Name Chain Games

By far and away the best way to learn and retain student names is to do a name chain game to start off the class. You can vary the specifics to fit the needs of your particular class, but my class usually goes like this: the first student says 1) his or her name, 2) his or her home country, 3) one interesting fact about himself or herself, and 4) his or her favorite English word. The next student must then repeat all of the information about himself or herself and then say the name and favorite English word of the preceding student. The third student introduces himself or herself and then says the names and favorite English words of the preceding two students, and so on until the last student. For a challenge, tell the last student not to write anything down! As the teacher, you can also go last instead and impress the class with your knowledge of their names while simultaneously making the last student feel better. Make sure you quiz your students throughout the week to see if they can remember everyone’s names and favorite words. I’ve also made a practice vocabulary quiz using each of their favorite English words before which is a great way to transition them into your testing style.

Variation: Instead of having students say their favorite English word, have them choose a word that starts with the same letter as their name, a favorite city, favorite food, etc... the options are endless! 2 New Year’s Resolutions

Your students may familiar with this popular tradition in January, but a new school year should bring about new resolutions for students and teachers alike. Have students partner up with each other and discuss what goals they have for themselves for the school year. Encourage them to be specific with the things they would like to accomplish and what they want to be different. Make sure that you as the teacher make some resolutions too!

Variation: While students are talking together, have them create a poster of their resolutions. Display the posters around the room to help students remember their goals throughout the term. 3 Name That Person

Line students up in two lines with each line facing each other.. come back together as a whole class. Pass out small pieces of paper or notecards to each student and tell them to write down two facts about themselves on the card without writing their name on them. Variation: Instead of writing them down on notecards.. “Would you rather be a ballerina or a florist?” etc. have Student A pose a would you rather question for Student B to answer. Students take turn reading out the facts from the note card and the other students guess which person wrote the card.. have one of the lines move down so students will get to meet everyone in the other line..” questions to ask their partners. folders.. To make things even more interesting. have Student B answer for a different student.. pockets. be sure to have Student C answer to see who close Student B was! 5 Find Objects to Tescribe Me . Give them a few examples to prompt them and see what kinds of creative questions they come up with.Another great activity to get to your students to know each other a little better is a guessing game. The partners will take turns sharing facts and the rest of the class has to guess which partner the fact is about! Give a point to the partners who guess the facts correctly and a point to the partners who are able to fool the class. This will help to pique their creativity and get to know their new classmates.... A classic get to know you activity is to have students go through their backpacks. Collect the cards in a basket and mix them up before redistributing them to the students. Tell them to come up with creative “Would you rather. do you think student C would rather have a crocodile or a zebra for a pet?” The students will then guess for their classmate.. For example. Student A might ask “Student B.. 4 Would You Rather. After groups have had some time to discuss. and find 3 or 4 things that they feel describe them very well. have them discuss their facts with a partner. such as “Would you rather eat pizza for the rest of your life or chocolate?”. After a short time. . etc.. Variation: In a large circle as a whole class.

Make it a competition to see who can get the most points if you want to add a little friendly rivalry in the mix. movie characters etc. teachers. and so on. Make sure that these people will be well known by all of your students. One student says a word (choose a category like travel if you wish to narrow things down) and the next person must say a word associated with that word. the student must justify how those words are related. Variation: If you wait a few days and do this activity on the 2nd or 3rd day of class.” 7 Who Am I? A great way to mix students up to arrange them into groups or just get them speaking to one another is to put nametags on the back of the students of famous people. 6 Word Association A great speaking activity that helps to loosen up nervous students on the first day is a word association game. put extra restrictions such as the word you say must begin with the last letter of the word the previous student said. if Student A says “Japan.. Put students into pairs to share their objects or share as a whole class so that way everyone can hear about their new classmates! Variation: Send students around the building with cameras (phones work nicely these days) and take a picture of something in the building that they think defines them or could describe them. For example. the next student says a word associated with that word. If another student challenges the association.. Variation: To make things more challenging or adapt this activity for a higher level class.” Student B might say “ninja. you can put a classmates’ name on their back and their peers will have to know that . Students must walk around with their nametag on their back that they cannot see and ask questions to their classmates about who they are.Students then need to describe their objects and why they chose them as their defining objects.

Then. every student who shares that fact in common with you must stand up and find a new seat.... etc. give each student a blank piece of paper. ask the artist of the picture to say how close that student was and to narrate what actually happened in their life event. Variation: Before putting students into pairs. for example.classmate well enough to describe him or her to the student.. Put the students into pairs and have the partners guess what went the event was based on just looking at the picture. The students will then have to describe to the class what is going on in the picture. This is a great way to review names! 8 Picture Story-Telling To get some of the more creative students included.. This game is great for finding commonalities and getting in some good laughs! Variation: Play “I have never. When they finish. a vacation they took. do this activity. Have all of the students seated in a circle and you as a teacher stand in the middle.” instead. have them call out things they’ve never done and have the students move who have done those activities. or a graduation ceremony etc. 9 I’m Cool Because. 1 Unique . Tell them to draw a picture of an event that happened to them recently.. you speak 3 languages. collect the students’ pictures and randomly redistribute them to different students. If students are getting sluggish and you need them to move around the first day. 10 3 Common... you will say “I’m cool because. you’re wearing blue jeans.” and then finish that sentence with something that’s true about you. When students are in the middle. To start off the activity. You also will need to find a seat meaning that one student will be stranded in the middle.. There can be no words on the paper... for example.

This activity is good for small groups. When the time is up. they should be able to recall many things that all students had in common. It may take awhile. If it starts to get too easy. If they’ve been good listeners. have each group report to the class.” Variation: Try this with the whole class after doing it in small groups. but there are surely at least 3 things the whole class has in common! . Then. start ruling out common answers like “We’re all from different countries” or “We all breathe oxygen. change up the groups and have them do it again with their new class members. Randomly group students into three or four and give them a time limit to discover three things that all members of the group have in common and one thing that is unique for all of them.

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