Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher, trainer, writer and manager

A map of me

With continuous enrolment, we get new students joining our classes every Monday morning, if they change from another class, on a Monday afternoon, when they’re new to the school, and sometimes on a Tuesday morning too, if they only have morning classes! This means that we’re constantly trying to make sure our students get on well together, and I’m always trying to find new getting to know you activities that still motivate and interest the students who’ve been in the class for weeks.

This is what I used a couple of weeks ago:

Mind map


  • Ask students in pairs/small groups to decide what the connections are between the items on your own mind map.
  • Each pair/group writes three questions to find out more about the connections.
  • They then create their own mind maps – give them about 10 minutes, as it takes a while to get a good mind map.
  • Finally, they mingle and ask and answer questions about each other’s mind maps.

My students spent about 90 minutes on the whole process. I copied their mind maps and learnt a lot about my students in the process, something which isn’t always easy in a most of the getting to know you exercises I use. I even found out which of my students were great artists!

Comments on: "A map of me" (13)

  1. Hi Sandy,
    I don’t quite understand the first phase. You show the class your mind map then what exactly does the class do? Do they have to comment on your mind map e.g. “Sandy likes languages and music. She enjoys travelling and has been to …”?


    • Hi Clare,
      Thanks for making me make it clearer 🙂 In the first stage, I handed out one copy of the mind map to each pair. The students discuss with their partner what they think the connections are – for example, why I’ve got Borneo and jungle on there, and why those words are linked to teacher, with sentences like the one you’ve put in the comment.


  2. Wow, I have to say, I love such activities (“such” stands here for easily adaptable, unusual and letting you expect different results). You are a genius)


  3. Reblogged this on TeachingEnglishNotes and commented:
    a great getting to know you activity)


  4. […] A map of me ( […]


  5. Used it yesterday, was great! Could easily have let them spend much longer doing the mingle bit but had to limit it so that other stuff could also be done. Definitely going to use it again (and variations on it – I have some ideas, which I will blog about at some point – and if i do I will refer to this post for sure) in future classes. 🙂


  6. […] Millin’s recent (ish!) post, “A map of me”, offers a simple yet effective way of breaking the ice in a novel way – important […]


  7. […] With continuous enrolment, we get new students joining our classes every Monday morning, if they change from another class, on a Monday afternoon, when they're new to the school, and sometimes on a…  […]


  8. […] A Map of Me Sandy Millin’s ice-breaker activity is a sure way of helping your learners to get to know each other better and discover what they have in common. Whether you are working with continuous enrolment, as she is, or starting a new school year,  this one could well be worth using! […]


  9. […] component of “getting to know you” -related activity. (My own current favourite is “A Map of Me”, which Sandy Millin came up with!) Of course, as a learner, when you meet a big group of people (in […]


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