Clowning on the first class day!

Yesterday I started a course called: “Clown como estrategia didáctica” (clown as a didactic strategy). I had a lot of fun, and  felt like a child again enjoying the freedom of just playing around and not thinking or worrying about anything else. We should never loose that innocence, and if we have already lost it, recover it by all means. I can assure you it is worth the effort.

While I was there, I revisited two old activities, I haven’t used for a long time, that are perfect for getting to know each other. It was wonderful, having looked at them from a new perspective. There I was the student, and not the teacher, and could have fun without paying attention to anything else (timing, students who were not connected with what was going on in the class, minding students didn’t get hurt, or run wildly out of control). I was free to relax and enjoy myself.

little Gabriel clown by L O O K
little Gabriel clown, a photo by L O O K on Flickr.

However, at one point we have to come back to reality and face the truth: I’m still a grown-up adult and a teacher of kids, teenagers and adults. I remembered about Eva’s carnival  and decided to share these two activities that are very useful for the  first week of classes:

A Chain of Hands: At first, the teacher asked us to start walking around the room. Then, she told us to make eye contact with the people we encountered, while we kept on walking. After that, when we encountered a person we were supposed to give him/her a highfive and say a word or make a sound (whatever came to our mind at that moment). The following step was to hold hands and introduce ourselves (Hi, I’m Sabrina). And finally the best part, we had to hold a person’s hand and introduce ourselves, but we couldn’t stop holding hands till we found another person to hold hands with. It was very funny, because sometimes you found yourself holding hands with two people at the same time, as your previous partner had not yet found a person to hold hands with. We ended up with some strange hand chains. I’m not sure whether I’ve been clear enough, you know you can always ask for more details in the comments section.

You are what you do!: This is a super simple activity but it always spreads a roar of laughter. The participants have to make a circle, and one of them introduces himself and makes a movement, or uses a strange tone of voice, or both at the same time. The rest of them, have to observe him closely and repeat everything he’s said and done. They have to mirror his introduction. I just love this activity, and students really become creative once they understand what they are supposed to do.

That’s all for now falks! Hope I have inspired you for your beginning of classes. If you want to find another idea, have a look at this post. As here in Argentina we are starting the second semester,  and therefore, I cannot try these activities in my classes, I’m looking forward to hearing about your experience. =)


Posted on August 18, 2011, in Resources for tesl/tefl and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Useful indeed as icebreakers!
    I had lots of fun myself yesterday and having found you there was really nice!

    Now we know who’s going to be the one in charge of taking down notes to have a record of the activities 😉

  2. Sole! It was just great to see YOU there and even better to realise that we see eye to eye on a great number of things. We are not alone!!! Let’s keep on learning together… =)

  3. Thanks for sharing these ideas! I like your reminder at the beginning too, to relax and make learning enjoyable. Hope you’re having a great school year!! We’re just about to start here in Istanbul. 🙂

    • Hi Kylie,
      Thank you for sharing the post in your blog. I’m glad you found it useful. Today, we are celebrating Children Day here in Argentina, so it’s a good opportunity to remember that we should never stop being children. Hope you have a wonderful school year and let me know if you use any of the activities mentioned here. Share your experience, it’s great learning together.

  4. I liked these activities and would definitely use them at the beginning of the year. I think if we can begin with laughter, it will make the hard times easier to handle! Thanks for sharing these!

    • Hi Pat! You’ve made my day. It is so nice hearing from you. Hope you are having a wonderful time in all those trips you are doing. From your blog retellings I can tell you are really enjoying life. I’m glad you’ve found the activities useful, just let me know how they worked in your classes. Yes, definitely laughter is the best cure… As the old saying points out, you can attract much more bees with honey, than with vinegar (or something like this)
      Kisses and hugs from Bs. As.

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