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

Posts tagged ‘getting to know you’

Hobby circles

I came up with this activity for our getting to know you session during induction week at IH Bydgoszcz this year, so I’ve only used it with teachers, not students. I’d be interested to know how it works with real classes! I was inspired to create it by seeing the list of hobbies on our new teachers’ CVs, and I realised that it can take a while to discover which free time activities we have in common. I hope this can prove something of a shortcut. Thanks to Lizzie Pinard for helping me to figure out how to run the activity.

  1. Students draw three circles on a piece of paper.
    Three circles
  2. In each circle, they write one of their hobbies.
    Three hobbies in circles
  3. The teacher introduces and drills functional language appropriate to the level.
    For example, at lower levels you might introduce:
    “I love _____. Do you?”
    “Me too.” / “Not really. I prefer ______”
    Or at higher levels:
    “Would you be interested in _________?”
    “I’d love to.” / “I’m not really into that. I’d rather _______”
  4. Demonstrate the activity with teacher-student, then student-student in open class.
    The teacher says “I love hiking. Do you?”
    If the student says, “Me too”, the teacher writes their name in the circle and asks another question to find out more, noting that information too. For example “Where do you go hiking?”
    Student name in circle if me too
    If the student says, “Not really. I prefer going to the cinema.”, the teacher writes their name and the hobby outside the circles, and again asks one more question to find out more.
    Student name outside if not really
  5. Students mingle and speak to as many people as possible to find out about their hobbies.
  6. Students sit with a partner and share what they learnt. They could also say if there are any hobbies they’d like to try or find out more about. Again, functional language could be introduced here to help students discuss their answers more easily, especially at lower levels: “I love hiking, and so do Maria and Ahmed.” “Stefan likes reading science fiction and he said Terry Pratchett is really good, so maybe I’ll read one of his books.”
  7. Possible open class feedback options would be: “Put your hand up if you found somebody with the same hobby as you.” and/or “Who has the most interesting hobby?”

Update

Tekhnologic took this idea and ran with it, creating video diagrams showing how to set it up and introducing a Venn version which I think is an improvement on the original!

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!

Getting to know you with key words

I came up with an easy to prepare getting to know you activity today, which took about 30 minutes with 12 upper intermediate students.

Divide A4 pieces of paper into quarters – as many as you need for one quarter per student.

Students fold their piece of paper in half.

They draw a picture of themselves on one half, then write key words related to their lives on the other half – as many or as few as they choose.

The final step is a mingle where they show their pictures and key words to other students in the class, and use these as prompts for conversation.

I put the names of all of the students on the board to help them too.

This was my paper:

ImageWhen I first tried to end the activity the students all said ‘No, I’ve still got to speak to…’.

Enjoy!

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