So, what did you do over the holidays?
Well, it’s that time of year again! We’ve just finished the Christmas holidays and are ready for the second term to burst forth. And, as a typical first lesson back, we’ll no doubt be asking students about their Christmas holidays and asking them to share their experiences with the class. Everyone has something to say about the festive period and whilst it’s fun to hear about what everyone got up to, it can be time-consuming and in fact a little boring. Here’s an activity which I picked up from one of my colleagues, Phil, which has a great twist of the standard information share.
Give each student three pieces of paper and ask them to write a sentence on each about what they did over the holidays, but they MUSTN’T write their name on the paper. Collect in all the papers and then give instructions for the next stage. Give each student a slip of paper and they must convert the sentence into a question*, which they will then ask different members of the class to find out who wrote it. Everyone stands up and mingles to complete the activity – when a student matches a slip of paper to a classmate, they write the owner’s name on it and take another piece of paper.
(*At this point you might like to do some work on sentence formation in the past, depending on the level of your students)
When you’ve used all the pieces of paper, students sit down and take a moment to correct any errors on the slips (again, depending on the level of your learners). You can monitor and help where necessary.
Then ask each student to choose one piece of paper which they find interesting. They then have to write a follow-up question to what is written on the slip of paper. When they have done this, there’s a stage of whole group feedback. Invite a student to read the sentence and ask the follow-up question to their classmate. After everyone has read their slips of paper, if you notice that a student hasn’t had the opportunity to talk about their Christmas experiences, you could invite a classmate to read one of their sentences and ask a follow-up question.
This activity is fun as it gives the students lots of opportunities to speak and find out about each other’s holidays without becoming a long, tedious activity. If you have higher level students, you could ask them to transfer the sentence into reported speech before reading out the sentence and asking the follow-up question.