TEFL Activity: Easy Icebreaker for Writing and Speaking

By Colleen Luckett
October 29, 2018
Students Doing ESL Icebreakers

Are you looking for a really fun, easy TEFL icebreaker activity that doesn’t require much material or prep-time? Bridge English teacher, Colleen Luckett, who recently taught us How to Use Emojis to Teach English has got you covered with this writing/speaking activity for intermediate-level and above classes. It works well for first-class introductions or can be used anytime you want to get students mingling and talking.

Step 1

This TEFL icebreaker activity works best with classes of at least four students. Have all students write down one to three open-ended questions they want to ask their fellow students to get to know them (one question works best for large classes, three for small classes). Be sure to explain that you don’t want questions that can be answered with just a “yes” or “no.” Model examples of open questions and closed questions for extra emphasis.

For example:

Open-ended questions (require a full answer):

What do you like to do on the weekends?

What is one of your favorite English TV shows or movies and why?

Closed questions (yes/no questions, to be avoided in this activity):

Do you like to travel?

Do you watch English TV shows?

Step 2

When the students are finished writing their questions, have them crumple up their papers and throw them into a box you pass around.

Step 3

Now have each student reach into the box and pull out one of the balls of paper, making sure it’s not their own, of course! Ask the students to introduce themselves, say where they are from, and then answer the question(s) on the paper.


If it’s a small class and you have time, ask them follow-up questions if necessary and/or have other students ask follow-up questions. If you have an attendance sheet, you could take quick notes next to each name as students speak. This will help you remember names and get to know your students a little.


Browse other ESL classroom activities here!