Find Someone ‘Who…’ by Hall Houston
Find someone who is one of the most famous activities in language teaching. In its simplest form, students begin with a worksheet containing a number of statements (Find someone who can play basketball. Find someone who doesn’t like rock music.) They wander around the classroom and ask other students questions (Can you play basketball? Do you like rock music?) When they get the answer they need (yes for the first question, but no for the second), they ask the other student to write their name down. They continue in this fashion, moving around and asking questions, until the worksheet is filled up with names.
This simple mingle activity has a number of benefits. It allows students to learn more about each other, ideally bringing the class closer together. It gives students an opportunity to interact with other students they might not normally talk to if they are sitting down. It provides students with lots of practice asking and answering questions. It can be used to give extra practice with verb tenses and vocabulary. Last but not least, it is a fun activity that many students enjoy.
Some things to keep in mind:
* Make sure your students understand the activity before it begins. If your Chinese is good enough, you might want to explain the rules in Chinese. If not, get a student to explain for you.
* Students may have trouble converting the statements into questions. For example, changing “Find someone who has eaten French food.” into “Have you ever eaten French food?” is very tricky. It’s a good idea to convert some of the statements into questions together with the class before they get started. If your students find the conversion difficult, you might want to put all the questions on the board and drill them a few times.
* Negative statements (Find someone who doesn’t like ice cream. Find someone who can’t play the guitar.) are difficult because the question is formed without the negative (Do you like ice cream? Can you play the guitar?), but students are looking for someone who answers “no”.
* Mingle activities are problematic, largely because students in Taiwan are unfamiliar with this type of activity. Insist that they only speak to one other student at a time, and never stand in a group sharing answers. Encourage students to move around and talk to as many different people as possible.
* Bring things to a satisfactory conclusion with a report session. Ask each student to tell you something they learned about a classmate.
Here are a few ways you can add some spice to the find someone who activity:
* Before they begin, ask them to add 3 or more statements to their worksheets.
* Provide a time limit. See who can get the most names in 10 minutes.
* Ask half the students to stay in their seats, and the other half move around.
* Play some relaxing music while the activity is going on.
* Require students to ask one additional question each time they talk to a classmate.
* At the end of the activity, ask everyone to write something they learned about a classmate on the board.
Find someone who… worksheets are easy to find. Just do a Google search for “find someone who worksheets” and you will come up with innumerable free worksheets.
In addition, you can download 6 Find Someone Who worksheets from this website. Each worksheet follows a different theme.
Find someone who “fashion edition”, Find someone who “work edition”, Find someone who “travel edition”, Find someone who “movie edition”, Find someone who “technology edition”, Find someone who “diet and exercise edition”
Hall Houston teaches at Kainan University in Taoyuan County, Taiwan. His articles have been published in periodicals such as It’s for Teachers, Modern English Teacher and English Teaching Professional. He has written 3 books: The Creative Classroom: Teaching Languages Outside the Box, Provoking Thought: Memory and Thinking in ELT, and The ELT Daily Journal: Learning to Teach ESL/EFL.