One of the main speaking exercise I constantly perform with my students, right at the beginning of the class, is the 'Round of Questions'.
Once they are sitting in a semicircle you can start to ask the student sitting beside you the first question.
- How are you?
- What's your name?
- How old are you?
- Where do you live?
- What's your favorite color/ animal / food?
These inquiries and their respective answers are the goals you can achieve with pre-school children.
You can add more complex questions for higher-level students.
The child, sitting beside you, must answer and then ask the same question to to the one sitting next to him and so on until the question will reach you again.
It should be a fast-pace game to avoid general boredom.
At the beginning it will be naturally slow because the kids will have to learn the right words to use and you'll notice their certain tendency to divert their attention toward anything but the performance. Don't give up and be firm.
To make it more engaging I also use a little soft ball. I throw it to the chosen 'victim', who after answering will redirect it to anyone he chooses asking, of course, the same question and so on.
The problem with this solution is that you will have, and I am almost 100% sure of it, someone of them trying to throw the ball as high or far as possible instead of his/ her classmate…
When that happens, definitely write his/her name under the sad face on the board!!! ;o)
Recently, i successfully introduced a box into which they have to throw the ball or a puppet or something soft you keep on hand, exactly like basketball.
It helps to avoid balls flying everywhere inside the classroom with the consequent mess.
All of your pupils, with no exception of age, attitude and ability will participate with sincere thrill and joy!!!
Do you know any best way to start an English class?!?