This exercise can produce a lot of language from the group with the minimum amount of effort from the teacher. It is designed to practise yes/no questions using various forms of the past tense.


  • Write a true sentence about yourself on the board. It should only give some very general information and, if possible, should be interesting or even intriguing. A simple example would be 'In 2004 I was very happy'.
  • The students’ task is to find out through questioning why you were happy. You, as the teacher sitting in front of the class, can only answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to their questions. 'What happened?' is not acceptable!
  • Once they have got the idea of how the activity works, students can be divided into groups of 5-8 and can do it with their own true sentences. Examples that have come from students doing this activity include 'In 1991 I was arrested' and 'Last year someone saved my life'.

Tip: You can pre-teach some key expressions such as 'Was it something to do with ....?', 'Was it connected with ....?' and 'Was ..... involved?'