Warm-up and cool-down exercises

Course type: Linguistics. Course: Student teacher sessions in Understanding Linguistics. Study level: BA. Size of class: 10-25. 

Motivation for the activity

Short exercises can create a red thread in the teaching and motivate the students, encouraging them to ask questions and talk about the things they have learned. This activity describes exercises that can be used at the start and end of lessons. 

Description of the activity

Warm-up exercises

I use these exercises to start a lesson by getting the students to focus on the material, putting them in the right frame of mind. The exercises only take 5-7 minutes.

Exercise 1

Ask the students to write down five questions about the text of the day. Answer the questions in class so any uncertainty can be eliminated straightaway. You can also wait and use the last couple of minutes of the lesson to answer any questions which were not answered during the lesson.

Exercise 2

Ask the students to discuss their answers/preparation for the class with the person sitting next to them, including discussing any difficulties they encountered when performing this task. This gives them the confidence to answer questions in class and reveals whether anything is unclear immediately. Conclude the exercise by asking whether this discussion resulted in any questions.

Exercise 3

Ask open-ended questions about the topic or text of the day. Ask the students to start with three minutes of individual writing followed by five minutes of discussion in pairs. Finally, a few points can be presented in class.

Cool-down exercises

These exercises can be used to conclude a lesson, for example by summing up the main points of the day, asking questions or asking the students to reflect on what they have learned.

Exercise 1

Give the students a couple of minutes to answer the following questions:

  • What have I learned today?
  • What is still unclear to me?

Then summarise briefly in class, writing the main points of the day on the blackboard and answering or resolving any uncertainties. This can also be done in the next lesson as a warm-up exercise (this will remind the students of the context and what they learned in the previous lesson). 

Exercise 2

Give the students a few minutes to write down the three main points of the day.

Exercise 3

Ask the students to write down three questions about the material for today’s lesson. Then the students swap questions with the person sitting next to them, who answers them in writing. 


Vibe Louise Kromann, student and instructor at Linguistics.