We have new courses starting this week at school so I thought I’d share my favourite getting to know you activity to use with a new class. The original idea of using an acrostics poem came from a session by Jeremy Harmer at the IH DoS Conference a couple of years ago and this inspired my colleague Amy Braid to adapt the idea for use with a new class.
The basic procedure
1. Show the students an example of an acrostics poem with your name. E.g.
2. Students write their name vertically down the left hand side of a page.
3. Students think of sentences beginning with the letters of their name to create their poem.
4. T monitors, helping students with ideas and language, encouraging them to play with sentence structure (cleft sentences, fronting, inversion etc. e.g Yoga is what I like doing, never have I written a poem).
5. When students are happy with their poems, they copy them onto a new piece of paper with coloured pens and pencils.
6. Put the poems on the walls around the classroom (like a gallery).
7. Students walk around the classroom individually with a notebook and a pen, they write one question for each person based on the information that they read, they will ask this question later (e.g. How long have you been doing yoga? Do you think you will ever write another poem?). T could play some music in the background while they are doing this.
8. Students then mingle and ask each other their questions. T monitors, taking notes of language to focus on in feedback (for tips on this, see my previous post on delayed error correction).
9. Students sit down and tell their partner everything they can remember about the other students.
10. Teacher conducts feedback, first on content, then language.
11. Leave poems on wall to help you remember the students’ names in future lessons!