Attention: there is nothing revolutionary here, but it is always nice to introduce some task-based activities to some well-known teaching situations.
The “We’re back from vacation, so let’s talk about it!” situation is no different. It’s always a good chance to review past tenses, tourism vocabulary, and the like. “What did you do on vacation?” You can get great responses such as “I was going to movie and stay at home.” Ta-da! And that’s all you get…
I believe the problem lies with the question rather than the response. With such a short response, they were able to answer your question. How do we get them to go further? By transforming this question into a task to complete: “Find the person in the group who had the most similar vacation to yours.”
From this point of view, students will have to get interested in others’ vacations, present their own, and find common threads by asking questions.
You can do this entire activity as a group, but I recommend you to complete it in pairs with partner changes every 3 or 4 minutes. Don’t forget to think about how you want to go about correcting your students if necessary (immediately or delayed) in order to have something to focus on as a group at the end of the activity.
Take note that this type of task works for everything, not only the weekend and vacations. Students can find similarities amongst themselves concerning professions, Netflix shows, you name it! “Find the person in the group who has the most similar opinion to yours about the moon’s effect on the reproductive habits of the palolo worm.”
Here is our very pretty version of this activity to print and cut out for your students or screen share in order to get them thinking (if doing a class online).SIMILAR-VACATION-ESL-EXPERTZ
If you are doing a class online, you can easily accomplish the random pairing of a classroom with the Break Out Room functionality of many video conferencing platforms.