In the Yes People ESL activity, students ask and answer questions about life experiences, but they must always pretend to have done the activity in question.
You could introduce the activity by describing/showing the trailer from the movie ‘Yes Man’. In this movie the main character says yes to every possible opportunity, and the students are to do something similar.
Divide the class into pairs.
- Student A asks Student B a question about life experiences, e.g. Have you ever been to Asia?.
- Student B has to answer in the affirmative and give details (invented if necessary), e.g. Yes I have, I’ve been to Japan, Thailand and Vietnam.
- Taking into account their answers, Student A then asks for more details about one specific experience, e.g. When did you go to Thailand? Where did you visit? What did you eat? Student B responds, again inventing details.
- After a few questions, it is the turn of Student B to ask questions. The roles are reversed, and the process repeats. Optionally, you can also repeat with different partners.
Students will really enjoy trying to come up with difficult questions for their partner (i.e. experiences they know little about). It works particularly well in a class with multiple different nationalities.
The Yes People ESL Activity is ideal for combining the present perfect simple and past simple with intermediate students. The focus is on switching between the two, using the present perfect for general experiences and the past simple for specific instances in the past.
You could also use it in a class focused on travel vocabulary. Students would have to think of activities appropriate for different places/countries, as well as transport and accommodation descriptions.
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