ID Card Swap
This exercise is good for either the first lesson with a new group or a warm-up for a group that already knows each other. This is best for Elementary-Intermediate levels.
- Collect an identity card from each person in the room, including yourself. If someone doesn’t have one with them, have them write down the details that are normally on the card.
- Brainstorm questions you might be able to ask about someone based on their identity card, e.g.
- How old is X?” (you may want to not allow this one if age is a sensitive subject),
- Where was the person born?
- What color hair/eyes does the person have?
- Where does the person live?
- Is the person a man or woman?
- Etc. EXCEPT for “What is the person’s name?”
- Redistribute the cards (it’s even OK if someone gets their own card back) and explain that they are going to mingle and ask questions about the person whose identity is on the card. I like to play some music in the background at this point.
- Participants circle and ask each other the questions until the questioner guesses the identity. Then the partner asks.
- After a few minutes (keep an ear open to make sure everyone has identified their partner’s card), tell them to SWAP cards and seek a new partner.
- End the activity when either most everyone has spoken to everyone else or a natural high has been reached (about 10 minutes).
- Round up the exercise by asking if anyone learned anything new or surprising about their classmates. You could also have lower levels then introduce other participants (great for third person singular practice).
I have seen exercises where people interview each other based on fake business cards that the teacher distributes, but this is not real and not as motivating as working with real data and the participants react very well to it.