How Well Do You Know Your Classmates?

hands2The following activities are great way to provide input in an engaging manner, using your students as the context.   They work well for the first day back after a break but can be used at any time.  They are very easy to prepare and create a time in which the students say little, and the teacher provides a lot of repetitions and input without losing the interest of the class.

True or False

  1. Project a list of statements about different students from class.  The statements can be about anything – last weekend, yesterday, a focus on an emphasized structure (present perfect, preterite, imperfect, future).
    1. Carlos has never seen Titanic.
    2. Alicia ate pasta last weekend.
    3. Benito has a girlfriend.
    4. Manolo lied to his parents yesterday.
    5. Maritza has read every Harry Potter book
    6. Natalia has been on television.
    7. Marcos and Olivia spent time together yesterday.
  2. Using a small scrap paper, students take a minute to quietly read the phrases and write “true” or “false” for each.  They are not permitted to ask the students mentioned.  They base their responses on how well they know their classmates and simply guessing.
  3. Review each statement with the class.  Students keep track of how many they get correct.  Use each statement as a way to circle and ask several questions.
    • Class, has Carlos seen Titanic?
    • Carlos, have you seen Titanic?
    • It’s true.  Carlos has not seen Titanic.
    • Who has seen Titanic?
    • Ricardo, how many times have you seen Titanic?
    • Ricardo has seen Titanic 4 times.  Who has seen it more?
    • Have I seen Titanic?
    • That’s right.  I have seen Titanic but I have only seen it once.
      • (Notice that students only need to respond with “yes”, “no”, raising hands and saying numbers.)
  4. After reviewing all statements and discussing, award a prize to the students with most correct.

How many?

  1. Project a list of questions about how many students in class have done something or did something during the weekend, yesterday etc.
    • How many students went to the movies during break?
    • How many students cooked something?
    • How many students lied to their parents?
    • How many students said a bad word yesterday?
    • How many students have never been to Bob Evan’s?
    • How many students said, “I love you” to a mother or father this morning?
    • How many students have said, “I love you” to a boyfriend/girlfriend?
  2. Using a small paper, students write their guesses for how many in class did/have done each action mentioned.  The teacher should participate also.
  3. Review and discuss each statement as in the true/false activity.  It is possible to get several repetitions on each statement.
    1. How many  went to the movies during break? (Students raise hands)
    2. 17 students went to the movies.
    3. What movie did you see, Miguel?
    4. Was it good or bad? . . . etc.
  4. For each statement, students write the difference between their responses and the actual number.  At the end, the student with the least total difference between guesses and actual numbers is the winner.  If that system is too much math, you can simply award a point to the closest on each statement.
  5. Another option is to make the statements based on opinions or beliefs.
    • How many believe that art class is more important than history class?
    • How many believe parents should control what their children watch on TV?
    • How many believe that the drinking age should be lower than 21?

There are several ways to adapt these activities, but this should be enough to get you going.  The keys to success are that the the questions/statements be interesting, that the teacher do most of the talking and that each statement lead to much circling and questioning.  I love these activities and use them often.


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4 Responses to How Well Do You Know Your Classmates?

  1. Mary says:

    I love this activity, but I am curious. How did you know your original facts? Or did you just make those up?

    • bryankandel says:

      It can be completely random. Sometimes I’ll match a statement with to a certain student (Luisa scored 15 points in the basketball game on Thursday), but it’s not necessary. I often demonstrate this activity at workshops, and I just plug in a bunch of names of people I’ve never met. By the time we finish, we all know each other better, which makes the workshop more fun. It’s the same in class, AND it increases proficiency in the language.

  2. Jennifer Coppolino says:

    Thanks for sharing this Bryan! I attended asession at UAkron you did and wanted to do this but couldn’t remember how it all went.

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