The Something In Common ESL activity is a short speaking exercise in which students ask their classmates about their likes and dislikes.
Students complete this activity as a class.
- Students stand up and mingle, asking each other about their hobbies or taste in food.
- The aim is to find a common like or dislike with each of their classmates. When they find one, they should change partners, but try and remember it for later.
- After about five minutes (depending on the class size), the students sit down again.
- They then take turns sharing with what they have in common with other students (e.g. Max and I both hate olives, Neither Katya nor I can stand shopping). You could do this as a class, or with large classes, in small groups.
The Something In Common ESL activity works well as an icebreaker, to help classmates get to know each other. You can also limit the likes and dislikes topic to practise a specific vocabulary, usually sports and hobbies or food. This works best with beginner students.
Another option is to practise different language for giving opinions (more suited to intermediate students). Pre-teach phrases like ‘I can’t stand’ and ‘I don’t mind’, and ask the students to match these opinions. Students should also use appropriate responses, such as ‘Me too’, or ‘Me neither’.
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