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F2020 Online: Ice-breakers #2

Conversation Class Lesson Summary

Language Resident Name:

Marie Segura

Day and Date:

Week 1, second class, Fall 2020

Language and Level (intermediate or advanced class):


Class theme/topics discussed:

Getting to know each other #2

How did you structure the class?


Use a very short poll to start your class, eg:

  • What’s the strangest thing you did while attending an online meeting? (Multiple choice)
    1. Ate breakfast
    2. Wore pajamas
    3. Brushed my teeth
    4. Cooked lunch/dinner
    5. Watched Netflix
    6. Other but my lips are sealed
  • What’s your best personal remote work hack? (Open text)
  • In one word, how are you feeling right now?

Activity 1 – Interviewing each other

  • Pair up participants in twos.
  • Give them a list of questions to ask each other.
  • Ask each pair to interview each other, either via email or in breakout rooms.
  • When all the participants convene together in the same virtual room, each participant will introduce the participant they interviewed.

Activity 2 – Thumbs-Up or Thumbs-Down?

  • Students should choose a view that allows the entire class to be seen at once. They can also use a voting function if one is available in the virtual tool. Students take turns stating something they like/dislike or something they’ve done. For example, “I like shrimp.” or “I’ve visited Washington, DC.” Classmates indicate their similarity or difference with the person by showing a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down (or by using the voting function).
  • To personalize the activity even more, challenge students to offer an activity or accomplishment that they think is rare or unique about themselves, and see if anyone shares it. For example, “I cleaned out my refrigerator last night.” or “I was born on February 29.”

Activity 3 – ‘One Random Object’ Virtual Training Activity

  • Ask a student to pick one random object that is in their room and not tell anyone what it is.
  • Explain that the other participants will have to guess what it is, by asking questions that require a yes or no answer.

Online tools you can use:

You could use a chat board for this, but it is not necessary. You could just run the activity by speaking and maybe use a virtual board to record the scores.

Activity 4 – ‘Take a Picture of Something’ Class Activity

  • Ask participants to take a picture of something.
  • Typically, you choose a specific theme. For example, ask participants to take a picture of their shoes, or a picture of something that is on their workstation or the view outside their window.
  • Remember to ask participants to take the picture and upload it before the training session starts, as otherwise it might take too much time out of the training session if they were to do it in real time.
  • Ask participants to share the picture on a virtual board.
  • Start a discussion. For example, you could ask why they chose that particular item on their desk, or what they like the most about the view they can see from the window etc.

Online tools you can use

Online whiteboard, chat board, or a shared google doc.

Activity 5 – Find someone who

  • To run the activity online, create a 5 by 5 table with interesting facts, one for each box of the table. For example, you could write things such as: speaks more than two languages, has been to Argentina etc. Or, it would be a good idea to tie the facts with the topic of the class.
  • Share the file with the table with your participants, either in advance or during the session. You can share by email, through the file-sharing feature of the web conferencing system or with an online sharing tool such as a Google doc. Alternatively, you could do the activity in real-time using a tool such as Padlet.
  • Depending on the size of your class, send students into breakout rooms or do it as a whole class. Ask participants to write their name under each of the statements that apply to them.
  • Ask them to share the answers and discuss.

Activity 6 – Would you rather

  • Send students into breakout rooms in groups of 3/4.
  • Send to every room a series of “would you rather question” and ask students to discuss and defend their opinion.

Resources used:

  • Shared google doc
  • Zoom chat
  • Breakout rooms

Some comments:

There are too many activities in the class, but depending on the group, some may work better than others, I think it’s always better to have a variety of activities at hand, and some can also be used to start any other class.

Potential technical difficulties: students may not be able to take a picture, so activity 4 may have to be skipped. Having too many breakout room changes can take a lot of your class time, maximum twice in one lesson should work.

F20 Online: Movies

Conversation Class Lesson Summary

Language Resident Name:

Maria Segura

Maria Glukhova

Katherine Pérez Gutiérrez

Day and Date:

Week 3-4, Fall 2020

Language and Level (intermediate or advanced class):


Class theme/topics discussed:


How did you structure the class?

