5-minute warmer

In your culture, do you sometimes have a period of time when there are two long weekends in one month and very few working/learning days between these public holidays? May is such a month here, and I am sharing a short activity that can be used as a warmer on a lesson during such a week. (another cultural note: students are often a little late to class on such days, and many are absent taking trips, etc., so teachers might need a bit of ‘time-stretching’ at the very beginning of a lesson)


Read the ideas below and put an arrow to the left ← if you did that last weekend, or to the right →, if this is possible to happen next weekend. Be ready to share in small groups/pairs.

** please see the handout here: MayDayActivity

List of ideas:

a phone call from someone I haven’t heard for a while

a phone call to someone I haven’t heard for a while

a pleasant meeting

something I have always wanted to do but never found time for

a book / magazine / website I loved

a movie I saw

a new joke I heard

a place to see / visit

a promise to myself

… (add what else you did or are planning)

What else do you do in class on the days between too many days off?

Thank you for reading 🙂


A snapshot from a day trip to Khortica Island, Ukraine

About Zhenya

teacher educator, evidence-based instruction trainer, PD Coach https://wednesdayseminars.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in Teacher Reflections and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to 5-minute warmer

  1. annazernova says:

    Hi Zhenya, lovely idea, thank you.
    I love doing such activities with students, they are usually very enjoyable and fruitful 🙂
    Have a nice day!


  2. kehfinegan says:

    These kinds of activities are great. I’ll have to try this one when summer classes begin!

    Messenger and scribe is another activity that I find so fruitful. It allows students to practice reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It doesn’t work so well with latecomers, unless you can count on some of them arriving in pairs. If you provide students with sentences related to the content of the day, it makes a great warm-up.

    Here’s a nice explanation of the activity:


    • Zhenya says:

      Thank you very much for the comment – excited to know that you might try the activity with your students. Thank you for the link to the description of ‘Messenger and Scribe’ (reminds me of ‘running dictation, but done in pairs and sounds fun). I wonder if combining the two of these might work as well (sentences about the weekend/vacations). Well, a lot to experiment with!


  3. Linda-Marie Koza says:

    I will try this between Thanksgiving and Christmas. THANK YOU!


  4. careymicaela says:

    What a great activity! Simple to set up and interesting for students because it’s so personalized. I’m already thinking of ways I can adapt it with my younger learners- we’ve been working on the Past Simple and ‘to be going to’ in the Future. Thank you for sharing. 🙂


    • Zhenya says:

      Wow – thank you for the comment Micaela, and for thinking ‘through the eyes’ of your little students! Indeed, putting pics instead of phrases might turn into fun activity (or maybe your students can read – then no problem at all!) Always good to hear from you! 🙂


  5. Tesal K. Sangma says:

    A cool idea I can use in my class. Thanks, Zhenya!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Adi Rajan says:

    It’s elegantly simple and could potentially be very powerful in my teaching context. The American clients and stakeholders my learners work with perennially complain that software developers from their Indian development centres consistently answer ritualistic questions about how their weekends were with an unshakeable “nothing!”.

    We’ve explored this in class and students would talk about how strange they found their American clients waxing eloquent about trivial activities like doing the laundry or taking the dog for a walk. Because in India, doing something over the weekend means doing something momentous like rescuing a cat or going on a road trip.

    Your warmer would perhaps help my learners see value in even routine things they might be doing over the weekend. I particularly like “a phone call to someone I haven’t heard for a while”


    • Zhenya says:

      Dear Adi,

      Thank you for the great comment – in fact, it is now a mini-post about culture differences, and how a small thing (asking about and describing one’s weekend) can teach so much about others.

      I would really love to hear how this goes in your lesson (perhaps on your blog?) because it seems to be one of those cases when we teachers can learn a great deal from students. I wonder if asking them to add more questions/lines to ask each other would make the conversation going. One example I can think if is ‘if you helped anyone with something they were trying to do’ or along these lines…

      Thank you for your generous comment once again – I learned a lot from reading it!

      Liked by 1 person

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