4 Ideas for the First Lesson with Teens

4 Ideas for the First Lesson with Teens

Just in a couple of days, we are going to meet our new students. Even if we get our old groups back, we might be surprised to welcome some new students out of the blue. In this case, our first aim will be to get to know everyone and to let our teenagers learn some important facts about each other. Here, we introduce several ideas on how to make your first class hospitable, friendly and cosy for every new boy and girl.

Favourite Possessions

This activity will help students to find a common ground to later use for a basis for further relationships.

  • Welcome students to take out every favourite possession they have in their bag. If they don’t have them in the classroom, invite them to describe these things. 
  • Students work in pairs/small groups (not more than 4 people). They discuss their possessions and find what things they both like. It would be also interesting to find out what things they don’t like. This will add a little more secrecy between the students in a pair/group. 
  • After that, ask students to find other people with the same favourite possessions.

Picture matches

This activity can be used to instigate speaking about summer holidays, help to divide students into pairs and to find something in common.

  • Prepare a set of holiday destinations and a set of people/houses/dishes (to your taste). The number of pictures, on the whole, should correspond to the number of students in your new group. 
  • Put numbers on the set of destination cards and the same numbers on the other set of cards. So, one card with a holiday destination has a number “1” on the back and one card from the other set has the same number. In such a way, you will have two sets with the same numbers. 
  • Put the pictures face up on the board. 
  • Ask half of your students to come to the board and choose a destination picture they like. Let them stand aside.
  • Then ask the other half to come and choose the people/houses/dishes (whatever your second set is). 
  • As everyone now has a card, ask the students to find a partner with the same number. 
  • The new pairs sit together and discuss their pictures. They try to find something they both like in both pictures. If there is some extra time, they might also discuss something they don’t particularly like about the pictures. 
  • As they have finished, ask them to discuss their holiday destinations, people they met on holiday, the food they tried. Let them discuss if it was similar to the pictures or different. 

First Letters

This activity will help reveal some information about the new students and the teacher.

  • Put some letters on the board. These letters should be the first letters of some important facts about you. For example, I could possibly put something like: J, K, T, A, W on the board. 
  • Ask your students to think for a minute what these letters might mean for you. They can jot down their ideas or just keep them in mind. 
  • Ask students to work now in pairs and share their ideas on this. 
  • Let the students ask you some questions like: 
  • Is “J” the first letter of your name?
  • Is “K” your favourite city? 

But do not let it go for too long. 

  • After several attempts, tell everyone what these mean (in my case,
  • J – Jane – the way I like my students to call me
  • K – Koshmar – is the name of my cat
  • T – travelling – what I really like doing  
  • A – absent-minded – because I’ve already forgotten what I wanted to write here
  • W – writing – I write educational articles for teachers
  • Then, after a laugh or some additional questions, students proceed in their small groups of 4.


This activity will be a good laugh and a good start for new students and old ones. 

  • Prepare a lot of sheets of paper.
  • Give two sheets for each person in the group. 
  • Ask your students to write one question on each sheet.
  • Ask the class if anyone knows how to make a paper plane. If somebody says “yes”, ask them to the front to show how to make one. If nobody seems to know, here is the video:

    Give your students some time to make two planes out of their question sheets.

  • Countdown and as you say “GO”, everyone should send their planes to the board. 
  • Then, ask your students to stand up and come to the board. They pick two planes and come back to their seats.
  • Divide them into groups of three. In their groups, the students answer the questions they got. The other people in the group can ask additional questions.

We hope these activities will provide your class with fun and enjoyment, set a nice atmosphere from the very first lesson and make your students feel comfortable with each other.

Share your ideas on the first lesson activities. Do you have a favourite?

Евгения Тащилина

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