Activity 1 – Talking about a specific movie (that you’ve asked your students to watch for the class)

  • While watching a movie, students should write down (in a shared Google Document) 10 words/phrases that they did not know, and that they want to use. Students should also write down an English translation for these words.
  • Each student needs to give 3 words that come to their mind when they think about the movie
  • They then need to explain their choices
  • Give 4 reasons to go and see the movie+ 1 reason not to (or the contrary).
  • Discussion about the themes used in the movie.

Activity 2 – General discussion about movies

  • What’s your favorite movie of all time?
  • What movie could you watch 50 times?
  • What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
  • What’s a movie you like even if everyone else hates it/you hate even if everyone else loves it?
  • If you could be the villain in any movie, who would you be and why?
  • If someone was to make a movie about your life, what would you like to see in it? What genre would it be? Name 3 things you’d like to be included in it?

Activity 3 – Getting to know French movies

  • Brainstorm about movie genres and characteristics
  • Show students trailers/posters of movies and ask them to guess with what synopsis and/or genre they match. Either create a poll, put students in breakout rooms or create a kahoot.
  • In pairs, the students are given the poster of a French movie and have to determine the genre and imagine the scenario of the movie. 
  • They then present the movie to the rest of the class: they first describe the poster, then  explain what they think the movie is going to be about.

Activity 4 – Jury at an Award

  • Variant #1: Students have to choose: meilleur film, meilleur acteur, meilleure actrice, meilleure musique de film, meilleurs decors, meilleurs costumes, meilleurs effets visuels/speciaux and to justify their decisions.
  • Variant #2 (cf Blanca): Students become part of the jury of the awards. After seeing part of the trailers of those films, they have to vote for the best film, best music and best animation (sharing their personal preferences and professional aspects that they can notice). 
  • Variant #3: Students watch a series of short films/animations that an LR chose for the class. All short films can be about one theme, or completely random. After watching them, students work in pairs and decide, which are their top 3 (they should come up with arguments). Then students present their choice to the class and try to prove that their top 3 was the best choice. 

Activity 5 – Creating your own movie

  • In pairs, students have to come up with a plot for a new movie. They are asked to choose random numbers that correspond to specific constraints they will have to put in their movies (genre/objects etc). They have to write on a shared google docs where they can find guidelines.
  • Potential variant (cf Blanca): Students become directors and potential leading actors and actresses. That is, each “director” interviews different potential actors in order to hire the most suitable one for a specific genre that will be randomly assigned. The directors will make questions that are important for them in order to hire an actor suitable for that film genre and the actors invent a personality that would be suitable for that genre as well. Once the interactions finish, the directors share the names of the hired actors and actresses and see if the assigned genres matched or not. 

Activity 6 – Turning it French

In pairs, ask students to choose a famous movie and imagine a French version/parody of it. When and where would it take place? Who would be the characters? Would the story change? Share a common google doc to allow them to write their thoughts and see how the others are going + give them guidelines (original movie/French version columns for instance)

Activity 7 [It was a great class about stereotypes!]

  1. Students should finish two sentences:

He was a true Russian/French/X, but he never…

She was a true Russian/French/X, but she never…

This frame helps to understand what stereotypes students have about ‘true Russians/Xs’, men and women (e.g., He was a true Russian, but he never drank vodka -> “drinking vodka” is an attribute of a stereotypical Russian person.

2. All the results from the previous activity should be written on a whiteboard. Then we talk about why and from where the students have such images of Russians/France/X.

3. In groups of 3-4, students should come up with their own movie script (maybe in a specific genre). The movie should be Hollywood-like and about a (stereo)typical Russian/X person as a protagonist. The teams should come up with an idea, a movie title, and a plot summary. If there is time, students should also draw a poster with all the information about the team and present it on a ‘festival’ to their colleagues.     

4. Conclusion and a follow-up discussion.

What technology, media or props did you use? (internet resources, playmobiles, handouts, etc.)

Zoom, Youtube

What worked well in this class? What did not work?

How could this class be improved/ modified?

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