In this activity, students improvise situations in which they are forced to make small talk with random people they bumped into in random places. It is a great game to start or finish your more advanced classes. It helps students work on their fluency and think on their feet in English.
You might lead this activity in two different ways:
Cut up the cards. Student stand in a circle, take turns drawing one card from a pile and enact the situation with a fellow student.
Cut up two sets of paper strips (1= the person they meet and 2= the location). Fold the strips so that only the number is visible. Alternatively, print the sets on sheets of paper in different colours.
Students stand in a circle. Each student draws two separate strips of paper (1 and 2) and enacts the situation with a fellow student. In this scenario yo get random situations which might turn out to be funnier than the Grid.
I came up with this idea when my C1 students and I got into a discussion about the nature of small talk and tried t agree on topics that actually might work. At the same time, they admitted that they dreaded being in situations they would have to engage in small talk, God forbid in English on top of that. Providing them with a couple of probable scenarios helped them get a better feeling of how making small talk might go (running into a colleague from a different department in the bathroom line might not necessarily lead to discussing politics right away, right?). This activity turned out to be a hilarious, student-centred game that at the same time required fast thinking and encouraged the use of discourse markers (e.g. anyway, right?, oh well, I see)
Take a look at my small talk board game to more practice.