This activity designed to get students expressing opinions about a range of topics is a great getting to know each other exercise. It works very well as a first class icebreaker with Intermediate and above students as it forces them to mingle and have conversations, and there’s an opportunity to discuss some of the issues raised at the end.
Print out the opinion cards (or write your own) and hand each student 5 cards at random. Give students a chance to read their cards while you deal with any questions about meaning and vocabulary.
Tell students that they should hold onto cards that state opinions with which they strongly agree, these are theirs to keep. Meanwhile, they have to try to pass on any opinion cards with which they don’t agree. They do this by mingling with the other students and asking if their opinion about the topic expressed on the card. If they find someone who agrees with the opinion then that person takes the card and adds it to the cards they already hold.
When the activity seems to be coming to a natural end, tell students to give you any cards which they haven’t managed to dispose of, and to return to their places.
Now, go through the opinion cards that were unclaimed and see if anyone is willing to take any of them, then go around the class asking students to reveal which opinion cards they are holding and say a few words about why they support this opinion, this should spur plenty of debate and discussion and provide plenty of opportunities for language input while the students start to learn more about their classmates.