EFL Warmer: Words beginning with the letter…
At the start of most of my English lessons, I use an EFL warmer / icebreaker. Yesterday, I used a variation of words that start with the letter… (insert any letter of the alphabet) a very popular icebreaker.
It’s suitable for all levels, beginners to advanced, if you apply some slight changes.
Because the student I did this with is a high beginner, I told her to find 20 words that include the letter E. (E and A are the most common letters in the English language, therefore it’s quite easy to find words. To make it even easier, it didn’t matter if the letter was at the beginning, end or middle of the word.)
After she completed her list, I told her to put it aside for the moment. But I planned to return to it after the next exercise. (The lesson’s topic was a repetition of basic sentence structure)
So after two worksheets where she had to put jumbled sentences in the right order, I told her to look at her list again, and to make her own sentences with the words she chose.
This served two purposes:
- To increase the difficulty of the exercise (no prefabricated sentence chunks any more which she simply had to rearrange, but rather she had to come up with her own)
- Great vocabulary building exercise, as the student had to use the words she chose in context.
Some general modifications:
- Find words that include a certain letter (so it can be anywhere, at the start, middle or end of a word)
Intermediate / advanced:
- Find words that start or end with a certain letter.
- Choose less common letters
Possible modifications I’ve come up with:
- Use the list of words in a later exercise (like I did in the example above. All levels)
- For every word, find two (or more) words which collocate with it (upper intermediate / advanced)
- For every word, find two (or more) words, which match thematically (table: chair, table mat. All levels)
- Choose a letter and a topic (find five animals starting with the letter A etc. All levels)
- Instead of a single letter choose a prefix / suffix (advanced)
- Find only verbs / adjectives etc. with a certain letter (intermediate / advanced)
- Find adjectives etc. with your chosen letter and their antonyms / synonyms (upper intermediate / advanced)
It’s a fun little exercise which can be used at any point in your EFL lesson, either as a warmer, but also as a filler between to different parts.
It works equally well with Business English classes, Academic English classes, General English classes etc. because it can be adapted to suit your needs.
If you already used this warmer in your classes, I’d love to hear about it! Please, leave me a comment below 🙂