Ask students to randomly pick a card from a box/ a sack and take a look at the picture. Once they find their partner, they should introduce themselves briefly, and talk about their pictures answering the questions you have asked before. Give your students 5 minutes to talk in pairs and then ask numbers 1 and 2 to get together (you should get a group of 4). Now, let students introduce their partners to new students: MATCHING PICTURES HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS MATCHING PICTURES HOUSES I learned this game during my TEFL course and instantly regretted not knowing it earlier. In my case here is what each cloud stands for: BLUE = my favourite colour WRITER = I wanted to be a writer in the future when I was a kid BLOG = I have a blog (in the past it used to stand for “I’d like to start a blog”) BIKE = I love riding a bike PEAS = I hate peas BRAZIL = I’d love to travel there one day Let students ask 3 questions about each cloud, if they can’t guess, move on to the next one.
What might seem like a monologue, usually naturally transforms into a conversation: students agree or disagree, ask about more details (Person A: I’d like to travel there because it seems peaceful and I’m very stressed at work. It is great in its simplicity, requires no preparation as such, allows students to learn something about each other and the teacher, and offers a lot or speaking practice. Once they have finished, ask them to tell you something they remember about you at this point.
This game allows students to learn some facts about each other without making anybody feel uncomfortable. Ask them to try to remember as much about their partner as possible. It is my students’ job to discover which one is not true.
I have also noticed how this game makes people more eager to share fun facts about themselves, and not just the basics (family, job, pets). It should look something like this: Put your name in the middle. After they had finished, elicit at least one piece of information about each student. They should ask me questions trying to catch me lying.
I have seen this game in action many times and it is incredible how quickly students strike up conversations when they have a visual prop to give them something to work with.
It works best with bigger groups, levels intermediate and above.
The teacher might also play although it is better to stay on the outside, moderate the game, and step in, in case there is a student left without a partner.
Procedure: Arrange students in two circles, an inside and outside, the inside facing out. Pairs talk about their answers to questions which you a) put on the board and erase after each has been discussed b) are printed on handouts for each student. Once the time is up, you ask the students from the outside circle to move to their right, meet their new talking partner and answer the next question from the list. The most important thing is to make the questions open-ended to give your students something to work with.
The game below has been prepared with intermediate students in mind. You might make questions together with your students or at least demonstrate how to make them using first two examples: Find someone who was born in June = Were you born in June? They might play in the same pairs/groups, but a better idea is for them to change partners to get to know some other classmates.Now, it is time for your students to ask you questions in order to find out what each of the clouds means to you. As every mingling activity, it is best for bigger groups (6 students). At the end of the activity, ask students to provide information about each other: So, who was born in June? I usually try to maintain my poker face and give reasonable answers.I always play this game together with my students but at the same time I try to keep an ear out for grammar; once again question word order is crucial here. After the quizzing, I give my students a minute to decide among themselves which sentence they think was a lie, and the winner gets some candy (yes, my adult students are absolutely over the moon with some candy on the first day, teenagers slightly harder to please when it comes to the choice of treats…) FYI, #1 is A LIE, I sadly don’t know how to swim.YES/NO questions will kill the game after a minute.Here are some examples I came up with for my intermediate group of 8: Alternatively, at the beginning of the class, you could ask your students to write one question they would like to ask a stranger use those instead of your own ideas.In each of the smaller clouds (the best number is 4-6) write a word that somehow describes you: your favourite food, colour, the place where you are from etc. This game is an absolute ESL classic and I find it particularly useful as an icebreaker. FIND SOMEONE WHO All this icebreaker requires is some imagination, a pen, and some paper. I usually make it a competition, with pairs or groups of students writing down 2 questions for each sentence and grilling me.Don’t make it too easy for the students to figure out what each word stand for. It creates a reason for students to ask their classmates questions they probably would not have under different circumstances, it helps them learn each other’s names and maximizes student talking time. It is then up to them to decide in which case I was lying.Procedure: I have two sets of pictures I usually work with: different holiday destinations and different houses.Each set contains 12 different pictures, each picture has a number from 1 to 6 on the back (you need to glue pictures and number and cut them up before class).It allows students to talk about their preferences and get to know each other’s tastes and opinions what leads to exchanging views and finding out more about each other.It is also great in terms of student talking time and making students more comfortable speaking in front of their peers.