Author: Deb Bullock | Published on 1 February 2024


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

My learners love mingle activities because they can walk around and talk to different classmates. Sentences in a bag is good for reviewing and practising questions and you can practise different verb tenses. You need some space and it’s noisy, so I do it outside if the weather’s okay.

Stage 1: Plan

You need a bag (or a box).

Prepare strips of paper (1 per learner). 

Decide what verb tense you will practise, e.g. present simple, present continuous, past simple, present perfect.

Stage 2: Introduce

Say: ‘Today you will write sentences using the present simple.’ Elicit some examples, e.g. My favourite football team is Chelsea; I have 3 brothers and 2 sisters; etc.

Stage 3: Prepare

Give each learner a strip of paper.

Say: 'Write 1 true sentence. Use present simple. Don’t write your name.' Monitor and support. It doesn’t matter if some learners write the same sentence.

Collect the papers in a bag or a box.


Make 2 mingle groups if you have more than 20 learners. 

Stage 4: Model

Take 1 slip of paper out of the bag. Read it to the class. (E.g. My favourite football team is Chelsea.)

Say: ‘I want to know who wrote this. What question should I ask?’ Elicit ‘What’s your favourite football team?’

Walk round the room. Ask different learners the question until one says ‘yes’. Return the paper.

Give each learner a paper. Say: ‘Don’t show your paper to your classmates.’

Say: ‘Think about your question.’ Support if necessary. 

Stage 5: Mingle

Say: ‘When I say go, stand up, walk around and ask your question. Find who wrote the sentence. Return the paper. Remember their name.’

Circulate, monitor and support if necessary.  


Learners can ask a follow-up question, e.g. Who’s your favourite Chelsea player?

Stage 6: Extend and share

Ask: ‘Did you find who wrote the sentence? Do you remember their name? Do you remember the sentence?’

Say: ‘Write the sentence again; this time start with the name.’ Elicit an example if necessary. (E.g. Eric’s favourite football team is Chelsea.)

Circulate, monitor and support if necessary. (Sentences will change to 3rd person, e.g. James has 3 brothers and 2 sisters.)

Ask some learners to share their sentences with the class.

Learners may find interesting or surprising information about their classmates. Encourage them to share this with the class. Encourage learners to ask more questions if they want to know more.  


Mingle: A type of task in which students move about the room and speak to other students at random.

Elicit: How a teacher gets information from learners, e.g. asking questions, prompting.

Circulate: move continuously or freely

Monitor: The way a teacher watches to see how well an individual, group or class is doing a particular task.