Monday Mysteries: A warm-up activity

Looking for new ways to get your students talking on a Monday morning? Give this idea some consideration. It’s ideal for intermediate or advanced students, but could work with upper beginners who are confident about forming questions and statements in the simple past tense.

STEP 1 – Give each student a slip of paper. Have them write two sentences about one thing that happened over the weekend (or since they last met as a class). The first sentence must follow this pattern: Something ________ happened over the weekend. (insert one adjective: funny, surprising, terrible, wonderful) Model: Something wonderful happened over the weekend. I gave a dinner party in my new apartment.

STEP 2 – Collect the slips of paper and on the board show the tally for each kind of event. For example, 3 – funny, 2 – surprising, 4 – terrible, 3 – wonderful.  (You’re writing numbers, not names.) With pen and paper in hand, students must move around the classroom, talk to as many classmates possible, and determine who submitted which kinds of events. They’ll be asking questions to learn if a classmate experienced something, funny, surprising, terrible, or wonderful over the weekend.  Model: 

 Student A – How was your weekend?

Student B – Pretty good. I had a party at my place.

Student A – Was it fun?

Student B – Yes, I think my friends liked the food I made. We had a really good time just talking and eating. It was special because it was the first party in my new apartment.

Student A – Sounds wonderful!

Student B – It was. How about you? What did you do this weekend?

[Suggestion: Write helpful expressions on the board. See boldfaced words above.]

STEP 3 – Ask everyone to take their seats again and have volunteers share their findings (without talking about themselves). Write the names of students under the appropriate adjective. Example: 3 – funny [Katya, Maria, David], 2 – surprising [Yuki, Jose], 4 – terrible [Brigitte, Yuko, Fernanda, Luis], 3 – wonderful [Sasha, Bo, Philippe, Bruno]. Ask everyone to confirm if their name was correctly matched to the kind of event they experienced. If there are any mistakes, rewrite names under the correct headings.

STEP 4 – One by one, read the slips of paper originally submitted by each student. Ask the class to recall who experience each event. Invite them to add any new details they learned while talking to one another.


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