Pick a Card: a Getting to Know You Game

I have yet to meet a student who didn’t cringe (inwardly or outwardly!) at the start of a new semester or the first rehearsal when they hear their teacher say, “Ok, let’s go around the circle and share an interesting fact about ourselves!” So. Much. Pressure. Here’s a game that helps teachers and students get to know each other without the stress of having to come up with an interesting fact — all you have to do is answer a question. You’ll need a deck of playing cards and a printout of our question set, found at the bottom of this article.

Grab your cards and deal out a card face down to each student, or fan out cards face down and let each student select one. The number on the card corresponds to a pre-set question. If a student gets the Joker card, they get to choose which question they answer. The questions can be theatre-related (“Do you like plays or musicals better and why?”), drama class-related (“What is something you’re hoping to learn in drama class this term?”), personality-related (“Are you a morning person or a night owl?”), likes/dislikes-related (“What’s your favourite meal? Describe it.”), or combination of any of them. You might even have your students submit suggestions and select the best ones to ask. Just keep it light — you’re all getting to know each other. You’ll have time to go deeper later in the term.

If you think your students would benefit from knowing the questions in advance, print out copies of the question list and hand them out, or make a large copy and post/project it at the front of the room. This may help reduce some potential anxiety over “What question am I going to be asked?” Your students might appreciate being allowed to turn their cards over and look at them secretly for a few moments, so they can see the question and have a little time to think about their answers. They might also like the thrill of not knowing their question until the last minute! Just make sure everyone turns their cards back over while others are answering, so everyone can listen respectfully.

Here’s an example of how your question sheet might look:

  • Ace = What is your favourite meal? Describe it.
  • Two = What is something you enjoy doing in your spare time?
  • Three = What is something you’re hoping to learn in drama class?
  • Four = What is your favourite way to consume media (social media, videos, podcasts)?
  • And so on. Jack, Queen, King, and Joker follow Ten. Check the bottom of this article for a full template.

Here are some ways to mix up the gameplay:

  • Interview: Divide students into pairs. Deal out three cards to each pair. Have the partners interview each other using the questions related to the cards.
  • Trades: Before looking at the card, the student has the option to trade cards with another student who hasn’t yet answered their question. (Unfortunately this means that the student who goes last doesn’t get to trade, but this might encourage students to volunteer to go sooner!)
  • Suits: If the suit of the chosen card is Hearts (no matter what number the card is), the student must mime their answer. You can add additional challenges to each suit if you like. For example: Diamonds = sing your answer, Spades = answer in a funny voice, Clubs = speak your answer while doing some sort of gesture or movement.
  • Dice Roll: Before looking at the card, give the student the option to roll a die. If they get a 1 or 2, they will answer their question. If they get a 3 or 4, they will have to trade cards with another student nearby and answer the question on the new card. If they get a 5 or 6, they will have to draw a second card and answer that question as well.
  • Hot Seat: Have three students draw cards and ask YOU the questions corresponding to the numbers on the cards.
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