Transforming teaching and learning for the 21st Century

First day of class? 3-2-1 go…


Since I started this blog in May, until a few weeks ago,  I have been pretty good at sticking to my schedule and posting something every couple of weeks.  The past few weeks however I’ve been neglectful as it’s that time again…back to school time!  I’ve been rummaging in bags flung in a corner in June, not to be opened till “nearly back to school time” and taking out folders that were gathering dust while I’ve been getting high on summer, trying to remember just what that new education reform was all about, how many students had resits, and where on earth my pencil case was… In short, I’ve been trying to get my head around going back to school.

The other day I started to plan the first week of class and started looking through my folder called “first day activities.”  I came across one that I have used a few times since learning about it from Shelley Terrell on an EVO session3-2-1.

If you read my last post about using Powtoon to enhance teaching and learning, you might remember it.

It can be used as a getting to know you activity or, if you already know your students quite well and you’ve already told them your life story, you can use the activity as an icebreaker, by modifying the information you ask for.

My 3-2-1…

  1.  Show students the “titles” of the information you are going to tell them about you:

  • 3 things you should know about me
  • 2 things I love
  • 1 dream job
  1.  Tell students you are going to show them the information which they have to match to the “title” 


  • Maybe Lisa loves Madrid
  • I think her dream job is on an organic farm
  • Her hobby might be yoga

Depending on the level of your students you might need to revise/pre-teach language of deduction/speculation or avoid it altogether and just the use the present simple.

  1.  Students share their ideas with the class and then watch the video to check if they were right.

Your 3-2-1 doesn’t have to be a video, if you work in a setting with minimal resources, it can be written on the board.  If you do have access to technology but prefer to use other presentation tools, there are lots out there. Some which could work are, or a good old PowerPoint presentation.  You could also include real photos if you have them. Your students will love this!

  1.  The last stage usually leads to further questions and me telling my life story…

  1.  Now it’s your students’ turn.  

    This stage can be done in the same class using pen and paper or you could give students time to prepare their 3-2-1 using a presentation tool of their choice for next lesson.  It may depend on the number of students and the resources you have available in class.  The next stage, when students share their information could be done as described above or a pair/group or mingling activity.

It is unlikely that your students know everything about you and vice versa, however if they do, you can modify the “titles” to suit your class,  for example:

  • 3 things you enjoyed doing this summer
  • 2 things you didn’t enjoy doing this summer
  • 1 thing you did this summer that you have never done before

So, that’s my first class planned, I just need to remember how to get there now…

10 non-standard ideas about going back to school is an interesting article I read on by Nancy Flanagan.  You’ll find some top tips here,  take note before the fun begins…


Author: lisajwood

I am an English language coach and Neurolanguage Coach® I current teach adolescents and adults. My areas of interest include brain-friendly learning, flipped learning, student-centred learning and promoting lifelong learning skills. I am also a keen advocate of using new technologies to facilitate the learning process.

3 thoughts on “First day of class? 3-2-1 go…

  1. First day of class is always slightly nerve-wrecking, regardless of how long you`’ve been teaching so this is great!


    • Yes I agree, 20 years teaching hasn’t made much difference to first day nerves! It doesn’t help that the Spanish summer holidays are so long…


  2. Pingback: Storytelling in the language classroom | ACEnglishteacher

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s