Say something nice


This warmer is appropriate for a class that already knows each other quite well. In essence, the students to greet each other, and pay each other a compliment. Getting so many compliments in such a short space of time feels good, even when the compliments are contrived. It also feels a bit silly, which allows the students to laugh and relax together – perfect for communicating in their L2. The activity comes from a great book I recently acquired by Jill Hadfield, called Classroom Dynamics (where it’s called Crazy Compliments.)

Materials required: students and post-it notes (the same number as there are students).

  • Write on each post-it note an instruction to give a compliment, eg. “say something nice about my eyes,” “say something nice about my smile,” “say something nice about my pronunciation,” etc.
  • Stick one on the back of every student and explain that they are going to mingle and greet each other and slip in a compliment according to the instruction on the back of the person they are talking to. 
  • Tell them that after a time, you will say stop and they will guess what is written on their note.
  • And off they go! I played some music while they were mingling to add to the lighthearted nature of the task.

I used this activity twice yesterday with my two FCE classes. The lesson was about Valentine’s day presents and involved speaking and writing. The class of teenagers were all smiles and went on to produce some great articles in pairs, while the adults were the giggliest and most collaborative I’ve ever seen them. Recommended!

NB. Be sensitive when writing and dishing out compliments. Some people might not like having attention brought to their smile if they’ve got braces, for example.

Any typos are due to me writing this on a tablet while my laptop’s being repaired!


  1. Reblogged this on Tim's Free English Lesson Plans and commented:
    A great idea for a warmer.

  2. Jemma Jones · · Reply

    Reblogged this on My TEFL Adventures and commented:
    Fab idea…adding it to my Lesson Plans stash!

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