Here’s a fun way to get students speaking in class…
The purpose is to find a different person that can answer YES for each square. They ask around…”Do you have twins in your family?” When they find a student that can answer YES, then they have them initial that box. A student can only initial once per paper. Students are forced to branch away from just their best friends. They end up asking and answering a lot of questions! I keep this activity short and sweet – only 5-10 minutes long for level 1 students.
This works with any unit of study, too! I use it with descriptions (Are you… serious, lazy, very romantic), past tense (Last night, did you…watch the news with your mom? eat dinner in a restaurant? talk on the phone to your boyfriend?) or the food unit (Do you like… cheese on your brocoli? Cereal with no milk? Coffee without sugar? Fries with mayo?)
A fellow language teacher left a comment on a post about a speaking activity. She mentioned how it can be frustrating when she organizes a speaking activity and the students get lazy and don’t stay in the target language. I agree! It is frustrating! However, I believe it takes a lot of time to get students comfortable using the language. The more chances they have to use the language to complete short tasks they less they will need to rely on English. As their teachers we can’t stop giving them chances to practice. They are not going to speak it 100% of the time unless they are really motivated or you follow them around but they will get a little better each time. I can’t force them, but I encourage them to push themselves. Notice there is a little self evauation at the bottom of the paper… (I got this from Kara a LONG time ago…)
Students are usually pretty honest about this. If the percentage using Spanish is low for a certain class I will step in and take control a bit but otherwise it’s about practice – not being perfect!
I recommend doing this activity with them and get them competing to be the first one done. I offer candy to the winner, but if I win I keep it and sometimes eat it right there in front of them!