In this icebreaker students are getting out of their seats, speaking
English and getting to know each other.
Have the students stand in two rows facing each other. Tell them
they have 5 minutes to introduce themselves to their partner. After
5 minutes, use your loud voice to say "STOP" or "CHANGE".
One row stands still, the other row moves down one. Person at the
end comes to be partners with the person at the front so they will
each have a new partner. Repeat. Afterwards, have students tell
you something they have learned from another person or introduce
the person who they spoke to last.
1. Topic Interviews: Each new partner, tell students a new topic. (ie.
Family, Hobbies, Hometown, Internet, Travel)
2. Interview Questions: Each new partner, ask students a question
they have to answer. (ie. What are your hobbies?, Tell me about
your family, What is famous in your hometown?, What is school like
in your country?)
I was inspired by the game show "Jeopardy" where they give you
the answer and you have to guess what the question is. That is
exactly what this icebreaker does.
First I write down answers about myself on regular paper. One
answer per paper. This is my demonstration that I do first. (Note: If
you have a computer and projector in your classroom, you can write
the answers on powerpoint slides). Then I show the class the answer
one at a time and they have to guess what the question is. You
want to do at least 5 answers as your example and you want to start
with the easy ones first. It's fun to hear their guesses and they get to
know me better as I reveal the true answers.
Hong Kong (students guess what the question is. answer is "Where
was I born?"
One (answer: "How many brothers or sisters do I have?"
Blue (answer: "What is my favourite colour?"
Ten years (answer: "How long have I lived in the city?"
After knowing about you (the instructor), students individually write
down their own answers for 15 mins. Then get them into small groups
of 4 and they play jeopardy with each other. Have each group
share one with you to guess.
There are great ESL Surveys at this site and in particular for the Survey
Results sheet and blank template. You can use them to tailor the
questions to be related to getting to know each other. If you have
advanced students, as a class you can brainstorm topics and then
have the students write the questions on their survey results sheet.
Examples of survey questions if you do your own for beginner students.
How many brothers or sisters do you have?
Where are you from?
How old are you?
What is your favourite musician?
When students are surveying each other, they are also getting to
know each other because they have to write their classmates
names. After the surveying, as a class students can present their
Find Someone Who
Here is a super popular icebreaker to get students
mingling with each other and out of their seats. Find
Someone Who worksheets are simple to make your
own for your class. Have them use follow up
questions to make sure they speak lots and get to
know each other in the process.
One simple rule for this activity: Can only use one
classmate's name once!
You'll need to monitor to make sure they are
mingling or make it into a game. First one done with
different names for each question wins! Either
way, students will be talking!
Getting to Know You
Give each student an index card and they write four different likes or
topics or hobbies of their choice in each corner. (or have them write
eight on the card). The idea is to get the student's ideas on the card
of topics that they can talk a lot about.
They mingle and show their card to a classmate who chooses a
topic or asks a questions about what's on the card and they can
discuss that topic.
This puts the discussion in the hands of the students. It's hard to know
what they will like so have them decide. Do an example to the class
first with your own card. My index card would have words like
TRAVEL, BLOGGING, CRAFTS, FOOD, FAMILY. Those are 4 topics I
could talk a lot about but the partner decides what they want to
listen to :)
Things in Common
This is a mingler icebreaker where students go around the room
and find out three things that they have in common with each
classmate. Students can write down the things in common in their
notebook. Give students a time limit to talk to as many classmates
to make it more interesting.
Group option: Get students into groups and students must find as
many things in common amongst them as they can. The group
that has the largest list is the winner. The more students in a
group, the more talking they will have to do to find commonalities.
Note: How do we make friends? By having common interests. This is
not only get students to know each other, but also to see how
much they share in common.
To prepare for this hands on icebreaker, you need a ball (old soccer
ball, or old volleyball). That will be the correct shape and easy to
throw. Write getting to know you questions on post-it notes and
tape them around the ball. You can use conversation starter
questions for this icebreaker such as:
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Tell us one secret about yourself.
What was your favourite subject in high school?
Where do you want to travel and why?
Get the students to stand in a large circle. Students will throw the
ball to another person in the circle and the person who catches
needs to answer the question that their right hand index finger lands
on. Since the students are getting to know each other, they must
say their name and then read and answer the question. Then they
can throw the ball to someone who hasn't answered yet.
This is a great way to get students outside or moving in the
classroom. Very important to have students introduce themselves in
this active icebreaker. "I'm Maria. The question is What was your
dream job as a child? I wanted to be an elementary school
This family game is a nice icebreaker to get the class
laughing, guessing, and getting to know each other better. Have
students write their favourite movie, actor, place, or word on a
piece of paper. Collect all of the papers and mix them all up.
One student takes a paper and acts out the words - they cannot
say anything. After they guess what it is, then everyone has to
guess whose favourite movie it is.
1) Students get into two teams and they have to see which team
guesses first. Each team has a different word to act out. Give
points for the winners.
2) Students stand in two rows. The first person in each row is facing
the second person and everyone else has their backs turned. The
first person does the acting of a simple word to the second
person, then the second person taps the shoulder of the third
person who turns around and has to guess as it moves down the
line. The first team that gets to the end wins.
Remember to spend time to guess who wrote on the paper and
the person and say a sentence or two about why it is their
favourite movie, actor, place.