This is the first one-hour conversation activity. For an introduction to the series, click here. Enjoy.
Name: Get to Know You and You and You and You and You and You too!
Prep Time: None.
Primary Objective: After the lesson, students will be comfortable answering and asking common questions used when meeting a new person.
Other Benefits: This is an excellent lesson for a teacher with a new group of students as it lets you listen to your students talk for a while. You can get a real sense of the level of your class on the first day. For the students, they really do get to know many of their classmates without much effort.
Pre-Speaking (15 minutes)
On the board, write “Get To Know You Questions”. Ask the students: “Can anyone tell me what a “Get To Know You Question” is?
If someone can, great. If not, that’s OK too. Either way, explain it to them. Write two example questions on the left hand side of the board (e.g. What’s your name? Where do you live?)
Say the questions out loud and have the students repeat them back.
Now ask the students for possible answers to the questions. Write them next to the questions. (e.g. My name is Paul. I live in Paris.)
Ask some students the questions and have them answer back to you.
Now, have the students suggest some more questions. Write a total of 5-7 questions on the board. If you can’t get the students to suggest any, you can write: What do you do in your free time? Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? Do you like sports? What is your favorite color?. After each new question, have the students repeat it back as a class.
Now, write possible answers next to all the questions. Leave blank the information that the students should provide. (Or, you could write an answer in, but put it in a different color or underline it.) Again, have the students provide them if possible.
In the end, your board should look something like this:
Get To Know You Questions Answers
What’s your name? My name is ________.
Where do you live? I live in _________.
How old are you? I am ____ years old.
What do you do in your free time? I like to _____ in my free time.
Speaking (35 minutes)
Have the students stand in two parallel lines so that each student is facing another student. If you have an odd number of students put one student at the end staring down the middle of the lines.
(Sometimes this is hard to explain, so just say “Stand up!” and start moving them with your hands until they’re in lines.)
Explain to the students that they should ask the person across from them the questions on the board. Their partner should answer.
If there are an odd number of students, there will be one group of three. It’s OK. Don’t join the lines. Use the time to help struggling students and to observe their levels.
Let them speak for about 3 minutes.
Now, yell “Switch!” Half the students should stay where they are. The other half should move down one spot (like speed dating).
The students should ask the questions again.
Repeat until there are 10 minutes left in the hour.
Don’t stop it if it becomes easy for the students. That’s when it’s really sinking in.
If it’s too easy from the start, then you can add more questions/more complicated questions to the board (e.g. Where would you like to go on vacation? Why? What’s your favorite month? Why? Can you tell me about your parents? What are they like? Are you similar to them?)
Post-Speaking (10 minutes)
Go around the class and ask “Who is this?” What can you tell me about him/her?
If you finish early, tell the class that they should ask you some of the questions on the board. Talk about yourself for as long as necessary.
Notes: If you have less than ten students, you’ll have to set it up so that each student ends up talking to everyone else. You can do this by saying “Find someone new!” instead of “Switch!”
Ideas for Homework: (1) Have students write dialogues between people who’ve just met. (2) Listen to “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice” by The Lovin’ Spoonful. (3) Find five other students and ask them these questions in English. Report back to the class next time.
Modification for Lower Levels: For lower levels, you may need to provide questions and answers, but they can still do it. Go more slowly. Have the students repeat back each question and answer five times. Finally, make sure they can read the board while they’re in the lines.
Modification for Higher Levels: As noted above, you’ll need to make the questions harder from the start. Try to think of the most realistic questions you can. You already have two columns on the board for “Questions” and “Answers”. Add a third column for “Follow-up Questions” and a fourth for “Follow-up Answers”
Modification for Small Groups: This lesson needs at least five people. You can still use the beginning and end bits, but the middle will just have to be everyone talking to each other. Ask lots of follow-up questions yourself. Try to get the students talking as much as possible, but you’d better have something in reserve.
Modification for Private Lesson: Again, you can use the beginning and end bits, but that’s about it.
Modification for Different Themes: At the beginning, instead of asking students for Get To Know You questions, ask them for questions (or give them questions) on your chosen theme.