To set the scene, this was Friday of a 3-day weekend, the day of the Homecoming game AND the last period before the Pep Rally...let’s go TEACHING & LEARNING! My class is Spanish IV, not honors-AP track, full of exclusively juniors and seniors. Most of them are athletes or band people, so they were going to be in the pep rally in 40 minutes and they were hyped up! They rolled into my class loud, excited, covered in blue and white everything (tshirts, pom poms, beads, etc) and I decided “OK, new plan!”
It was amazing! It started off slow at first, with a few pretty simple “Me gusta futbol” type statements, but after awhile, it got rolling, the kids got the hang of raising hands and tossing the monster around, and it really started to flow. The benefit of using sports as the first topic is that it was the mini-unit we had just finished, so they were pretty confident early on with the set of questions we had created.
Language-wise, I had fun watching each of them wrestle with what they were trying to say and how to say it in the target language. When anyone used English I just marked a -1 on the sheet, and wasn’t expecting it to be a big deal. This was not a sophisticated method, as you can see below, but it worked at the moment. What I hadn’t counted on was the pointing of fingers and the “NO INGLES!!!!” that was yelled at each kid by his or her peers every time anyone slipped up. I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t negative, and it was very much a total group policing and no one’s feelings seemed to be hurt.
I have never seen that class have so much fun in one period. We all laughed so hard at the arguments and the acting and the random strings of conversation that went off and found their way back to the topic. I was so happy and so proud of them! Looking at the grid of who talked a ton and who barely talked, there was definitely a divide. I will have to think about how to make that work a little more evenly, but in the end, everyone DID speak, and as I watched them, they were all avidly listening and following the conversation. No one was spaced out or doing their own thing.
We’re going to do this again, and I’m going to think about it between now and then so I can make it better. I was thinking that maybe I’ll give point values for types of speaking to make them work a little harder at complex sentences or better questions. Also I’m going to make a better sheet to keep track that’s not a yellow piece of paper with marker scribbles. :) Anyway, I hope this helps! Please feel free to send me any feedback, and I hope very much that you can try this with your classes. I had a blast! Hope this helps! Have fun!