meet me halfway

If I was in Boston and you were in Washington DC, where could we meet halfway? A good meeting point would be New York.

If I want to sell my bike for 60 euros and you offer 20, where do we meet halfway? The bike is yours for 40 euros.

But what if I say “exhausted” and you say “rush”? Where can we meet halfway? Is it “traffic”, is it “racing”, is it “last minute shopping”? What is it? What might it be?

I am not exaggerating if I say that this is probably my all-time favourite warmer. It can’t get any more creative and fun and it really gets your students concentrated and immersed in the language right away.

Ask your students, as they settle into their seats, to pick a lexical item they have recently seen in class. It could an isolated word or a word as part of a language chunk. Then get them into pairs and tell them that, at the count of three, they have to say their words at the same time (they may have to repeat them a couple of seconds later, as the overlap might interfere with understanding). It will be a good idea to share the first two analogies that I used at the opening paragraphs to introduce the activity the first time you want to try it out.

Then they have to find a word that can go in the middle, that is, that can meet both words halfway. “Grey” will meet “black” and “white” halfway and “sleepwalker” might be an interesting halfway choice for “awake” and “asleep” but let’s go back to the first example (that was used by two of my students the other day). The students in question said “exhausted” and “rush” and their halfway lexical items were “traffic” and “Christmas shopping”. Once again, they have to think of halfway words or expressions. When both are ready, they say them at the count of three. This is how things unfolded:

“exhausted” and “rush” → “traffic” and “Christmas shopping” → “crowds” and “shoppers” → “sales” and “shopping centre” → “shops” and “clothes” → “clothes shop” and… “clothes shop”.

The aim of the activity is to eventually say the same thing as your speaking partner. In many instances, after seven or eight rounds, it does happen. And when it does, it really leads to surprise and laughter.

A frills-free and zero prep activity suitable to all language levels.

2 thoughts on “meet me halfway

  1. I liked this activity and it’s a great idea. A warmer is an activity at the beginning of class? I think the idea of focusing on just a few words, but also having the freedom to be creative is a great focus for students and it’s nice to see an exciting new idea for a class activity.


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