The simplest way of using this idea is to ask them to find a certain number of things in common as quickly as possible or to find as many things in common as they can in a fixed time period, e.g. 5 minutes. They could do this by making statements about themselves that they think is also true of their partner (e.g. “I am human” “So am I”), asking questions to get responses that they think they can agree with (e.g. “Were you born in this city?” “Yes, I was” “Me too”), or make statements about their partner and themselves that their partner can then confirm or deny (e.g. “We both/ all like ice cream” “Actually, it hurts my teeth so I don’t really go for it very much” “Oh, right. That’s just me then”). With lower level classes and groups that you haven’t used similar activities with, it is usually best to say which of these three methods you want them to use. The simplest of the three is making personal statements for your partner to react to (“I like my English teacher” “Me too! I love her!”
As this activity naturally produces a range of tenses and auxiliary verbs, it is a great activity for reviewing those. It is also very easy to adapt the simple method above to other language points, for example:
- Find things in common about last weekend/ last week/ last night/ yesterday (Simple Past)
- Find things that you were doing at the same time yesterday/ at the weekend/ last night (Past Continuous)
- Make predictions about your future/ your career/ this weekend/ tonight that your partner also thinks are true for them (Will)
- Find things that you are both doing right now, e.g. “I am breathing” and “I am wearing make up” (Present Continuous)
- Find plans and ambitions that both of you have (Going to)
- Use these words and expressions to find things in common (Vocabulary revision, e.g. phrasal verbs)
- Find as many things in common as you can which use the word “make” (Collocations)
- Find things in common about next weekend (A mix of future tenses, mainly Going to and Present Continuous for future arrangements)
The variations below also make it possible to use this idea for quantifiers and the language of likes and dislikes.
You can feedback as a class by asking the team who have say that they have the most things in common or finished first to say what they have in common. If they can’t remember that number of things, the chance to win is passed to another team. Alternatively, each team can read out one thing that they think most people in the class also have in common (for everyone to react to) and one thing that they think is not true for most of their classmates.
Students are usually familiar with the phrase “Me too” and maybe some other phrases with the same function such as “So do I” and “So can I”. They might also know the negative forms of “Me neither” and “Neither ______ I”. For higher level classes it is possible to extend this language with more idiomatic phrases such as “What a coincidence/ You’re kidding/ No way, I ____________ too” and “That’s the same with me”. What is more likely to be worth the effort of teaching at any level, however, is language to use when they don’t have things in common, e.g. “Really? I….” and “Do you? I…”