Want to get some weird looks and questions from your family when packing for a new term of college? Get some toilet roll out…! Ready for a fun speaking activity during first lessons in any language classroom.
The ‘Loo’ Roll Speaking Activity For First Lessons
Today, I started back at college, teaching a speaking and listening course. This ‘loo’ roll activity for speaking was the first fun speaking activity that I learnt during my teacher training course in 2009. I often use it to get students to talk about themselves from the outset of a new course or class. It works for post beginners, intermediate and advanced speakers and allows them to develop confidence in speaking from early on in your classroom. Specifically, because they are talking about a topic they are familiar with and they are doing it in a non-threatening environment. The students are intrigued at first, but it’s a fantastic ice breaker for first lessons and gets the learners speaking and communicating with each other.
- Get 2-3 rolls of toilet roll and distribute them around the classroom once students have sat down. Advise they can take as many sheets of toilet roll as they like and they will find out later what its for, so keep it safe.
- When ready, ask them to count how many sheets they have taken. Find out who has the most, least and somewhere in the middle.
- Put the students into groups of 3-4 and ask them what they think the sheets of loo roll represent. Normally, someone figures it out. If not, tell them that it’s for a ‘getting to know you’ speaking activity.
- Instruct the students that they must take it in turns to introduce themselves and their lives in their first lessons. Each sheet of toilet roll represents one fact that they must share about themselves. You can pool ideas on the types of topics they can describe, i.e. family / friends / place of birth / holidays / hobbies / past / future / likes / dislikes / routine / work etc and display them on the board to help.
- One person starts by ripping a sheet of the toilet roll and putting it in the middle of the table, after giving one fact about themselves. Repeat by going around the table until all toilet paper is on the table. Encourage students to give words, phrases, sentences and short stories, depending on their level. Also encourage others to ask questions to obtain further information and support learners who are struggling with what to tell the group about themselves.
- Go around the classroom, making notes of common errors and go through together on the board. Often, if these are common errors, individuals will struggle to find the correction, so allow students to work in small groups to find the errors first.
I can’t actually believe how much toilet paper costs these days, so if you’d prefer, you can always cut paper into small squares and put it into a couple of plastic wallets to achieve the same outcome.
If you found this fun speaking activity for first lessons useful, check out some of my other speaking ideas for the language classroom: