St Valentine’s day might be a good excuse to get students moving and talking. This speaking activity mixes the TV show First Dates and speed dating. If you want to know what speed dating looks like, you can watch this clip from Sex and the City:

Aside from the communicative goals, this activity is also aimed at giving students a chance to mingle and get to talk to classmates other than the ones they usually sit with, to promote group cohesiveness.

For the first part of the activity, students sit in pairs. The premise is that a number of celebrities and fictional couples are taking part in a speed dating event. Every student is given a name tag (for example, student A is given “Cristiano Ronaldo” and student B “Georgina Rodríguez”). Students are then given some minutes to talk to their “date”: find out about each other, share what both of them are looking for in a relationship, see if they hit it off/if they can feel the spark, and, ultimately, assess whether they might be a match made in heaven.  

When their time is up, those students who are student A remain where they are, and students B move to the seat on their right, so that they can meet another potential partner. The teacher assigns new roles to everyone (that way, students A won’t get tired of playing the same part over and over again), but, in principle, everyone should be talking to their partner (that is, those students playing Prince Harry should always be talking to Meghan Markle. I didn’t contemplate having Prince Harry talk to, say, Princess Leia. However, now that I think of it, that might be an interesting scenario. I may try it next time).

As they are speaking, students are invited to use the expressions on this bingo card when suitable. Every time they use one of these expressions they can cross it off their card, ideally to be the first in the class to mark them all off.

Click the screenshot or here to download the pdf file

After several rounds of meeting different partners, students are asked to choose one of the roles they have played, and “be” on First Dates, describing how their date went, in their view, what they liked or didn’t like about their date, and whether they would like to have another date with that person/character. This can be recorded using a green screen and adding the First Dates signature background for effect.

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You can download the name tags here.

If you would like to know how to record a green screen video you may like: