Sticking to Spanish

One of the biggest struggles when you have a class of 20-30 students is to engage them in speaking the language. While obviously it would be nice to converse with them one-on-one or pair them up with a native speaker, our best bet is to pair them up with another classmate for partner work. Unfortunately, students sometimes do not remember the point of the exercises: to communicate meaning in the target language.

I often will remind students of the purpose of the activity and remind me that the objective is to not get ALL of the answers as quickly as you can or to just fill in the worksheet. The objective is to practice speaking Spanish. A reminder of this fact every so often seems to be helpful.

One way to try to keep students in the target language is to provide them with possible questions they may need to ask their partner. A lot of students do not know how to verify their answer or their partner’s response. Especially in gap-fill activities, students frequently want to verify what their partner has said. By putting these questions up on the board, it allows students to stay in the target language while being able to complete the activity.

A fun way to get students to stay in the target language is to have students police themselves. Using the concept of the culturally-supported sport of fútbol, students act as the “referee” to their classmates. They can issue a “tarjeta roja” to offending students. You can use this as a gentle reminder, or you can even use it to downgrade student participation grades much like some teachers use a Págame system in their classroom.

 Download a FREE printable tarjeta roja
For communicative activities….One such activity is an info-gap fill where students are put into a real life situation where they would have to listen to Spanish to do a task. This activity for practicing food vocabulary imagines students filling out the food orders at a hospital cafeteria. Students place cut-out food pictures on the correct “trays” based on the patients’ dietary restrictions.

Comida Speaking Activity
The following units have students describe a picture to their partner, and the partner re-create the drawing. Works great with whiteboards.

                  Prepositions of Location Cuerpo Unit

About spanishplans

Spanish Teacher in Chicago. Have studied or traveled to Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and Uruguay. Have taught level 1 at middle and high school levels. Degree in Spanish and Master's in Teaching and Leadership. Blogger
This entry was posted in Discussion/Methodology, Resources, Speaking and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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