A few weeks back I had to cover a lesson with a small group of young learners (6-7 boys and girls aged 10-11). It was the group’s first lesson, and while some students knew each other from the previous year, there were also some new students so I decided to devote about half the lesson to getting to know each other.
Here is the sequence of activities that I used, which I think worked really well:
1. Interview the teacher
I decided to start with this in order not to put students on the spot right from the beginning, and also to help them relax and feel ease. All children had to think of a question to ask me, and then had to interview me (using a pretend microphone).
2. Snowball fight
This is the first proper getting-to-know-each-other activity I used. I found it on Teflgeek. It’s as simple as it is effective, and my students enjoyed it so much (and again, it helped a lot to break the ice and make them feel comfortable).
Learners write five things about themselves on a piece of paper. Then they crumple the paper up into a ‘snowball’ and have a one-minute snowball fight. At the end of the minute, everyone grabs the closest snowball and has to try to find the person who wrote it. They could then introduce that person to the rest of the group, sharing the facts/ask more q’s and write about the person etc…..
3. Blindfold questions
I used this as a reinforcement of the previous activity, to challenge students to see how much they could remember about their classmates.
Students stand in a circle. One student (I did it first to demonstrate), blindfolded stands in the middle of the circle. Tell the children standing in a circle they should star turning around the person in the middle when T claps hands once, and they should stop where they are when T claps hands twice.
When students in the circle stop, the student in the middle points at the person in front of him/her and asks a question (e.g. “How old are you?”, “What’s your favorite food?, etc.). After the reply the blindfolded S must guess the name of the student s/he is talking to. If they guess correctly, the student who answered the question goes in the middle blindfolded.