Daily Brain Stretcher
I like to begin class with a 2-minute warm up activity that gets students ready for the main lesson. I choose two students who have correctly written down the homework in their school agenda and are sitting quietly. These students are the leaders of the daily “Brain Stretcher.” The “Brain Stretchers” are from the game Outburst and Outburst Junior (or created by myself or by the students). The goal is for students to name as many words or phrases as possible related to a central topic. Topics always relate to the content of the class for that day.
One student is the card checker, while the other is the one-minute timer and name caller. As each student “stretches their brain” to correctly name all ten items on the card, relating to the overall topic, they must also be very good listeners, since they cannot repeat what someone else says.
I find that this two-minute activity has a definite purpose in the classroom. It motivates all levels of students, it evolves around and reinforces the content for the day, it improves listening skills, it promotes cooperative learning, it enhances creativity and visualization, and it lets each student have a crack at being the teacher for a short period of time.