I’m always looking for a way to give the small-talk at the start of your lesson a bit of a boost, which is why I cooked up this activity to get a bit more journey out of the first 10-15 minutes of my class.


I draw a graph on a large sticky note with some board markers and quickly explain how it relates to something successful (or unsuccessful) in my life since I last met the group. The class usually gets the choice to either stick to work things, non-work things or to mix the two together. They usually go for non-work things!

I then give each learner a pack of sticky notes and tell them to draw three graphs. Once they’ve finished, they stick them on the board and give a mini presentation about last week. Afterwards, we ask follow up questions. I take notes and address some language that came out of the activity. The board after the activity could look like this:

2014-12-10 13.46.03

2014-12-17 09.33.48


Sometimes this really gets going and the graphs turn into a pre-task to activate language for a simulation for an update meeting or, if you work in with any techie students, a stand-up meeting. Other times it’s just a nice warmer to share some information with the class in a visual way with and practice presentation skills.


If you’re thinking of trying this activity and thinking how it might fit into the rest of your lesson, you might want to consider these language points:

  1. Lexis and formulaic language for explaining graphs

  2. Present perfect for recent changes

  3. Formulaic language for giving updates

  4. Formulaic language for presentations (especially for signposting and talking about structure)

  5. Story-telling with visual aids.

If you use this lesson – let me know how it goes!

Dale Coulter

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