Taken from someone (sorry I don't have your name!) who posted this earlier:
'A bagful of (9) ice-breakers'
Here is a selection of ten ice-breakers (5-12 mins) that I have used at upper levels (Upper.Int. and above) - most however, could also be adapted for lower levels.
1. SPELLING MATCH - to revise recently presented 'difficult' words (8-14 words).
Here you choose a number of words you wish to test and divide the class into two teams (A and B). First, read out word one to team A and between them, they have to spell it verbally (slowly). If they spell the whole word without having to correct themselves, they score one point but if at any point they call out an incorrect letter (in sequence) then the 'part-word' is handed over to team B to complete (and back again if they make an error). This proceeds until one team finishes off the word. You keep on going in the game (i.e. word 1 - team A, word 2 - team B etc.) until all the words have been presented. Then simply tot up the points to see which team has won (if there hasn't been a draw that is). This is a fun, competitive way of revising vocab and practising spelling.
2. TEACHING/PRACTISING IDIOMS BY DEMONSTRATION (IDIODEM). Here the teacher can choose 6-10 idioms (new or recently presented) and simply demonstrate them with realia. It's up to you to choose idioms that lend themselves to this, e.g. to cut corners, (no) strings attached, hit the nail on the head etc. You could also present idioms pictorially. And finally, you could get the students themselves to present idioms in such ways.
3. 'IMAGINE YOU ARE A/AN...' (animate or inanimate things, e.g. a leaf, a snail, a stamp, a balloon etc.). This is a fun speaking activity where each student in the gp. chooses a card (with an animate/inanimate object typed or written on it) blindly- you could number the cards and they choose a number. Then they simply in turn, talk about their 'life' as the thing in question whilst others have to guess (for one point) what the object is. At the end you just add up the points to find the winner. As a follow-up activity in class, you could have a short discussion (say at the end of the lesson) with each student 'playing their given role'. A homework option could be to get students to write a composition on one of the things, e.g. 'My life as a snail'.
4. BLANKED NEWSPAPER HEADLINES - Just find 20-30 newspaper headlines with a 'guessable' word blanked. Have 2-4 teams, who must write their guesses independently on a piece of card/paper and then hold it up. Allocate say 3 points for the exact word in the original word and 1 or 2 points for reasonable alternatives. The team with the most points will be declared the winner. This activity is based on the former British TV show 'Blankety Blank'. My SS have had great fun with this.
5. MISSING PARTICLES (Phrasal verbs practice) - similar to activity 5 above but you only use phrasal verbs and blank out the particle (in most cases this will be a preposition).
6.ANAGRAMS - again, a fun activity. I find it good to write the letters on individual 'squares' of card, which can be colour/number-coded. This enables the letters to be easily manipulated. Put the SS into pairs and allocate one point for the pair which comes up with the answer first. A good idea is to start with say a 5-letter anagram (e.g. break-brake) and gradually present anagrams with progressively more letters. Determine the winning pair on points accumulated. Great fun!
7. Odd man/one out - this is an old, tried and tested classic. You can use 3 or 4 variants for each one, though I tend to find that, particularly where you have more teams, the latter is preferable. As I often teach Advanced or Proficiency levels, I tend to concentrate on more cryptic examples, e.g. a) key b) rubber c) comb d) jaw - b is the odd one out of course because it's the only one without teeth. Of course if a student chooses another odd one out and can back this up with a good argument/reason, then that is perfectly acceptable. Depending on time you could choose 12-20 of these for SS to have a good old crack at. You might also like students to write their own sets as a homework activity, to be tried in subsequent lessons by their classmates.
8. 20-25 -BOX -'WHAT'S THE WORD/PHRASE?' - Draw a grid of 20-25 boxes (to fit A4) and number them (1-20/25) and choose a word/phrase that you want to revise (say words/phrases recently presented in class) for each box and then make each box into a question/statement or puzzle testing this word/phrase - You could have for example, 'give the antonym of...', a word or phrase with some of the letters blanked, a 'jumbled word' (not to be confused with an anagram - that's of course if you're a purist like me!), 'chopped word' (a word chopped into at least three parts set at different angles - for fun, I draw a little axe in such boxes). These are just some of the ways to create boxes for each word, whatever you do, choose a variety and put those of 'same type' in different parts of the grid for unpredictability. Once you've prepared your grid, simply give a copy to each student/pair in the group and then call out box numbers at random. Whoever calls out the correct answer for each first, gets a point. You proceed until all the boxes have been 'used up'. It's important not to stop and go over any boxes during the game (you can do this at the end - make this clear to students at the outset). It's important to keep the ball rolling smoothly and quickly. At the end of the game, tot up the points to determine the overall winner. Then you can go over any boxes that any SS didn't get. The speed, variety of questions/statements/puzzle types, unpredictability (of box number order) all contribute to make this game/activity 'competitive fun'.
9. FAKE WORDS - (noun formation - suffix practice). Particularly good for SS at Advanced level and above. Choose say 8-10 nouns, each having a different suffix. Then split each word so that it is separated from its suffix (this may result in some cases in a false word). Then just allocate
each suffix to a different word/word part, so that all the words are mixed up - This should result in a set of 'Fake words', which SS will then have to 'unjumble' by placing the correct suffix on each of the words/word parts. My example for an Advanced group is as follows; hostilness deterioratance stubbornence enlightenal perseverity insistment seizion disapprovure The actual words are of course, hostility, deterioration, stubbornness, enlightenment, perseverance, insistence, disapproval. My example was written to be 'intentionally tricky' because amongst
other things because it tests SS ability to distinguish between an 'ence' noun and 'ance' noun and the fake word 'perseverity' might confuse students a bit if they know that 'severity' is a word. In this activity, the SS (preferably) should find the eight suffixes first (so they must split each fake word at th correct point) and then they can go about 'reassembling' the real nouns. Depending on the strength of the SS in the group, you could get through this activity in 5-7 minutes or so. The SS I have done this activity with have found it both fun and interesting.