You can use this activity as an icebreaker at the start of a new course when the learners do not know each other or simply as a warmer at the start of the day.
- Ask all the students to stand up and form a large semi-circle at the front of the class.
- Then ask them to rearrange the semi-circle as quickly as possible from left to right depending on their birthday, with the left end of the semi-circle representing January 1st and the right end December 31st. There will be quite a lot of discussion as they get into the right order. Sometimes a student will find that they have a birthday on the same day as another member of the group.
- You can then go on to get them to rearrange the circle depending on the first letter of the place where they were born, with the left end of the semi-circle representing ‘a’ and the right end ‘z’.
- The exercise can be repeated several times with different criteria, for example: surnames, middle names, first letter of your street and so on.
Tip: You can pre-teach some language before the activity. For example, 'When’s your birthday?' and check the accuracy of the responses when the re-ordering is complete. 'February 26th', for example, is quite difficult to pronounce!