Getting to Know You ESL Activities and Games

Can you tell me more?

ESL Asking for Details Activity - Listening and Speaking - Elementary (A1-A2) - 25 minutes

In this get to know you activity, students practice asking for details to basic questions and building conversation. In two groups, students write short answers to questions in corresponding boxes on the worksheet. When the students have finished, they pair up with someone from the other group and give them their answers. The students then take it in turns to ask their partner questions to find out more details about their answers using the language provided. This continues until all the boxes for each student have been covered. Finally, ask the students to share what they found out about their partner and address any common mistakes the students were making.
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Do you have a secret?

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

In this get to know you activity, students discover secrets about their classmates by asking yes/no getting to know you questions. In groups, students write secrets about themselves on cards. The secret can be an interesting fact or something unique that is unknown to the rest of the class. All the students in the class then fold up their secret cards and put them in a box. Each student then takes out one card from the box and silently read the secret on the card. Next, the students form a yes/no question about the secret on their card to find out who wrote it. For example, if the card reads 'I have a pet parrot', the student's question might be 'Do you have a pet parrot?' The students then walk around the classroom asking one another the question they created to find out whose secret they have. When this happens, the student writes the person’s name on the card, keeps it, and takes another card from the box. The students repeat the activity until there are no cards left. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins. Afterwards, the students report back to the class on what they found out during the activity.
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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. Students go around the class and ask each other get to know you questions with 'Do you...?' or 'Are you...?' 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, students give feedback to the rest of the class on what they found out.
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The Question is...

ESL Getting to Know You Questions Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 30 minutes

In this getting to know you questions game, students race to make questions from answers given by other students. To begin, students look at their question cards and fill in the gaps with answers that are true for them. The students then play a game where they race to make get to know you questions from answers read out by other group members. One student begins by picking up the top card from their pile and reading out the sentence they have just completed, e.g. 'In the future, I want to travel the world'. The other students then race to say the question that they think corresponds to the answer. The first student to say the question written on the reader's card wins and keeps the card, e.g. 'What do you want to do in the future?' Students can keep guessing the question until someone gets it right. However, if nobody manages to say the correct question, the reader wins and keeps the card. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins. As an extension, students read the questions on the cards they won and each group member answers the question in turn.
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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 questions activity, students interview each other and share personal information to find people who would make compatible flatmates. In pairs, students take it in turns to interview their partner by asking the get to know you questions and noting down the answers next to the questions on the worksheet. 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.
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Tell Us About...

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

This engaging get 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. 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 get to know you 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.
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Pair Introductions

ESL Get to Know You Questions Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 40 minutes

In this get to know you questions activity, students create getting to know you questions and interview a partner. The students then introduce their partner to the class using the information they found out. Working alone, students complete the worksheet with getting to know you questions that they would like to ask their partner. When the students have written 12 questions each, they take it in turns to ask and answer the questions with their partner. Students write their partner's answers in sentence form in the space next to each question. Afterwards, the students introduce their partner to the class using the information they found out.
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Shapes of You

ESL Get to Know You Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (A2-B1) - 30 minutes

In this get to know 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. Students start by writing short answers for the items on the worksheet in the shapes. Students then give the shapes part of the worksheet to their partner. Next, students 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.
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That's Interesting!

ESL Get to Know You Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - 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. Students look at incomplete personal information statements on the worksheet and write the get to know you questions they need to ask to complete the statements, e.g. 'What's your earliest memory?' Students then 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.
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Assumptions

ESL Getting to Know You Questions Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

In this getting to know you questions activity, students guess information about a partner and form questions to ask them in order to find out the truth. Assign each student with a partner from the other group, keeping the two groups separate. Working alone, the students read the statements on their worksheet and indicate whether they think they are true or not for their partner. Next, students write down the questions they need to ask their partner to find out the truth. The students then pair up with their assigned partner and take it in turns to ask each other their prepared questions. For each correct guess, students put a tick in the box next to the item. Students also ask follow-up questions to find out more details. If the question is a 'Can you...?' question, their partner must prove their ability. The student with the most correct guesses wins. Afterwards, have the students share what they found out about their partner with the class.
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True or False?

ESL Get to Know You Game - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (A2-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. Working alone, 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. In groups of four, 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.
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A to Z

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

This insightful getting to know you questions activity can be used on the first day of class. 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.
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Link Up

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

In this getting to know you game, students talk about various topics and try to use specific linking words and phrases in their conversations. 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 student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
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Tell the group about...

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

In this fluency practice activity, students talk about various topics for one minute to help them get to know each other and improve fluency. In groups, students 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 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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