Saturday, March 22, 2014

That's how I roll - Games to practice conversations

I don't like to make mistakes. And neither do my kids. Getting students to take the risk and speak in Spanish can be a challenge, especially as they get older. One way to lower that affective filter is to make speaking fun. Here are 3 games I use in class to get my students talking.

Matching Game - Students use the same cards from Manos Rápidos but this time they get 1-4 cards each. Walking around the room they either have to find the other person who has their matching card OR they have to trade cards to get 3 of a kind. To get their matches first they have to say Hola, then they play jankenpón (or your TL's version of rock, paper, scissors.) The student who wins asks for a card while the loser has to hand over the card if they have it. Almost any conversation you are practicing in class can be used for example:

Losing Student : Where are you from?
Winning Student: I'm from (name of country card he wants.)

LS: How's the weather?
WS: Its (weather of the card he wants.)

LS: How are you?
WS: I'm (emotion card he wants.)

And so on and so forth. They sit down when they have their matches so I can see who is still working. Or sometimes they come up to me and I give them new cards so they can keep playing. the dice - This is fun with regular dice but is SUPER fun if you happen to have some over-sized or fluffy dice. I have two big fluffy dice I use when we play as a whole group and over-sized dice from the dollar store for games in pairs. To play this game, students roll the dice. Whatever number they roll corresponds to a question their partner then asks them in the TL. Then they switch. You can change up the questions for any vocabulary you are studying. I also like to include a few review questions in there as well.

Dance Party! - My kids perk up whenever they see dance party on my whiteboard schedule. This is a simple game to motivate them to practice the conversation we are studying. I play some music and students dance around the room. When the music stops they have to freeze, then find a friend. They give them a high five and then practice their conversation in Spanish. Make it more interesting by giving them a card with different information that they have to exchange.
Pass the ball - This is another super simple game and is a good one to pull out if you have a few extra minutes at the end of class. The students sit in a circle and pass a ball back and forth. They have to ask and answer a question in the TL before passing. For example - My name is Jennifer. What's your name? If you want students to have more turns split them up into smaller groups, with each group having their own ball.

What are some of the games you play to get your students talking in the TL? Share in the comments below! I love new ideas (in fact the pass the ball game came from a comment here on another post!)

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