Pen Grab


Copyright © 2013 Emma Gore-Lloyd

This is a great warmer I’ve used many times with different ages and levels.  I got it from a talk at an IH conference in Cordoba a couple of years ago, but I’m afraid I’ve forgotten the name of the guy who gave it to us.  He had a white beard.

It’s essentially a timed question and answer activity done standing up in pairs – or threes if necessary – with the added element of pen.  Student A must hold a pen on their flat hand.  They may not put their thumb over the pen to hold it there or close their hand.  They may move their arm.  The reason they might want to do this is because Student B will try to grab the pen.  Student B will try to distract Student A by asking them questions in English. When Student A is thinking and responding, that’s Student B’s opportunity to grab the pen.  If Student B is successful, they become the answerer, and Student A the questioner.  I usually proclaim the ones holding the pen at the end of the time as the winners.

I like this one because it always gets students laughing, raises energy and brings out those competitive streaks.  [It’s often a good opportunity to teach “That doesn’t count!” or “That’s not fair!”]

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