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This is an updated version of my CAE/C1 ice-breaking activity for the first class of a course. Click this link to the prezi (you’ll only need the first 5 slides).
Obviously it’s tailored to my interests but you’ll get the idea and be able to adapt to your own.
First I flash up the sentences with the adjective/verb + preposition combination (petrified of) etc. and tell them that some are true and some are false. They have to decide which are true and which are false in pairs. Award points to the pairs who guess correctly.
Then test them on the prepositions by flashing up the slide with them omitted. Then they have to write 4 sentences using the same combinations, some true some false and read them to their partner, who has to guess which are T/F.
Then the next bit is 6 sentences with some nice phrases about personal interests etc. “I’m into….” etc. I show them my examples (they’re all true) and let them ask me some questions. Then they have to complete the sentences so they’re true for them.
Then they have to mingle around the class reading their sentences to each other, flash up the expressions for showing interest: Uh-huh, mm-hmmm etc. and encourage them to use them. Tell them that they should try to remember as much information as they can about their classmates. While they do this, monitor and board any emergent language to look at later.
After 10 mins or so have them sit down and split them into two teams. Select one member from the first team, the other team then has to remember as much as they can about that person:
“He’s into football and rugby.”
“He has a burning ambition to meet Messi.” etc.
Award 1 point for each correct bit of info. The idea is that they’re recycling the 6 expressions over and over and getting to know each other at the same time.
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This is a warmer/short conversation activity for use with lower-level students (A1-B1) to refresh past simple question formation. Download the handout below:
Unscramble the questions, and then ask them to your teacher:
- summer your how holidays were?
- did where go you?
- there you did do what?
- it did like you?
Ask and answer the questions in pairs.
Complete the questions with a question word:
|Where What (x2) How (x2) Who
- ___________ was the weather like?
- ___________ did you stay?
- ___________ did you get there?
- ___________ did you go on holiday with?
- ___________ long did you go for?
- ___________ was the best thing you did there?
Match the questions (1-6) with the answers (a-f)
- We went surfing, it was so much fun!
- In a nice little hotel next to the beach.
- We took a plane to the island and then we rented a car.
- We went for 6 days.
- It was lovely, it only rained once.
- I went with my Mum, Dad and little brother.
Ask the questions to your teacher, then to your partner.
Then write 2 new questions for your partner:
|Verb in base form
||The best thing
||Verb in past simple
- How were your summer holidays?
- Where did you go?
- What did you do there?
- Did you like it?
While students are performing the speaking task, be sure to help them with pronunciation of the questions, focusing specifically on weak forms and sentence stress:
Where did you go?
| weə dɪdjə ɡəʊ | – Connected speech and weak form “you”
What was the weather like?
| ˈwɒt wəz ðə ˈweðə ˈlaɪk | – weak forms of “was” and “the”. Sentence stress on “what” “weather” and “like”
If students have photos of their holiday readily available (on a smartphone or tablet) let them show their partner while they describe their holiday.