If you're looking for a warm-up activity that will also pair students up for what will come next, you got it!

Age Level - Any
Proficiency level - basic and above
Materials - a number of objects used in our daily life
Objective - to pair students up based on the objects they pick up and have them say why they are together.

Collect as many small objects as you have students in your group. You need to choose pairs of things that have some connection with each other. Here are some examples: a candle, a matchbox, scissors, a piece of ribbon, a sheet of paper, masking tape, a calculator, a printed math exercise, a picture of, or a miniature elephant, the map of Africa, thread, a sewing needle, a paper clip, keys, a key chain, some candy, a candy pot.

1. Display all the objects on your desk or on a tray.
2. As students arrive, they choose one of them and hold it.
3. When all students have their object, they show it to the group.
4. Students form pairs based on the connection existing between their objects. For example, the scissors and the masking tape; the scissors and the sheet of paper; the scissors and the piece of ribbon, and so on.
5. They tell the group why they are together: We are together because we need scissors to cut the ribbon; we are together because we need matches to light the candle, etc.

The next step can be whatever activity you have planned for the pairs.

VARIATION: If you can afford a little more time and want to make it more challenging, ask students to come up with an unusual purpose for the objects (mind appropriateness here!). So they can say, for instance, that they will use the elephant to ride home, since they don't have a car, or that they will use the ribbon to blindfold someone.


This activity can serve many purposes, one of which is to form groups or pairs of students randomly. Once the groups or pairs are formed, the pictures can be used for several grammatical, lexical, or communicative purposes.

Age level - Teens and above
Proficiency level - Low intermediate and above
Materials - several pictures cut out as jigsaw puzzles (see models)
Objective - To group students and practice any linguistic focus

Decide how you want to group your students: pairs or groups of three, four, or more. Establish the objective of the task: to narrate a short story (in the simple past tense, for instance); to make predictions (using will); to use modals of speculation; to give advice; to create a story whose last scene is the picture students have; to create a story whose first scene is the picture, etc.
Choose pictures that will allow for the performance of the task proposed. They can be taken from magazines or from the Internet. Cut them as a jigsaw puzzle - you will need as many pieces as you have students.

1. Mix the pieces in a bag or basket and distribute them randomly.
2. Give detailed instructions for the task. 
3. Ask students to walk around and find their partner(s), putting the pieces together to form the picture. Give them time to work on the task. 
4. Ask the groups to present their work (make sure all the students participate in the presentation phase).


For the first picture, students can come up with several reasons for that outcome. In this case, they will use modals of speculation: He might have seen her with another man; She might have seen a message from another girl in his mobile; He could have forgotten to take the garbage out, etc....
Another possibility is to come up with a complete story of what happened before the scene of the argument. 

In relation to the two people on the desert island, you can have a contest to choose the most creative content for the letter the guy is reading. Students can also predict will happen to the two men. They can also role-play a dialog between the two about any given topic, say, what they are going to have for dinner, or how they are going to share the island space.

Ask students to invent a story that begins with the picture of mother and son hugging each other. What comes next? Why? What are the circumstances?

Ask students to give advice to the motorcyclist. They can also use the second conditional to say what they would do in his place. They can also draw a profile for the guy, based on what they can see in the picture.

The other pictures also lend themselves to a lot of conversation.

NOTE: You may want to use different pictures for the same activity or make copies of the same picture for all the students to work with.