Many new language courses kick off in September and October. If it's the first time the class has met, learners will need a chance to learn each other's names. Here are a few unusual games to try.
- Each learner draws a large 3 by 3 grid (i.e. 9 squares).
- Slowly read through all the names on the register (spelling difficult names). Learners must randomly select 9 of these names (of people they don't already know) to write into spaces on their grid.
- When everyone has a full grid the learners walk around the room, find their nine people, chat a little and make some notes about each person.
- Afterwards, play 'bingo' by calling out names randomly - students tick a name if they have it on their own grid.
- For each name ask the class to indicate who the person is and tell you some things about the person. When someone completes their grid with nine ticks - they win. (But you could always play it again!)
- On the board draw a seating plan of the room and get the class to copy it.
- Each learner round the room then says their name and everyone else writes it down at the correct place on their plan.
- Ask the class to study the names for 2 minutes, then put their plans away.
- Ask your first volunteer to leave the room - and while they're out, two other learners change places.
- When the volunteer comes back he /she must notice and name both students that have moved. Repeat the game a few times with different volunteers.
- After a few turns, make the game more difficult by changing two pairs at a time.
- Put up a mixed-up spelling of your own first name on the board - e.g. I might put up "Mij". Now, ask them to write an anagram of their own name.
- Collect these in and write them all up on the board. Every student now tries to write down all the original names.
- When finished they can check by walking round the room, meeting people and finding out if they have each person's name correctly.
Prepare a set of small cards - one for each learner. On three quarters write 'true'; on the others write 'false'.
- Distribute them; students must not let others see their card. Learners then stand up and mingle, meeting people and talking.
- When asked questions, anyone with a "true" card must give true answers; anyone with a 'false' card must lie (except about their name), inventing false life stories.
- Afterwards, form small groups of 4 - 6 people. Each group should try to work out who was 'true' and who 'false', writing a list identifying all suspected 'false' people.
- Finish up with a whole-class stage when the lists are read out and the truth is revealed.
- Groups get 3 points for each 'false' person correctly spotted - but minus 3 for anyone incorrectly identified.