In the Find Someone Who ESL activity, students have to find a classmate for whom a given criteria is true.
You will need to display a list of suitable criteria on the board, according to your target language. Between ten and twenty is usually about right, depending on how long you want the activity to last.
If you have an Internet connection and a projector, the easiest way to do the Find Someone Who ESL activity is using our Find Someone Who Generator. This tool allows you to select your target language as required.
Otherwise, you will need to prepare sentences to write on the board (you could still use our generator to do this before class). Write Find Someone Who… at the top, then a list of numbered criteria. For example for the present simple; 1) has a pet 2) plays tennis 3) doesn’t like fish. Try and make it so there will be a small number of students who satisfy each one!
In class, each student will need a notebook or piece of paper.
- Display the list of criteria on the board. The students each write a numbered list according to how many criteria you have.
- They then stand up and mingle. They ask each other about the criteria by forming questions in the target language, e.g. Do you have a pet? If the criteria is true for a student, then they can write down that student’s name on their list (e.g. 1) Marcus).
- Importantly, the students can only write down each classmate’s name once – so they have to find a different person for each number. With small classes (if there are less students than criteria), you could let students write the same name for two or three criteria. If possible, why not allow the students to walk around, or even outside of the school to ask people?
- Optionally, you can also require students to add supplementary information for each criteria, by asking follow-up questions. This should normally be included for intermediate students.
- Continue the activity until a number of the students have completed their list. Students sit down then share their answers for each number, using the target language. For example, Who has a pet? Marcus has a pet. He has two cats.
The Find Someone Who ESL activity is a popular warmer that students can do relatively independently – great if you need a few minutes to organise something else! For a warm up activity you could just use random criteria, but there is also the option to focus on a specific grammar. It’s particularly good for practising questions.
Our Find Someone Who Generator has pre-made criteria for all the below grammar options:
With beginners, the present simple (e.g. has a pet, plays tennis), present continuous (is reading a book at the moment, is learning another language, is working at a restaurant), or past simple (walked to school today, ate rice yesterday) all work well.
For intermediate students, try any of the above tenses, the present perfect simple for experiences (e.g. has been to Asia, has played hockey), or the present perfect continuous for recent habits (has been watching a lot of TV, has been exercising a lot).
You can also practise likes and dislikes (e.g. loves rap music, can’t stand broccoli, doesn’t mind shopping) or used to (used to have a pet, didn’t use to like mushrooms, used to have different hair).
What about theming the Find Someone Who ESL activity around a specific vocabulary topic your class is studying? For example jobs (wears a uniform, works five days a week, takes public transport to work), or sports and hobbies (plays a contact sport, does something creative). There are many more possibilities!
Got a picture or video of this activity in action? How about snapping one next time you use it? We'd love to showcase your submissions- find out more here.