Category Archives: Speaking

Hide and Speak (or Write): Foreign Language Activity to Practice Speaking and Writing

I’m always looking for ways to get students up and moving in the classroom while they are practicing their foreign language speaking and writing skills.  This is an activity that I call “Hide and Speak (or write)” that accomplishes this goal and students enjoy it and often ask to play.  I’m happy to oblige because they speak (or write) so much during this activity.

Hide and Speak (or Write): Foreign (Wolrd) Language Activity to Practice Speaking and Writing (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.com

  • Begin by hiding 20-30 prompt cards.  These can be index cards with vocabulary words, an image, a question about a reading, or proficiency-based questions aligned with ACTFL standards.  The possibilities are endless for prompts based on the material that is being covered in class.  Memory Cards or  Task Cards work very well for this this activity.
  • Pairs of students set out to find the prompts and when they do they return to the teacher with the card and perform the task: identify the image in the target language, use the word or verb in a sentence, answer a proficiency-based question or complete a Task Card.  Lots of possibilities.  This can all be through speaking or writing.  When writing I give pairs a small white board and marker.
  • If the pair responds correctly they can get a point for their team or the teacher can make it a point for the entire class with the goal being to get a certain number of points collectively in a specified amount of time.  The teacher keeps the prompt card and the pair sets back out.
  • Be sure to tell pairs that they need to wait in line to check in with the teacher so that that they don’t call crowd in.

Check out these task cards these task cards and memory cards that work well in this activity.

Get Students Moving and Practicing Foreign Language Vocabulary

This a very effective go-to activity that requires very little prep and gets students moving and using the target language immediately.  It’s also a great way to use a set of memory/concentration cards that you may have in your classroom.  If you need cards you can find them here:

Get Students Moving and Practicing Foreign (World) Language Vocabulary (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comSet up desks or tables around room, spaced out enough for students to move around, and put several pictures on each table. Play music and kids move around (maybe dance if they are so inclined), then when the music stops students stand behind a table.

Choose a word card, say it out loud and student with that picture identified says they he/she has the corresponding picture card on his/her table (int he target language of course). He/she then uses the word in a sentence and puts a point up by his/her name on the board. Play the music again and continue the same process of stopping the music and students saying a sentence with the word if they had the picture match.

Students really enjoyed this activity, review lots of vocabulary, and speak a lot.  You can also allow the winner of the round to be the one to start and stop the music the next time, choose a word card and say it to the class.  Try this with verb forms as well, with the conjugations 0n the desks.

Foreign Language Interactive Speaking Activity to Practice Vocabulary and Structures

El Camino/Le Chemin is an engaging and interactive speaking activity that students can do in pairs or small groups. Very quick set-up with no prep needed. Just print out the two pages that make up the game board and students are ready to go.  Students can do this activity in groups of 2 or 3. Each player needs a game piece to move around the board. They can use a bingo chip, a coin or any object of similar size. One die is also needed for the activity.

Foreign (World) Language Interactive Speaking Activity (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comAll players start at “Début” or “Comeinzo.” Taking turns, each player rolls the die and moves the number of spaces rolled. The object is to land on the numbered boxes in the correct order (1-12). They can move in any direction, but they can’t use the same box twice in a turn. They can share a box with another player. The winner is the first player to land on square #12. The game can be made longer by having players return to “Début”  or “Comienzo”and work toward #12 a second time.

Foreign (World) Language Interactive Speaking Activity (French, Spanish) www.wlteacher.wordpress.com

Each time a player rolls the die and moves closer to the next number, he/she must say the verb, number, time, category word, etc. of the square he/she lands on. They can also be required to say a complete sentences.

You can download these activities here:

Foreign Language Speaking Activity, Easily Adapted to Proficiency Levels

This activity gives students a chance to express themselves confidently at their current proficiency level.  It is easily adapted by simply prompting students as to how they should speak (text type).

Foreign (World) Language Speaking Activity, Based onProficiency Levels (French, Spanish) www.wlteacher.wordpress.comTypically I have students work in pairs or in groups of 3. Begin by setting up a sheet with 12 categories on it that are number 1-12.  Provide 2 dice along with this paper.  Give each pair or group a small bag (not transparent) with small slips of colored paper along with a sheet that has a point value assigned to each color. For fun I also include a “Zut” or “Caramba” color which has no points assigned. You could also  put slips of parer with point values in the bag, but I like to keep it more engaging and colorful.  You can project the category sheet that the entire class can reference, but again I prefer to keep the activity centered in the group, so I provide an individual reference sheet.  The plastic frames that can hold a sheet of paper have come in very handy for me with various activities.

