Ice breakers are a fun way to get to know your students and for them to get to know each other better too.
Also, you can take advantage of the situation to assess the learners’ level of language in a welcoming and relaxed environment.
(I love it when the teacher can assess/evaluate students’ production in a way that students don’t even realize they’re being observed. I think both the classroom environment and the learning process are improved this way.)
So here is a drama game used by many actors to develop characters adapted to the ESL/EFL classroom that I humbly named Pictorial Presentation:
Drama Game: Pictorial Presentation
Language level: all
Aim: Exchange of personal information, Introductions
Material: A4 paper
Timing: 7-10 min
Show students your Pictorial Presentation (prepare one beforehand so you can spare some time)
Tell them this is you! Your interests, your characteristics, your preferences.
Point out that there are no words in your presentation. The idea of this exercise is to try to guess what other people are like based on images only.
Options to go about the activity:
- Ask students to ask you questions based on the images you have on your presentation. This way you can observe question formation.
- Ask students to describe you based on the images you have on your presentation, while you show them a thumbs up or down, depending if their guess is true or false. This way you increase STT (student talking time) and you can observe language for making assumptions.
- Ask students to present you to yourself, while you show them a thumbs up or down, depending if their guess is true or false. e.g. “This is Michelle. She likes going to the movies and hates Math.” This way, you can observe the use of 3rd person singular conjugation. Also, this approach gives a “role-playiy” (sic) feeling to the activity.
After students perform one of the options above (which was your modelling for the activity), hand out a sheet of paper to each student.
Tell them it is their turn now to make their pictorial presentation paper. Elicit one more time what they have to do to check if everyone knows the instructions. Assign them 3 minutes for it.
Ask students to perform the same option you modelled, but now for each classmate.