Powerpointing Me -EFL Tech Tip #13

The other day when I was reading Nick Jaworski's blog postings on using the Teacher as the Narrative in EFL classes, I left a comment behind regarding one of my used-a-gazillion-times-first-lessons...

The Getting to Know You, Getting to Know Me game

I've no idea where I originally picked up the bones of this before techitizing it for my own purposes, so 'xcuse me if I don't reference the source - however, if you know, let us all know below.


  • Create an atmosphere of sharing right from the get-go.
  • Find out your students' communicative abilities and weaknesses: particularly when making small talk /asking and answering questions.

  • Approx 2 - 4 hours, depending which option you choose below. However you'll be able to use it an infinite number of times in an infinite number of (first day) lessons for an infinite number of years.


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 1 (no tech, photocopier optional)
  • Dig out photos that match the above list, clip pics out of a magazine
  • Type the numbers using a large font and print
  • Photocopy the pics to A4 if you'd like them to be uniformed in appearance
  • Stick on to colored card and laminate

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.

Procedure Option 3
(medium tech - quickest)
  • Go to Wordle.net
  • Enter the words you brainstormed
  • Print several copies of your wordle & laminate (or capture as a jpeg / insert into a ppt slide)

Procedure Option 4
(will take >4hrs)
  • PhotoPeach your life. Use with intermediate learners+ re fast imagery.
  • Same as option 2
  • Save all slides as jpegs
  • Upload into Photopeach
  • Select music: something related to your own culture or fave band works best.

PhotoPeachingMe on PhotoPeach

NB. It doesn't matter what order you present your images in.

In class

After briefly introducing yourself to your new students and getting their names, ask if they know anything about you and if they'd like to.
Optional: depending on your students' levels you may like to review question structures (wh-q/auxiliary and modals/conditionals/present-perfect) prior to doing this exercise, but not necessary.

Tell your students you're going to show some pictures and you'd like them to guess what the images have to do with your life by asking you questions.

Show the first picture / beam the first slide / show the first 30secs of movie.

Once you've elicited the correct answer, elicit the best question form which would produce that answer.

A rough example:
Picture: A boy and girl which look like me
Teacher: What does this have to do with me?
Students: "Brothers and sister?"
Teacher: How can you make that into a good question?
Students: "Do you have brother and sister?"
Teacher: Brothers and sisters are called siblings, you can also ask "Are they your brother and sister?"
Students: "Do you have (any) siblings?"
Teacher: Yes, I do. I have 2 brothers and a sister. My little brother wasn't born yet - in this picture - he's only 19. Do you have any questions about them?
Students: "Where they live?"
Teacher: Where do they live

Show the rest of the pictures or slides and continue getting students to ask about your life.

If you chose the movie option, show the whole film and then get students to ask questions about your life based on the images they've seen.

If you chose the Wordle option, get students to work in groups to figure out what the words might have to do with your life before getting them to ask the questions.

Their turn

Get students to jot down 5- 10 questions they'd like to ask each other. Circulate and correct their structures and vocabulary.

Form pairs or small groups and encourage them to ask each other about each others lives.

After around 15 minutes, switch members of groups and now ask them to tell their new partners about the lives of those they were talking to, as well as themselves. Depending on the size of your class, you can repeat this step as often as you like.

Post task

Students can create their own powerpoint presentations, wordles or movies based on what they're able to learn from the internet and/or other sources regarding one or more of the following:

  • politicians /local or international
  • sports figures
  • entertainers: singers, movie stars, tv personalities
  • their googlegänger
  • anyone else

Ask students to bring what they learned to the next class in order to present it - share and discuss what they learned - again encouraging them to ask each other to ask questions & prompting for extended answers.

Useful links related to this posting:

Getting to know you, video with lyrics (can be used pre-task)
Getting to know you introduction games
Getting to know you - conversation prompt cards (available free to registered members of my website).

Do you have any questions or a creative tip for first lessons that you'd like to share with us?


Note: you can print these lesson tips as a pdf by clicking on the title of the post, scrolling down and then clicking on the green "print as pdf" button.

