Getting to Know You - ESL Activities, Games and Worksheets

Getting to Know You Survey

ESL Getting to Know You Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Elementary (A1-A2) - 30 minutes

In this free getting to know you activity, students conduct a survey in order to get to know their classmates and find out personal information about them. Give each student a copy of the worksheet. The students begin by reviewing the present simple yes/no questions with 'Do you...?' or 'Are you...?' that they need to ask to complete the sentences on the worksheet. Students then go around the class and ask each other the questions. When a student finds a classmate who answers 'yes' to a question, they complete the corresponding sentence with their name. The student then asks a follow-up question to gain more information and notes down their classmate's response on the worksheet. If a classmate replies 'no', the student asks a different question or moves on to speak to another student. When everyone has finished, the students give feedback to the rest of the class on what they found out.
 

Are we compatible?

ESL Getting to Know You Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

In this getting to know you activity, students interview each other and share personal information in order to find people who would make compatible flatmates. Divide the students into pairs and give each student a copy of the worksheet. The students write their partner's name at the top of the worksheet. The students then take it in turns to interview their partner and note down their answers next to the questions. When the students have finished, they compare their answers and decide if they would make good flatmates or not. Next, each pair joins with another pair to make a group of four. The students then take it in turns to share their partner's answers with the group to see if they would be compatible with any other students. Afterwards, there is a class feedback session to find out who would make compatible flatmates.
 

Tell Us About

ESL Getting to Know You Board Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

This engaging getting to know you board game can be used as an icebreaker activity on the first day of class to help students talk about themselves and become acquainted with their classmates. Give each group of three or four a copy of the game board, a dice and counters. Students take it in turns to roll the dice and move their counter along the board. When a student lands on a square, they talk about the topic on the square. While the student is talking, the other students listen and ask follow-up questions or join in with their opinions. The first student to reach the finish wins the game.
 

Getting to Know You

ESL Getting to Know You Worksheet - Reading, Writing and Speaking Activity - Low intermediate (B1) - 40 minutes

Here is a fun getting to know you activity for the first day of class to help students find out interesting facts about one another. Give each student a copy of the worksheet. Students look at incomplete personal information statements at the top of the worksheet and write the questions they need to ask in order to complete the statements, e.g. 'What's your earliest memory?' After the questions have been checked, the students go around the classroom asking each question to a different classmate and completing the statements with answers, e.g. 'Sophia's earliest memory is feeding ducks in a park'. When the students have finished, they share what they found out about each other in small groups and then with the class.
 

Shapes of You

ESL Getting to Know You Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Low intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this getting to know you worksheet activity, students write information about themselves and then hand it to a partner who has to find out why the student wrote the information and ask follow-up questions. Divide the students into pairs (A and B) and give each student a corresponding worksheet. The students begin by writing short answers for the items on the worksheet in the shapes in a random order. Students should write single words, names or short phrases, not complete sentences. When the students have finished, they cut the worksheet as indicated and give the shapes part of the worksheet to their partner. The students then take it in turns to ask their partner why they wrote the information in the shapes, e.g. 'Why did you write Spain in shape number 2?' Their partner then explains their answer, e.g. 'I wrote Spain because I went there on my last holiday'. Next, the student asks follow-up questions to gain more information, e.g. 'How long did you stay there for?' The two students continue taking it in turns to find out why their partner wrote the information in the shapes until all the information has been revealed. Afterwards, students report back to the class on the most interesting things they found out about their partner.
 

True or False?

ESL Getting to Know You Game - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Low intermediate (B1) - 40 minutes

In this free getting to know you activity, students play a game where they give true and false personal information and their classmates ask questions to help them decide if the information is true or false. Give each student a copy of the worksheet. Working alone, the students complete ten personal information statements on the worksheet. Five of the statements must be true and five must be false. Students indicate which statement is which by putting a tick for true or a cross for false in the column marked 'You' on the worksheet. When the students have finished writing, divide them into groups of four. The students write the names of the other students at the top of the three columns on the worksheet. Students then take it in turns to read their ten statements to the group. As the students listen to each statement, they ask questions to help them decide if the reader is lying or telling the truth. Students then decide if the statement is true or false by marking their guess with a tick or cross in the table. Afterwards, the students reveal which statements were true and which were false. Students score one point for each correct guess. The student with the most points wins the game. Afterwards, students tell the class anything interesting or surprising they found out about their classmates.
 

A to Z

ESL Getting to Know You Activity - Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 40 minutes

This insightful getting to know you activity can be used on the first day of class. Give each group of three or four a set of alphabet cards and a set of questions. The students shuffle the alphabet cards and place them face down in a pile on the desk. The first student picks up the top alphabet card from the pile and looks at the corresponding topic and question on the worksheet. The student then tells the group the topic and asks the other students the corresponding question. Each student answers the question in turn and the students generate a short discussion on the topic if possible. The next student then picks up an alphabet card and the process continues. When the students have gone through all the cards and questions, there is a class feedback session where groups share any interesting or surprising information they found out about their classmates.
 

Link Up

ESL Getting to Know You Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 35 minutes

In this entertaining activity, students play a game where they get to know each other by talking about various topics using linking words and phrases. Give each group of four a set of topic cards and a set of linking word cards. The students shuffle both sets of cards separately and place them face down on the desk in two piles. Each student takes a linking word card from the pile. The top topic card is turned over for everyone to see, e.g. ambitions. The students then get to know each other by having a conversation about the topic on the card for two minutes. As the students are talking, they try to naturally work a sentence into the conversation that uses the linking word or phrase in their hand. For example, if a student had a linking word card that read 'although', the student might say 'I love to act. Although I want to be a famous actor, I will probably be an engineer.' When a student successfully uses their linking word or phrase in the conversation, they score a point and take another linking word card from the pile and continue, trying to use the next linking word or phrase. After a couple of minutes, the conversation ends and the students place all the linking word cards back in the pile and reshuffle them. The process is then repeated with the next topic card. The game continues until all the topic cards have been used. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Tell the group about...

ESL Getting to Know You Activity - Listening and Speaking - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 30 minutes

In this light-hearted activity, students talk about various topics for one minute in order to help them get to know each other and improve fluency. Give each group of three or four a set of topic cards, which they shuffle and place face down in a pile on the table. Students then take it in turns to pick up a card and talk about the topic on the card continuously for one minute. If a student manages to talk for one minute, they score a point. However, if the student hesitates too often, repeats information or stops talking before the time is up, they don't score anything. The game continues until all the cards have been used. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins. Afterwards, there is a class feedback session where the students share information they found out about their classmates.
 
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