Cold reading

Introduction:

This is a great reading activity I have done with my advanced and proficient students and without a doubt one of my most memorable activities. Unfortunately the activity doesn’t work with just any class. You have to make sure the group is just right; ideally the students are relatively new and aged 15-24.

Level: C1

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To read a description of one’s personality and decide how accurate the description is.
  2. To read a description of another student’s personality and try to identify who the student is.

Materials:

  1. Personality reading PDF (adapted), one per student (Source: https://www.secrets-explained.com/derren-brown/cold-reading)
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6uj1ruTmGQ

Procedure:

Stage 1:

  1. A week or two before the class tell students you would like to try something different with them. It works better if you revise personality adjectives before the class too.
  2. Ask each student to take a piece of paper and draw an outline of their hand, write their date and time of birth at the top of the page and a name of an object that is not immediately recognized as theirs.  When the students have finished ask them to fold the papers, mix them up and hand them to you.
  3. Tell students you are now going to try and write a description of their personality based solely on the information they have provided. Tell students you will try and be as specific as possible and that it will take quite a long time for you to finish all the descriptions so they must be patient. The first time I did this activity my students waited a month for me to “complete” the descriptions and couldn’t wait for me to finish.

Stage 2:

  1. Print Personality Reading PDF and make as many copies as there are students in your class. The readings are all exactly the same so sometimes I change the font and the colour to confuse the students slightly if the happen to sit next to each other and see another classmate’s reading.
  2. Before you hand the students the papers tell them you have tried very, very, very hard to be specific and you would like them to read the descriptions carefully and to honestly tell you at the end how accurate they think you were.
  3. Sit the students as far away from each other as possible and tell them to use their phones/dictionaries to check the meaning of new words.
  4. When the students have finished give each student a post it note and anonymously ask them to rate the accuracy of the description (1%-100%). You don’t want the students to be influenced by others when the rate their description.
  5. Collect the post it notes.
  6. Now ask the students to mix all the descriptions and try to identify the classmates based on the description they now have.
  7. After a few minutes students will look confused. Ask them to shuffle the papers again until pretty soon they will realize all the descriptions are exactly the same.
  8. Students’ reactions to this experiment are priceless and I have even had one student return to my school a year later asking for a copy of the reading.
  9. Explain to students that it is a technique called cold reading and it is often used by psychics and astrologists. At the end show students the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6uj1ruTmGQ

Related posts:

Who are you?

Interactive reading class

Simply perfect

Introduction: 

This is a board game for B2 students to review past simple and present perfect. Students complete the board game with their own examples and then answer question in pairs or small groups of three.

Level: B2

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To review past simple and present perfect.
  2. To write examples on the board using the target language.
  3. To answer questions containing the target language whilst playing a board game.

Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):

  1. Simply perfect board game and one die per group of 3.

Procedure:

  1. Put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of Simply perfect board game.
  2. Students first underline the verbs in all the questions on the board.
  3. Next, students use the underlined verbs to write a new question in the empty square provided below, changing all questions in the past simple tense into questions in the present perfect tense and all the questions in the present perfect tense into questions in the past simple tense, e.g. Change the question in Square 1:1 What did you eat for dinner last night? into What have you eaten today? for Square 2:1. Change the question in Square 4:1 Have you ever ridden an animal? into Did you ride a horse when you were little? for Square 4:2. The only requirement is for students to use the same verb in their new question.
  4. When the students have finished they pass their board game to the team/ group on their right.
  5. Students now go over ALL the examples written by their classmates to make sure they are grammatically correct.
  6. Check together as a class.
  7. Hand each group a die.
  8. Players take it in turns to throw the die twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain the question.
  9. When a player lands on a square all three players must answer the question from that square in as much detail as possible. Encourage students to ask each other additional questions to obtain more information.
  10. The game continues in the circle going left.
  11. At the end, ask the students to choose three questions they didn’t answer during the game and answer them in writing.

Related posts:

http://www.onestopenglish.com/community/lesson-share/pdf-content/lesson-share-time-expressions-lesson-plan/556366.article

Summary of past or recent events

Best birthday ever

Ir(regular) Xmas

Double Decker

Who are you?

Introduction:

This is a fun activity for students to revise personality adjectives. Students match the adjectives to their antonyms, decide which adjectives apply most to them and look for classmates whose answers are either identical to theirs or very different.

Level: B2+

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To revise/ introduce adjectives describing personality.
  2. To decide which adjectives apply most to students and give examples.
  3. To compare students’ choices with other classmates.

Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):

  1. Who are you Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. In pairs ask students to tell each other what personality types they get on with best and what personality types they just can’t stand.
  2. Elicit some answers from students.
  3. Hand each student a copy of Who are you? Worksheet and tell them to cover up the words at the bottom.
  4. Individually ask students to provide antonyms to the adjectives in the first column.
  5. When the students have finished ask them to compare with their partner.
  6. Next students look at the antonyms provided at the bottom of the page and complete the table.
  7. Check as a class.
  8. Individually now ask the student to consider each pair of adjectives and choose the number (1 to 5) closest to the adjective they feel applies most to them. Number 5 applies to the adjective in the first column and 1 to its antonym in the third column.
  9. Once the students have finished, put them into pairs and ask them to compare their choices with their classmates and provide specific examples where their numbers are identical or very different.
  10. Change pairs two or three times to give students a chance to compare their answers with as many classmates as possible.
  11. Ask students to give examples of unexpected answers they received whilst interviewing their classmates.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to pick three positive and three negative adjectives from the table that best describe them and justify their answers to their classmates.

P.S. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Dr. Seuss

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