ESL getting to know you lesson plans are a great way to build camaraderie and comfort in a new class while imparting valuable English vocabulary and conversation skills.
Getting to know a new group of classmates provides a truly authentic scenario for language learning. Icebreakers work well as whole class activities.
One icebreaker that will really get students talking to their classmates is people bingo. The teacher creates a grid with descriptive statements in each square. Students must find someone matching the statement to mark off the square. If students aren't familiar with the idea of bingo, the same task can be accomplished with a checklist of questions.
Students can ask each other open-ended questions in an interview format. Paired activities can offer a more comfortable setting for students practicing new language skills. They may feel less self-conscious speaking in front of a single person instead of the whole class. In addition, they won't face the stress of being "put on the spot" when called on.
The opening chapter of low-level textbooks is usually dedicated to questions like, "What's your name?" and "Where are you from?"
While these ideas can help students learn to express themselves in writing and learn vocabulary related to meeting new people, they won't fulfill the larger objective of helping a classroom of new students become more comfortable with each other. A good idea is to start with individual activities and then lead into paired or whole class activities by asking the students to share their work.
If you're looking for online ideas for lesson plans for ESL students, check out the following helpful websites:
Consider these helpful tips when preparing ESL lesson plans for getting to know you sessions:
One final tip: Whenever possible, join in with the students in any getting to know you activities. This is a great opportunity to build rapport with a class.