This is an alternative approach to the inevitable “what did you do on your holidays” conversation. Many first lesson activities and ideas are based on the premise that nobody knows anybody else but often the students in your classes have come up through the levels together and the only new person in the group is you…
It should also combat those conversations with teenage classes that go: T: “Hey, how was your summer?” S: “Alright.” T: ”What did you do?” S: “Nothing.”
The basic objective is that the learners have to find stuff they did over the holidays that NOBODY else did.
So a simple procedure might be:
Ask the learners if they had a nice summer and lead into a REALLY boring description of what you did over the summer. e.g. I watched TV and I played computer games and I did some laundry and stuff. Ask the learners if they did anything similar. Establish that pretty much everybody in the class watched TV and played computer games. Then tell the learners about something slightly more interesting and less usual – for example taking a plane trip – and find out how many people did the same. Finally, describe something really interesting that you did – or alternatively make something up (e.g. rented a Ferrari and drove up the West coast of the USA). Find out whether anyone else did the same.
Thus having established the exclusivity principle, ask learners to find something that they did over the summer that nobody else did. Check that they understand they need to talk to ALL the other learners in the class.
Feedback: Find out from the learners what interesting and relatively exclusive things they did over the summer. You could also do some reformulation of any language areas that came up during their mingle activity.