Greetings and Warm-ups for Online Teaching - 3 Tips For New Teachers
Welcome to the online teaching community! My name is Megan and I found my home in the online teaching world about 3 years ago. I start every day with a very large coffee, very fuzzy slippers, and a pile of colorful and fluffy props. My favorite prop is also my fluffiest one- my dog!
“Are you a morning person?” That’s the question I inevitably hear after I tell people how early I wake up to teach. After 3 years of early mornings, I have reached the conclusion that I will never be a “morning person”, but I am definitely a “coffee person” and a “nap person”. Since early mornings are quite a challenge for me, it can be difficult to be mentally prepared for class and not to come across as groggy to my eager students.
Getting my class off to a great start is very important to me, so I have tried everything over the years! Here are some of the greetings and warmups for online teaching ideas that stuck with me because they really worked for me... and I hope that they work for you too.
TIP ONE: SET THE TONE
It’s true what they say – you only make one first impression. Since our classes are so short, we only have a few moments to make a connection with our students and get them pumped up and ready to participate. How can we do this? For starters, bring enthusiasm! Enthusiasm is contagious, and it’s just more fun to learn from an enthusiastic teacher. I always try to greet my students with a welcoming smile and to project positive energy. Sometimes I will also make positive statements such as: “I am so excited for class!” “Are you ready for class? Me too!” or “We are learning about one of my favorite topics today, I can’t wait!” I also make positive comments about the students such as “Wow, what a great class we have here today!” These types of positive reinforcement help the students to feel encouraged and energized and also help to banish their insecurities and nerves. One warning here! Start your class with the right amount of energy; enough to get everyone revved up, but make sure it’s not too over-the-top. Keep your energy at a level that you can maintain from class start to finish! That way you won’t slowly turn into a sleepy sluggish teacher by the time class ends.
TIP TWO: SHOW PERSONAL INTEREST
I try to use those precious few seconds in class introductions to make personal moments with my students. For example, I look for things to comment on when I am meeting them such as their toy, hair, or shirt. If they are older, I will ask them about their favorite food, weather, or city. I will ask them how their day was. I also make connections by saying things like “That’s my favorite color too!” or “You live in Beijing? Wow! I would love to travel there!” I let the students share things about themselves, and I always comment on their preferences so that they know I was listening. If they are too shy, or maybe their English is not quite fluent enough to express their preferences, I will guess or provide options. At this point, I will hold up props and ask questions such as “Do you like rabbits? Or dinosaurs?” Starting class with fun questions is a wonderful way to help the students feel comfortable interacting with the teacher. It also assures them that their opinions and participation are valued and heard. I don’t want any of my students to feel overlooked, so I make sure to give them equal time and attention.
TIP THREE: GAMES GAMES GAMES
I don’t always have time for warm-up games before class, but when I do, they are a huge hit with the students! If you have regular students, warm-up games help to keep class intros fresh and engaging every week. I would highly recommend using Youtube as a source of ideas for warm-up games, but also here are a few of my go-to favorites!
- Counting objects or stickers
- Holding up props and asking what color they are
- Asking questions about animals – what sound does a cat make?
- Doing physical warm-ups (“Touch your head!” “Touch your nose!”)
- Acting out verbs (“Can you dance? Show me!” “Can you swim? Show me!”)
- Singing songs
- Having the student guess what I am holding in my hand by asking questions about it
- A spin-off of Hangman where they guess letters to fill in the blanks
- Can you game (hold up a prop such as a hat.. “Can you eat it? Can you wear it?”)
Warm-up games are a great way to make learning English fun, and to help the student to be alert and responsive to teacher prompts. And to be honest- I enjoy these games as much as the students do!
So for your next class, don’t forget to bring enthusiasm, make special connections with each student, and have some fun warm-up questions and games ready! You will be able to get your class off to a great start, even if mornings are a struggle for you like they are for me. And one more little pro-tip! Coffee! But I’m sure you already knew that. Happy teaching!
If you’d like to try Qkids, I completely recommend them. Here is a link with my referral code to get you started: