- safety - anything that helps keep students safe

21 Aug 2014     


thanks for this idea Jayho!
I should give it a try even if my school is really small, we don īt really have many things to explore but hey, everything is worth trying ;)

21 Aug 2014     


Thumbs Up

21 Aug 2014     


Here īs another one which I had a chance to be a part of during a summer school this year. 
"A secret friend activity" (only fits if you have your own study room and your group is not large): you īll need pics/photos of the students in your group. Put the pictures in a pile in the middle of the room. Have students pull one and say a few things about the person in the picture (they can either guess (even the name) or say what they already know and the student from the picture can say if it īs true) You then stick the picture to an envelop with the name of that student and stick it to the wall (by the end of the pull you īll have a mural of all the students in the group:) Then have students pull strips of paper with the name and last name of the students in the group so that everyone has one. They MUSTN īT show it to anybody (that īs their secret friend) During the next one or two weeks they will have to sneak in and put something in the envelop for their secret friend (it can be a card, a candy, a post-it with a nice message or quote, something small that will fit in the envelop) They can put something there as many times as they wish or manage to. During the final part of the activity have the students take the envelop with their name on it and try to guess and find their secret friend during a mingling activity. This can be both fun and can help build raport. 

21 Aug 2014     


A genius from this site also had a great idea of investing in a bag of M&Ms candy or Skittles and having each student take one piece (during one round ;-) and answering a question corresponding to the candy color. These can be questions about them (tell us about your most prized possession), or you as a teacher (what is your teacher īs favourite... 

Perfect for its simplicity and adaptable for various levels. I usually have a couple of questions corresponding to one color candy so the students can have some choice :-)

21 Aug 2014     


I īve done mine as a sort of speed dating idea - students have a few minutes with each student asking each other questions and answering then when time is up move onto the next student - this way all students get some 1 to 1 time with each other and getting to know each other a little better.
Then after this you can ask students what they learned about each other.
At intermediate level, this shouldn īt be a problem to do.

21 Aug 2014     

Russian Federation

You can play a game "Taboo", the topic is - " summer holidays".

22 Aug 2014     


many thanks to all of you for sharing your ideas! I like the skittles related lesson (but maybe this is because i īm greedy!).
I liked the anonymous friend as well but unfortunately i won īt have the opportunity to have a pic of the students before the big day so, i īll keep this idea for another time!

22 Aug 2014     

United Kingdom

Some very nice ideas here - the top 2 boxes.

And here

23 Aug 2014     


On the first day of class make a circle with the students and they should be presented. Begins: the teacher says your name, the student on right speaks the name of the teacher and his, the third student speaks the name of the teacher, the name of  the colleague and his. And so is increasing. The last student will speak the name of all the class.

24 Aug 2014