I stumbled across this activity when the textbook I was using had an example of it. Palm Reading turned out to be one of the better activities I’ve seen in an ESL book, and I’ve adapted it to work for a variety of classes. It primarily works with higher levels, although some mid-level classes can handle it.
First, show a PowerPoint detailing palm lines. You can find these on different ESL websites, or use my own. You can also put one together yourself, although you’re looking at an hour of preparation work, at least. Still, if you do it right and save it, you can use it again and again.
Explain to the students about the lines on their hands and what each is supposed to mean and portend. Just going over this and the new vocabulary words that arise should take you some time.
Next, put two students together and let them try to read each other’s palms. Encourage them to have some fun, and try to get them to make a conversation or dialogue. One person can be the palm reader, and one person could be the person having their palm read.
I’ll usually model this activity with my own dialogue, where the person getting the reading invariably has something bad befall them. Either they’re going to lose all of their money, get hurt real bad, or die. Whatever happens, something will come out of the reading, and the palm reader will usually ask for an exorbitant amount of money.
Even if you just show the PowerPoint and don’t get much in the way of a dialogue, which has happened to me several times, you’ll still be killing a good 20 to 30 minutes of class.