An energizer is a short and fast-paced activity which is usually set during a class to break up the pace and revive student energy and motivation. Energizers usually involve some form of physical activity which stimulates blood flow, increased heart rate and intake of oxygen and therefore increased mental energy. However, some energizers do not involve physical movement but will, nevertheless, change the pace of a lesson thereby promoting a new wave of energy and motivation during and after the energizer.
An example of a non-physical energizer is as follows:
- Students are formed into pairs or small groups.
- Different groups are allocated opposite grammatical structures/lexical items to use such as "always" and "never", "do" and "don't", "you should" & "you shouldn't" etc.
- The teacher then sets a context such as "at a party", "during a job interview" or "at a wedding".
- The teacher then goes from group to group counting 5 seconds with the fingers of his/her hand, during which time one member of the group must use their lexical item or grammatical structure to complete a short sentence in the given context e.g. "Never arrive late (for a party)", "Don't shout (during an interview)" or "You should get drunk (at a wedding)".
Variation 1 Alternatively, vocabulary sets can be used such as "vegetables" or "clothes", or for more entertainment value unusual sets work to uplift a low mood in the classroom e.g. "things you can/can't wear on your head", "things you would/wouldn't want to fall onto the roof of your house", etc.
Variation 2 As additional motivation and for young learners, the teacher may allocate each group with three lives, marking these on the board. If no members of a team can meet the task in the 5 seconds or if they repeat a previously mentioned idea, they lose a life.
An example of a physical energizer is as follows:
- Words or phrases are written onto the board randomly or in shapes.
- (Generally two) teams are formed and stand in single-file, parallel lines facing the board.
- The teams names are written up on the board.
- The team members standing closest to the board are given rolled-up newspapers, flyswatters or board markers.
- The teacher reads out a synonym or definition of a word on the board; the student who selects the correct word first (by whacking, swatting or circling) wins a point. He or she then hands the newspaper/swatter/marker to the student behind them and goes to the back of the queue.
- The game continues until a predetermined amount of points has been reached.
- With younger learners (and in a large classroom), the queue can be moved back a few paces so that they have to dash to the board.
Variation 1 Phonetics can be practised by writing the phonetic symbols for minimal pairs in two columns. The teacher then reads out words which contain one of the phonemes.
Variation 2 Grammatical structures can be practised too e.g. two columns on the board contain "present perfect" and "past simple", while the teacher reads out compatible time phrases such as "yesterday", "today", "this week", "last year" etc.