10 Responses to “Powerpointing Me -EFL Tech Tip #13”

  • Anonymous says:
    October 24, 2009

    I have done something similar before but I have never used Photopeach before. Thanks for the tip. Loved it.

  • Anne Hodgson says:
    October 24, 2009

    Thanks for being so open about the amount of time it takes to do a good job of using each tecnology. I've hesitated to do much more than Powerpoint (or Keynote) because I find the whole setup of people sitting and looking at something I have (or someone else has) prepared fine for presentation, but not for learning. It's just not interactive and flexible enough, and I find other media (e.g. videos plus hands-on materials) go over better and are more productive in learning. But maybe I'm really missing something.

    I'd really like a course for tech slowpokes in digital storytelling. Karrenne, don't you want to offer a full day course of some kind on it? I'd come. I actually suspect you've already done one - right?

    October 24, 2009

    Hi Anne -

    My workshops at the VHS tend to be quite low tech however at ELTAS we've done a few 3hr sessions on new media and technology... mum's the word but we're currently working on setting up a full tech-tools day next year and inviting other presenters - and we will invite all the ELTAs - still in planning, costing phase.

    Will let you know more soon!

    But in the meantime, I could come over to Munich sometime next year and do this with you guys there - would need at least half a day and a computer room (I hate theory: let's get your teachers creating).


    October 24, 2009

    Hi Sabrina,

    Yup - love photopeach - I really wish I remembered who talked about this on twitter, it was one of those links I favorited ages ago -so couldn't source here!

    One of the fun things about it is that you can leave comments (or your students can) however in my case, my adult students tend to to be quite private people so the comments function hasn't been used.

    But I reckon teenagers would love messing about with this!

  • Nick Jaworski says:
    October 26, 2009

    Just wanted to say thanks for the link and the mention Karenne. I've started the new job and am super busy trying to get things organized. Things should calm down in a week or two.

    Interesting idea with photopeach there. You have a laminator? Wow! :)

    Take care.

  • Janet Bianchini says:
    October 26, 2009

    Hi Karenne

    Once again you have written a marvellous and very practical posting. All great stuff, which can be adapted to suit the teacher/learner situation.

    Your boundless energy and enthusiasm never ceases to amaze me. You are one cool teacher!!

  • Seth DIckens says:
    October 28, 2009

    Nice idea Karenne,

    I have done a similar thing for years as my first lesson. The main difference being I just write a bunch of facts on the board and the students have to write questions that they think each fact answers. e.g.

    7 Years - How long have you been married? How long have you lived in Italy? HOw old is your daughter? etc.

    I like the idea of the POwerpoint one, but I wonder oif teh slides don't "give away" too much info about me, meaning that the students dohn't have a motivation to write the questions?

    I did think that I could just get 5 - 10 slides repeating themselves over and over and ask the students ot write questions about that.. not sure it'd work as well though.. hmm.... thinking aloud :)

  • Seth Dickens says:
    October 28, 2009

    Well.. first things first.. I'm ever so sorry for my shocking seplling (sic) in the comment above. Methinks I must have been in a rush when I wrote it.

    Well, I went for it and tomorrow I'm gonna go for the PowerPointing myself (eek, sounds painful!) introduction with a group of 17 - 18 yr old fashion students at a local college.

    Have a look at my blog post where I've attached the slideshow if you're curious or want to know a little more about this p**s poor spelling colleague of yours :D

    Thanks for a great idea and thanks for your hard work to make this a better teaching community Karenne!



    October 29, 2009

    Seth, loved your powerpoint lesson! Have to say, it's even better than mine - am looking forward to hearing how it goes in class ;-)

    Janet, ta! Do what I can, enjoy sharing & same right back at you.

    Nick, borrowed the laminator from the school I used to work at (when I had the paper version)... now no laminator needed! Yeah!


  • powerpointing says:
    December 19, 2010

    Great suggestion. I think I may incorporate this exercise into some of my classes. Also, thanks for introducing me to photopeach.


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