I used this activity for the first time as an icebreaker at our MOPS group, and it was so fun! I love using it in class, because it is a great way to give everyone an opportunity to speak without eliminating teacher-guided discussion.
So here’s what you do:
- Decide how many groups you want to have in the class. With more groups, the activity will move more quickly, but there will be fewer questions to discuss and students will have less opportunity to talk in an un-structured format. Depending on your purpose for the activity, those may be good things!
- Come up with a list of great, open-ended questions in the target language; one for each group member (if you have groups of 5, you need 5 questions. If you are doing this as a whole-class activity, you need one for each person in the class). The questions can be related to a certain topic or could all include a certain structure or grammatical pattern, or they could just be fun and random. Here are some examples: What is the worst job you have ever had? If you were an animal, which would you be? What do you put on your favorite sandwich? What is the best joke you know? Draw me a frog. Which superhero power do you want, and why? What is your most impressive accomplishment? What makes you unique? What do you love about your family?
- Assign one question to each student in the group. (If you have six groups of five students A-E, then each of the six groups will have a student with question A, question B, question C, etc.)
- Explain that the students’ mission is to ask their question to each of their group members. Ideally (for timeliness), this should be done simultaneously, perhaps using the “Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up” structure. In bigger groups, you could do something like Inside/Outside Circle or many others.
- Once students have completed their interviews, the teacher-guided discussion begins. Turn each question into a ‘superlative’ question, and ask the students that had that question to give the best response from their group, in their opinion. So, who can draw the best frog? Who has the most creative reason for wanting a superhero power? Who knows how to make the most delicious sandwich? Who has the coolest-sounding family? Only the students that asked that interview question can initially respond with an answer from their group, but the entire class should be drawn into the discussion afterward.
- Go through each of the questions, and discuss them until the engagement wanes.
That’s it! I love that it gives students some autonomy and requires critical thinking as they evaluate the answers that they receive from their group. Beyond that, the discussion can get quite lively when students hear that their own answers were not chosen as the ‘best’, so there is great opportunity for debate!