Foreign Language Speaking Activity, Easily Adapted to Proficiency LevelsStudents begin by each individually rolling 1 or both dice and attend to the category of the number.  If done correctly (group consensus), the student chooses a colored slip out of the bag and keeps a running total of points.  He/She puts the slip back in the bag.  After a predetermined amount of play time, the “winner” is the students with the highest points.

The teacher can easily adapt the speaking to the proficiency level of the students by using the tasks/functions and text types by ACTFL proficiency level.  You can learn more about these asks/functions and text types on the ACTFL OPI website.  Be sure to download the OPI Familiarization Manual.

If the students are at the novice level, they will give one word answers or short phrases, most likely giving an example of something in that category.  If they are at the intermediate level they can speak using a series of sentences or be required to ask a question of another player about the topic.  If students are at the advanced level they can speak at length in paragraph form.  The categories at this level will need to be more complex in nature, perhaps pertaining to world events or characters and plot in a story.

An Exercise in Foreign Language Circumlocution

The 100th day of school is a very important day in many elementary schools and there are lots of activities to celebrate, all based on the number 100. Each year, I challenge my 3rd graders to list 100 words and expressions that they know in the target language in 20 minutes. I give pairs of students a card with a category and they brainstorm words and expressions. It’s a great way for them to use category words in preparation for circumlocution.

An Exercise in Foreign Language Circumlocution (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comWe then write the list. I always hold off on using the words for numbers, unless they are needed to reach 100. We did not need to resort to them this year.  It is all about the context.  Rather than listing words for fruit, ask students to tell you which fruits are their favorite, or to describe the colors.  Instead of asking for examples of verbs, have students tell you what they like to do on the weekends with their friends, and follow it up with when and where.  Once they communicate in context the words and expressions keep coming.

A Change in Words Can Change a Student’s Mindset

I’ve been reading a lot about student motivation and I wrote a post last summer about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.  The focus of that post was student choice in what they talk and write about so that the motivation to use the foreign language is self-motivated (intrinsic) rather than the motivation being a grade or to please the teacher (extrinsic).  The more I have searched the internet and communicated with teachers in my Personal Learning Network (PNL) the more I have found that students can take a more metacognitive approach to motivation.  This will help to make motivation that is typically more extrinsic more intrinsic.

A Change in Words Can Change a Student's Mindset (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comIt essentially comes down to changing how students approach challenging linguistic situations.  This is reminiscent of Vygotsky’s Private Speechwhich is speech spoken to oneself for communication, self-guidance, and self-regulation of behavior.  He argued that children use private speech when learning to navigate the word around them, including language development.  If students change the words and questions they use to approach their work, the outcome will be different. A mindset that is more focused on growth and overcoming challenges will lead to higher confidence and a clearer understanding, whereas a fixed mindset causes students to limit their confidence and potential (Carol Dweck, Mindset).

Here are some examples of self-talk (private speech) that follow a fixed mindset along with a change in approach that is more focused on a growth mindset.  The examples are in English, Spanish and French as they can be easily assimilated into the world language classroom.  Perhaps students can write their own growth statements.

A Change in Words Can Change a Student's MindsetA Change in Words Can Change a Student's MindsetA Change in Words Can Change a Student's Mindset

Using QR Codes to Record and Access Student Speaking

Once you get a hang of the process, creating QR codes to access student recordings is fairly straight forward and students can quickly learn to do it themselves.  There are mays ways to use QR codes in the foreign language classroom.

Using QR Codes to Record and Access Student Speaking (Foreign Language, French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comOne thing I like to do is make the codes available to parents so that they can listen to their kids speaking the language.  For example, I made this bulletin board interactive so that the students voices can be heard reading their writing assignment.  All it takes is a QR reading app on a smartphone to quickly and instantly hear the student’s voice.

Using QR Codes to Record and Access Student Speaking (Foreign Language, French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comHere are the steps for recording audio and creating a QR Code.  There are various apps for recording audio and a number of website to create QR codes.  These are simply the ones that I use.

