Snatch the pen! A warmer/filler for any level!

I´m sure you´ll agree that every lesson needs a warmer or filler just in case you have this odd moment that needs filling with something to keep your students on their toes or simply give the class a change of pace.

Every teacher has a set of activities that they really like and use interchangeably during the lessons. What if you suddenly stop feeling creative and run out of ideas? Unfortunately, getting stuck is fairly common… The good news is that your inspiration is just around the corner! How about asking your fellow teachers for help?

The following warmer/filler idea was inspired by Luke Tilley.

Thanks a million for sharing, Luke!

Aimed at: Young learners/young adults/adults

LEVEL(s): Could easily be adapted for all levels/you adjust the level of difficulty

LANGUAGE: Anything you have (recently) taught




  1. Split the class into two teams.
  2. Explain that you will be the quiz master (once your group gets the idea of the game, have students take turns to be the quiz masters!)
  3. Have one student from each team come to the front of the class and sit at the table (see picture above)
  4.  Ask them a question. You could choose to base it on:
  • General knowledge:

What´s the capital of…?

Who is Meghan Markel´s boyfriend?

How many colours are there in a rainbow?

What´s the longest river in the world? etc.

  • Vocab revision:

Name a part of the body with a letter ´K´.

What´s the opposite of ´shy´?

What is the noun for `develop`? What is the meaning of…?

Name a word that rhymes with… .

Give me a sentence with the word… .

What is the meaning of the word… . etc.

  • Grammar questions:

Name an irregular verb with the letter ´G´.

What´s the past of…?

Change the following sentence to reported speech: … .

What´s the plural of… ? etc.

There are endless possibilities!

5. The student who first snatches the pen from the table gets to answer the question. If he/she is correct he/she gets a point for the team. If no one gets it right, the quiz master scores one point.

Your students will definitely enjoy the physical action involved in this!

6. Repeat the procedure with the remaining team members. You can choose to have one or two rounds. It would all depend on your class size and the available time.

Could it be more flexible than this?

What are your favourite warmers and fillers? Please share your ideas in the comments box below.

Happy creating!

10 thoughts on “Snatch the pen! A warmer/filler for any level!

Add yours

  1. I tried this game for vocabulary revision. I asked my students to first write down a number of questions on strips of paper, I revised them quickly, and then we put them in a container. The quiz master (in the later rounds my students took over) drew the question from the container and read it out loud. This way it literally turned into a no-prep activity and the physical component added some speed and loads of laughter 🙂 Thanks for the idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the idea of this and I think it will work well with my small classes (6-10 students) as they won’t get bored waiting for a turn. Working with extremely limited resources (what, you want every child to have a pencil?!) games like this are invaluable. It can be difficult to keep coming up with ideas that don’t require AV material or endless sheets of paper. I’m intending to try this with some pronunciation – giving two pronunciations of a word and asking which one is correct. I hope it might give me another way to practise the dreaded ‘short i’ and sounds like ‘th’ and ‘ch’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment. For bigger groups, you could have them write the answers on mini-whiteboards/pieces of paper so they can participate, too! I absolutely love the idea of practising some of the difficult sounds, brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing!


  3. A very interesting idea. Yes, I guess other students will not be doing much if there are only two students active but I guess you could get students into two groups and the first to ten points are the winners.

    Sounds a lovely little idea. Nice way to review or brainstorm vocabulary. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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