15 variations on Find Someone Who and mingling games
“Find Someone Who”, in which students stand up and walk around asking questions to match people to information they have been given, is one of the most popular TEFL games as it is a good excuse to get students up and moving around, and so loosens their inhibitions and wakes them up. It can be […]
“Find Someone Who”, in which students stand up and walk around asking questions to match people to information they have been given, is one of the most popular TEFL games as it is a good excuse to get students up and moving around, and so loosens their inhibitions and wakes them up. It can be difficult to organize, though, especially making sure that everyone is equally involved and that everyone finishes at more or less the same time. By using the variations below, you can both avoid those problems and keep the game new for your students each time you use it:
1. I’m unique
Students have to find out something that is true only of themselves in the class, e.g. an ability only they have (“can”). They go round asking the same question (e.g. “Have you eaten crocodile?”) until they have asked everyone. If at any time they find out that it is also true of someone else, they should quickly think of another thing and start again.
2. I’m the same too
In this case, students stand up and try to find people who have things in common with them, e.g. the same number of sisters. As in most of these variations, it is important that they change partner after just one question. This is good for auxiliary verbs practice (So do I etc.).
3. I’m the same too Two
In this slight variation on I’m the Same Too, students can’t move onto another partner until they have found one thing they have in common with the person they are talking to. Every time they change partners they have to ask different questions- they can’t get one point for “We are both Spanish” each time!
4. I’m the same too Three
In this case, students have to find things that they have in common with the other students with a different short answer each time, one “So do I”, one “So am I”, one “So can I” etc.
5. Guess and find
Before students stand up and start asking questions, they have predict what will be true, e.g. how many people each of the statements on their worksheet something is true for (“_____________ people can play the guitar” or “5 people can _______________”)
6. Find what I’ve written
Each student writes one or more true statements about themselves on slips of paper. The slips of paper are then taken in and distributed so that people have statements about others. Students stand up and race to find the people who wrote those things (or anyone else the same thing is true for).
7. The snowball game
This is a variation on “Find what I’ve written”. When students have written their true sentences, they screw them up into balls and when the teacher says start throwing them around like snowballs, including pick up other people’s “snowballs” and throw them. After one minute, students pick up snowballs close to them and go around trying to find who each statement is true for.
8. Find the question find someone who
In this variation of Find What I’ve Written, students only write a very short and vague piece of information about themselves, e.g. “three” or “London”. Students then have to guess what the question might be for the piece of information they receive, e.g. “How many sisters do you have?” and go around asking that question or change to other questions until they find the right answer. The people answering shouldn’t say whether they wrote that or not, but just ask the question they are asked.
9. Shouting find someone who
Any of the variations can be played this way, which just involves giving them an activity where they have to speak to everyone in the class but not letting them stand up.
10. Shout or stand find someone who
If you have a class which is reluctant to speak loudly or to stand up, give them the choice of deciding which is the lesser of two evils by telling them they have to speak to everyone but not telling them how. Most classes will start by speaking to their partner, speaking slightly louder to someone further away etc. until they are standing up without any protests.
11. Say hello wave goodbye
Like introducing “So do I”, this variation adds both more language and more fun. Students have to do the Find Someone Who activity whilst pretending they are at a cocktail party or similar and starting and ending each conversation with suitable language.
12. Don’t say goodbye
In this variation on Say Hello Wave Goodbye, all the students are given roleplay cards with their Find Someone Who tasks on, but some people’s tasks only say “Keep your partner speaking for as long as possible”. Anyone who starts speaking to that person then has the additional challenge of politely ending the conversation so that they can move onto speak to someone else.
13. You’ll never find someone who
In this variation, students set each other Find Someone Who tasks. This can either be something they think is not true of anyone in the class, or something they know is true but they think is difficult to guess who.
14. You’ll never guess who
In the gossipy version, people have to try to find the answers to as many of their questions as they can whilst speaking to the minimum number of people. They do this by passing on all the information they have found so far, including things they don’t need to know but they found out because they know someone else was looking for it.
You can also get them to trade pieces of information.
15. If you tell me who
In this variation on You’ll Never Guess Who, students exchange information so they can find the information on their role cards as quickly as possible, but only giving people information they need if they can trade it for different information they are looking for.
Wow. These communicative activities are great. The game, “I’m unique” is very useful for the first class I guess. Other variations are also wonderful for grammar lesson.
Thank you so much
What a comprehensive list, great variety, perfect for big classes and long semesters. Thank you!
A variation of ‘Find what I’ve written’ is to get the students to write 3 sentences about themselves using the grammar you have been studying. I collect all the slips of paper and then students take them one at a time. They make the question from the sentence and ask other students until they find the person who wrote the paper. They then ask more questions. Feedback includes interesting things found out.
practice writing positive negative sentences in grammar form
practice asking questions usually including grammar form
practice giving short answers
further speaking practice
uses up all those mucked up photocopies you made!
watch for students showing paper and saying ‘Is that yours?’
watch for students using unusual coloured pens
students will recognise each others writing after a while – if the person is already talking they can ask other students. When they speak to the person they still have to find out more.
If I see a lot of errors on the slips when I collect them at the beginning I collect them back at the end and review to board or at a later stage.
I think this one ticks most of the boxes thanks to Tom in Torun for basic idea