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Engaging & Interesting Middle School ELA Warm Up Ideas

Use these middle school ELA warm up ideas to help students get into the school zone when they enter your classroom.

Middle school ELA warm up routines are very important for ELA classroom management.

The best way to start your day is with a middle school ELA daily warm ups routine. What do you want your students to do when they walk into your classroom?

Walk into the hallway of any middle school, and you will see the definition of chaos –  students rushing, lockers opening and closing, and too many people in one space.  Warms up are the best way to get students to focus and get into the school zone after they have just been in such a chaotic environment. 

 Middle School ELA Warm Up Benefits

  • Middle school ELA warm ups engage students’ brains.  
  • Middle school ELA warm ups get students working immediately – often without your direction.  
  • Middle school ELA warm ups focus energy and effort toward what you want it to focus on instead of spillover from the hallway.  
  • Middle school ELA warm ups can also give you a snapshot of where your students are academically – a quick peek at progress on newly acquired skills or a look at the knowledge base of individual students.  

With such positive benefits to using warm-ups in your classroom, let’s talk about a few middle school ELA warm ups you can easily incorporate into your routines.

Middle School ELA Warm Up Ideas

Entrance Tickets

One of the simplest warm-up techniques is the use of the entrance ticket. This generally takes the form of a couple of quick questions posted at the front of the room or on slips of paper students pick up upon entering.  These questions can be on any topic appropriate for the day’s lesson. 

  • Sometimes these questions are a review of the previous day’s lessons. This gets students thinking on the track where you left off the day before and can be used as an assessment tool to see what students have retained and where you might need to review or reteach.
  • Sometimes these questions are designed to assess what knowledge or skills your students are coming to you with. This helps you know what background you need to provide to your students before you teach something new.
  • Sometimes these questions are designed to get your students thinking about a new idea or topic.  This way, students are primed for a new lesson, topic, or way of thinking as you begin something they haven’t done before.


Another great middle school ELA warm up technique that has the added benefit of utilizing technology (always a great draw for students) is podcasts. To utilize this warm-up technique, first, find a serialized podcast where each podcast is only a few minutes long.  When students come in, they access the podcast link, listen, and respond in whatever format you have directed.  

Using podcasts this way not only develops focus and gets students thinking about a chosen topic but also helps familiarize students with another form of media – as podcasts are becoming increasingly common in our society. 

Here are some great podcast suggestions:

  1. KidNuz – This 5-minute daily news podcast is geared towards kids and produces 5 new episodes per week. 
  2. Six Minutes – This 205-episode podcast incorporates adventure and mystery as students try to figure out what really happened to Holiday after she was rescued from the ocean. I have created this Six Minutes Unit to align with the podcast that contains 3 comprehension questions per episode and a journal entry prompt as well as final summative task options. Find the Six Minutes Podcast Unit Bundle on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.  
  3. Cost of Living – This Canadian economics podcast has lots of great short segments which would be of interest to middle school students, like this one about the TikTok Creator Fund (Find the TikTok Creator Fund Podcast Listening Comprehension Lesson on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.). Click the full episode you are interested in and read the linked segments. Each full-length episode is too long for a middle school ELA warm up activity. Check out my Podcast Listening Comprehension Bundles, which include 12 different podcast segments and activities for each. Find the Podcast Listening Comprehension Lesson Bundle #1 on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD and the Podcast Listening Comprehension Lesson Bundle #2 on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD


A third great middle school ELA warm up technique is journaling. Journaling is a great way to get students to practice writing – getting a pencil on paper can be a real challenge for some students! It also lends itself very well to customize for the day’s needs, as questions can be seasonal, unit-focused, serious, or fun.  

Lastly, journaling can be a great way to make connections with your students – giving them a chance to share about themselves and you a chance to get to know a different side of them. Here are some ideas on how to get started with journaling in your classroom – 7 Tips For Implementing Journal Writing In Your English Language Arts Classroom

Middle School Reading Journal

I love having students write in their reading journals once a week. It helps students be accountable for their independent reading. Find the Reading Journal Assignment on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD

Whatever technique you put into practice, using warm-ups gives students a task as soon as they enter your room.  This promotes focus, classroom organization, and discipline, and it gives you a chance to see where students stand in regard to skills and knowledge.  

Use one of the middle school ELA warm up methods listed above or one of the many others out there (or a combination of them) to make your classroom more productive!

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