Back to School : Getting to know your students.

So this is it! Back to school.. 🙂 I am pretty excited about it, let's be honest, educators have such a big break 😀 and I do miss teaching. So these are my top ideas/activities on getting back to school, mainly related to new groups, adults and teens.

1. Find someone who (A2 and above/Adults): love this, just because I get them to stand up, mingle, move around and get to know each other.

  • Hand out the sheets (attached below) and demonstrate the first example by asking  the question to a student. Ask students to fill up the information at the same time.

Teacher – Have you got a pet?
Student -Yes
Teacher -Is it a cat or a dog?
Student – Dog
Teacher – What's his/her name?
Student – Klio.

  • Ask students to think for a minute on how to formulate the questions and then elicit. 
  • Then, get them to stand up, mingle around the classroom to write as many names as possible. Also remind them to ask more question to fill up the 'more information' section.
  •  Elicit feedback with students telling you about their findings. Example: Yiannis speaks more than three languages. Persian, Greek, English and Spanish and his favorite language is Persian.
  • Adapt this game by making your own questions depending on the level and age group.


2. True or False.

  • Write five statements about you on the whiteboard and tell students that 4 statements are True while one is False. 
  • Students make their guesses in an open class discussion. 
  • Get students to do the same by writing 4 true statements about themselves and one False. Then, get them to work in two's or three's and play the game.

3. About me (A2 above/works well with teenagers)

  • Write a set of questions on a handout or the whiteboard related to hobbies, interests, music, sports, holidays e.t.c.
  • Give out some empty pieces of papers and ask students to answer each question on a different paper and then folder it. 
  • Collect the paper, add it in a box or a jar and get students to pick and guess who's paper might be. If right then he/she gets a point.
  • Encourage students to ask a question to find more information and get an extra point. 


A different way of practicing asking personal and getting to know your students is 'The Best Friend's Challenge'. This game however, can only be successful if your students already know each other really well. Here how it goes:

How to play: write the following questions in different cards and cut them down. Place them in a box. Student A draws a questions and tries to guess how Student B would have answered the question. Student A and B write the answer down and show their answers with the count of 3. If the answers match they get a point. 

1.   What’s my favourite colour?
2.   What are the place I would like to visit?
3.   What’s my favourite food?
4.   What’s the food I hate the most?
5.   How many minutes do I take to get dressed?
6.   What are the things I carry with me all the time?
7.   What my favourite subject at school?
8.   What my worst subject at school?
9.   What annoys me the most?
10. What’s my favourite sport?
11. What’s the craziest thing I have done?
12. What do I usually have for breakfast?
13. What my favourite song at the moment?
14. Where am I going on holiday this Christmas/Easter?
15. What’s my favourite TV show?
16. What do I do in my free time?
17. What’s my favourite kind of sweet?
18. Which is my favourite type of film? Horror, Comedy, Action etc..
19. If I could meet anyone, who would it be?
20. What would I do if I won the lottery?
21. What's my favourite kind of sandwich?
22. What's my favourite hobby?
23. How do I spend my free time? 
After finishing the game we worked on fluency. So I asked my students to answer the questions, expand their answers and I recorded them.  In that way, I had the chance to listen to the audio again and correct some basic mistakes.  To avoid making them feel embarrassed I gave them the corrections in handouts and we practised again. This activity is great for students preparing for exams. 
   You can also get your students to come up with more questions and play the game again 🙂

4. Jinx Challenge. (For all levels and ages.)
This can be played after getting to know your students to add a bit of fun. I've attached the YouTube video here that I get the inspiration from. Enjoy it!



Meet the New Me: Creating an English Identity.

Summer camp:  This year, I am teaching in Spain and I find  that children here avoid to use English in class, this activity aims to encourage learners use English, and keep using English till the end of the camp. We are going to create a new 'English identity' for the English classes. Once students enter the classroom , and the 'English Zone', they have a new name, and English is the 'only language spoken'. Let's see how that goes 😀

Language focus: present simple, have got; personal information questions
Key vocabulary: favorite possessions; personal information 
Skills focus: speaking; asking for and giving personal information
Level: elementary
Time: 30 minutes
Preparation: one photocopy for each pair, cut into 4 separate cards; each student will need 2 cards

You can download the identity cards here 

1. Write the phrase favorite possession on the board and explain it using a personal example such as
'My favorite possession is my laptop'. Then ask few students what their favorite possession is.

2. Invite a student to the front and interview him/her using the prompts from the identity card on the worksheet, starting with 'What's you name?' Then ask students to ask you similar information questions. (Avoid inviting a shy student to the front)

3. Now present this to the class, and explain that this the a new me.

  Ask them now to question you, and answering if you were that person. Help them with the question formation (if they are really weak you can write them on the whiteboard). Tell students that from now on your name is 'Miss Taylor'. 

Main activity:

1. Hand out the identity card to each student. Tell them that they have to write on card to create a new identity for themselves. Explain that this person will be the new me for this camp. They cannot put any information on the card that is true about themselves now. Their new identity could be someone famous, someone else from a English speaking country, or an imaginary person. If they wish, they can draw a picture of themselves in the 'photo' area. Make students  work individually.

2. Elicit the questions necessary for students to gain personal information from their classmate, using the prompts cards. Questions that can be used here:
What's your name? how old are you?  What do you do?
Where are you from? Where do you live? What do you like?
Have you got any brothers or sisters? Have you got any pets?
What's your favourite possession? 

3. Ask students to interview each other in pairs. Stress that they cannot write down their partner's answers on their card, but should try to remember as much as information as possible .

4. Now give students a new blank card and ask them to change pairs. Explain that they have to interview their new partner about his/her original partner and write the answers on the new card. They will need to use questions like What's his name?,How old is she? If necessary revise the third person form of the question. 

5. Tell students to exchange cardsso that they each have a completed card with information about their original partner on it. Then they return to their original partner. They each compare the card written about them with the original card that they wrote themselves. Ask them how much information was communicated correctly. 

 Finally, tell students that once they enter this classroom , they are in 'English Zone' and their name will be the ones on the card. Explain them that 'the new me' speaks only English. 

Inspired by Cambridge 'Pairwork and Groupwork, multi-level photocopiable activities for teenagers'