In a group setting, building a sense of community is key from the get-go. Whether you start working with a new group of students next week or six months from now, I hope you will take the time to consider some of the following activities. They are designed to help students become acquainted with one another.
A to Z Teacher Stuff allows you to easily make a word search. Why not make one using the first names of a high beginner group? Include your name as well. Bring copies of the puzzle to your first class and distribute them. Have students walk around introducing themselves. As they learn a new name, they must find it in the puzzle. Put a review of the basics on the board: What is your name? My name is… How do you spell that? Model a self-introduction and help students find your name first. Tip: When you make the word search, keep it simple by selecting options such as forward words only and no diagonal words.
Puzzle Maker can help you build a crossword on the spot. If you have the capability of projecting your screen, this could be a fun way to get intermediate students to introduce themselves and interact.
- Ask each student to state their name, their home country, and one or two facts about themselves. You can model: My name is Jennifer. I’m from the U.S. I like to play the piano.
- As each student speaks, you need to enter their first name as an answer and the other personal information as the clue in the proper format to create the crossword. (Jennifer/ From the U.S. Likes to play the piano.)
- Once you press “Create the Puzzle,” your crossword will be formatted in seconds. You can even customize your background design. Now you’re ready to share your screen. Have students recall who is who by completing the puzzle as a class.
- VARIATION: Use the crossword on Day 2. Find out personal information on Day 1. Don’t tell them what you have in store. Just take notes and create the puzzle after class. Bring printed copies to the next class and have them remember who is who by working in small groups. Groups can break up and form new groups until each student has completed the crossword.
Looking for more ideas to get new groups of students interacting?
- End-of-Summer Activity (intermediate and advanced)
- Class-created Puzzles (all levels)
- Classroom Web (all levels)