This year I am lucky enough to work with two groups of extraordinary teenage students. They are ambitious, driven, fun, and hard working. They are also perfectionists, stressed, overwhelmed, and, well, teenagers. Asking them what’s new is likely to elicit 10 complaints rather than a simple “Not bad”. The idea behind all of these activities is to start/finish the class in an uplifting, pleasant, and feel-good way that might put our students in a better mood and, at least temporarily, drive their thoughts towards the good stuff (friends, family, food, sport, music) instead of the bad stuff (no sleep, school, boredom, English again!). Each activity takes up to 10 mins.
Magnetic Poetry: Tell me something nice
Extremely low-prep if you decide to do it online. I actually own a magnetic poetry kit (I think I got it at a teaching conference, actually!) and I decided to use it some weeks ago as it had been sitting in my drawer for way too long.
The idea is simple: select a bunch of words and ask your students to create a positive message. It can say whatever. They can supplement the missing words (as long as more than 50% of the message is created using the words given). All they need to remember is to say something nice!
Sit tight and get ready for some unicorns and rainbows! Kidding. There might be some eye-rolling or scoffing. Don’t give up. Encourage, praise even the smallest attempts, show an example. Positivity has its way of spreading and one student is often enough to get the group going.
Your feel-good photo
Chances are 99% of your students take photos with their mobiles and have their mobiles on them in class. Give them 3 mins to go through their photo album and choose a picture that makes them feel good. It can show whatever. Later, they can tell their partner / the whole class why they chose it. Be ready to share yours as well.
It’s quite a personal activity and some students might be shy to participate. Alternatively, ask them to write a short explanation on a piece of paper and collect them. Read their explanations one by one (or ask them to draw one and read it out loud). Then, they should try and guess what was in the chosen image.
Go to your happy place
For this activity you’re going to need some sound clips. My favourite are:
Tell your students they are going to listen to something for one minute. Ask them to relax and just let their minds wander. After each sound clip is over ask them to write down the answers to the following questions:
- where were you?
- what did you do?
- how did you feel?
Ask whether anybody is willing to share their answer. Talk about their favourite sound effect. You might want to choose the most soothing one. Ask them to suggest some other sounds that would help put their minds at peace.
If you are looking for some other ways to end your class on a positive note, take a look here.