Record on an app like Voice Record (available for free).

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You can use Google drive to upload the audio files or Dropbox .    Create a folder for the audio. Put the audio files into the folder.

Using QR Codes to Record and Access Student Speaking (Foreign Language, French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comClick on an audio file and select share.

Using QR Codes to Record and Access Student Speaking (Foreign Language, French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comCopy the URL.

Using QR Codes to Record and Access Student Speaking (Foreign Language, French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comGenerate a QR link. Use http://www.qrstuff.com/
Paste the URL into the box and QR code will generate to the right. You can download the image or copy the image from the screen.

Using QR Codes to Record and Access Student Speaking (Foreign Language, French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.com

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Grammar Topics (Dice Game)

This fun and engaging speaking activity is a great opportunity for students to practice language structures.  These activities focus on grammar points and are similar to the vocabulary activities in a previous post.

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Grammar Topics (Dice Game) French and Spanish wlteacher.wordpress.comStudents can do this activity in groups of 2 or 3. Each group needs a copy of the game board, one die, and 36 bingo chips.

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Grammar Topics (Dice Game)Players take turns rolling the die twice. The first number is the vertical number and the second number is the horizontal number. The player locates the box at the intersection of the two numbers and says the correct form of the subject and verb in the box. For more of a challenge players can be required to use the verb form in a sentence.  There are also possibilities for other grammar points such as adjectives, possessive and demonstrative adjectives.

If correct, the player scores the number of points in the box. Once a box is used the player covers the box with a bingo chip and that box can’t be used again. If a player rolls the die and the corresponding box is taken he/she forfeits the turn.

Play continues between players until all the squares are covered. The winner will be the player with the most points once the board is covered.

You can download complete version of these activities in French and Spanish on the topics listed below.

Spanish Language Structure Activities

French Language Structure Activities

Topics:

  • Regular Verbs
  • Irregular Verbs
  • Present Tense
  • Past Tenses
  • Future Tense
  • Demonstrative Adjectives
  • Possessive Adjectives

Chat Stations in the World Language Classroom

When I read about Chat Stations on the Cult of Pedagogy website and I immediately saw how this could be very beneficial in the world language classroom.  This procedure gives students an opportunity to work cooperatively in the target language while moving around the room and working with different prompts.

Chat Stations in the Foreign (World) Language Classroom. (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comThe types of prompts can be as simple as makings lists for novice learners (fruit, vegetable, clothing, city locations), describing a photo for intermediate learners, or stating and supporting opinions for more advanced language learners.  It is a fairly easy set-up and follow-up as a large group will be much richer once students have worked on the prompts in small groups.  This type of activity is also an effective opportunity for formative assessment and feedback from the teacher as the teacher circulates among the groups and interacts as necessary to clear up any language issues that groups may struggle with. Here is a video from Cult of Pedagogy explaining how to use and set-up Chat Stations.

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Foreign Language Vocabulary (Dice Game)

This fun and engaging speaking activity is a great opportunity for students to practice vocabulary.Students can do this activity in groups of 2 or 3. Each group needs a copy of the game board, one die, and 36 bingo chips.

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Foreign (World) Language Vocabulary (French, Spanish) wlteacher.worpress.com

Players take turns rolling the die twice. The first number is the vertical number and the second number is the horizontal number. The player locates the box at the intersection of the two numbers and identifies the picture in the box. For higher proficiency levels players can use word in a sentence.

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Foreign (World) Language Vocabulary (French, Spanish) wlteacher.worpress.comIf correct, the player scores the number of points in the box. Once a box is used the player covers the box with a bingo chip and that box can’t be used again. If a player rolls the die and the corresponding box is taken he/she forfeits the turn.

Play continues between players until all the squares are covered. The winner will be the player with the most points once the board is covered.

You can download complete version of these activities in French and Spanish on the topics listed below.  Take a look at this post if you are looking for this activity with more of focus on language structures.

Spanish Vocabulary Activities

French Vocabulary Activities

Topics:

  • Animals
  • Classroom
  • Clothing
  • Colors
  • Fruits & Vegetables
  • Rooms & Furniture
  • City Places
  • Food & Drinks
  • Jobs and Professions
  • Transportation
  • Days, Months, Date
  • Time
  • Numbers 1-50
  • Numbers 1-000
  • Numbers 1-1,000