January 12

Snowball

Some shameless fun yesterday with my adult group!

1) Brainstorm the topics which can come up during the speaking exam, e.g. family, education, holidays, food, music, etc. Get a list of about 15.

2) Give each student a piece of paper and have them divide the paper into 6 squares. Tell them to write a different topic in each square and a personal information question for each topic.

3) Have them scrunch their paper into a ball and divide the class into two groups – half them stand on opposite sides of the classroom. Have a 20-second snowball fight.

4) After the fight, tell students to grab a snowball, sit down and interview their partner using the six questions.

5) After they chat, tell them to write a second question for each of the topics on the paper. Again, have a 20-second snowball fight, then have students interview their partner with the new snowball they pick up at the end.

My students really enjoyed it – as they are on the naval base, they are under a lot of pressure with exams, routines and duties and so they enjoyed a bit of silliness. Plus, it practises question formation as well as getting them to think about the typical topics of the exam. It’s really easy to adapt this activity to different levels as well, as the questions can vary from using very simple tenses and structures, to using conditionals and encouraging a wider range of structures in their responses.