Over on her excellent blog Kalinago English, Karenne Sylvester recently shared an excellent introductory lesson idea that I thought I’d try out.

Now I often do an introductory lesson where write a bunch of facts on the white board, in no apparent order. The students have to write questions in pairs that they think each fact is the answer to  e.g.

7 Years – How long have you been married? ( or ) How long have you lived in Italy?( or ) How old is your daughter? ( or ) How long did you spend at university etc. The correct answer by the way is the second one.

Other Typical facts I write are things like:

snowboarding (What do you do in your free time?) 

Bantry, Ireland (Where were you born?)

One (How many brothers or sisters have you got?) etc.

I like this activity as it provides a real motivation for the students to get to know me, write questions (and gives me a chance to check out their question formation), even if the task isn’t really an authentic one communicatively. I usually get the students to ask each other the questions that they wrote which are relevant after the activity, too. This adds a bit more conversation into the lesson.

Karenne suggests a similar activity, but she had the idea of using PowerPoint and images to give the students a little more information about you.

Here’s (one of)  her ideas:


Who are you?
Jot down quick notes on words that describe you and your life.

  • country of birth
  • countries lived in
  • marital status
  • family & siblings
  • current job
  • previous jobs
  • a job you dreamed of having
  • degree(s)/ other studies
  • hobbies and interests
  • group/ associations you belong to
  • places you’ve been on holiday
  • your age (number)
  • how long you’ve been teaching (number)
  • your house number
  • fave food /drink
  • fave music /musicians
  • fave book(s)
  • something unusual about you
  • anything else you feel like sharing

Procedure Option 2 (low tech)

  • Open up a PowerPoint document
  • Insert personal pictures from your computer
  • Search www.flickr.com or google images (cc-licensed*) for the images/maps you don’t have yourself – import these into your ppt.
  • Type the numbers in a large font.

Well, Karenne warned that it can take quite a while to prepare one of these “Who are you?” PowerPoint presentations, and she’s right! Several hours of photo scouting later I’ve got mine, here, all ready for my lesson tomorrow afternoon. Seeing as I’ve done it, I thought I’d post it here to share.

I wonder, can you guess what the pictures, numbers and other bits of information refer to?