These are designed to get everyone talking. They can be used with all levels because the language required to communicate is determined by the students.

Clare Lavery

Remember to set up and demonstrate these activities carefully before letting the class go ahead.

Jigsaw puzzle challenge

Take 3-4 large pictures/photos and stick them on card. Pictures can come from Sunday supplements, travel brochures, calendars, magazine adverts etc. Pictures specific to students’ interests will motivate them e.g. film stills, cartoons, news stories, famous paintings, famous people.

  • Draw puzzle shapes on the back of each picture (4-5 shapes) and cut out the picture pieces.
  • Give each student in the class a jigsaw piece. They must not show their piece to anyone.
  • Students then mingle and question each other about what is on their puzzle piece to try and find people with pieces of the same jigsaw.
  • The object of the game is to find all pieces and put together the jigsaw. The first complete picture puzzle wins.

Something in common or 'give me five'

Explain that we can all find something in common with those around us. The object of this game is to discover as many things you have in common with fellow students. You can limit this to 5 things in common.

  • Brainstorm examples with the whole class, noting suggestions, e.g.
    • We both have long-haired cats
    • they both went to see Robbie Williams in concert
    • We all like Harry Potter
    • We both have a younger sister called Georgia
    • Our favourite colour is green
    • Our families go to the same supermarket, church, club, holiday place
    • We both believe in love at first sight, ghosts, god.
  • Give students a time limit to mingle and find out as many things they have in common. The one who finds the most is the winner.
  • Alternatively ask them to find five things and the first person to shout 'five' is the winner.

Create a biography

Take a biography of a famous person and write each detail on strips of paper. Keep the identity secret so they have to guess, if appropriate.

  • Draw a table on the board for students to copy and make notes e.g. place of birth, early years, famous for..
  • Give out the strips (split the class in two if large and give out 2 sets)
  • Students mingle and ask each other questions until they have as many details as possible about the person.
  • Take away the strips and put students in pairs or small groups to use their table of notes to write the biography.
Language level
Language Level: 
Beginner: A1