Do you have a deck of regular playing cards? Yes? Well, you’re all done and the activity is ready to go.
This is a no prep activity that you can pull out at any time, on any topic, for any language at any proficiency level.
I call this activity Special Card (La Carte Spéciale, La Tarjeta Especial).
Here’s how it works:
- Choose one card from the deck before beginning and write it down on a piece of paper. Don’t show it to students. Keep the card in the deck
- Put students into groups of 3 or 4.
- Groups will need a piece of paper or small white board if you are focusing on writing. No need if focusing on speaking.
- Tell students that they will get a question and will either respond orally or in writing. If responses are spoken each group will need individual questions each round. If it is in writing all groups can get the same question for the round.
- I make up the prompt on the spot based on the topic. You can do this in advance, but I like to keep it “no prep.” It can be novice level questions with single words answers all the way to higher levels with questions about a reading or video.
- If the response is correct, hand the group a playing card. Their points for the round are the value of the card.
- Ace is 1 point, number cards (2-10) are their face value, a Jack is 13, a Queen is 11 and a king is 12. [The Jack, Queen & King values are arbitrary. You can make them what you would like.]
- Once all cards are earned, and the deck is depleted, groups add up their points. The final move is to reveal the Special Card, which is worth 25 or 30 additional points. The group with that card earns the additional points.
- The group with the highest points wins the round.
- Collect cards back. If there is time to play another round groups can continue with their points from the previous game or start fresh.
- If you’re playing additional games, be sure to choose new special cards each time.
The topics and proficiency levels are open depending on what you are doing in your class. Here are some prompt ideas
- What are three colors, animals, days, months, seasons, articles of clothing, activities, etc.
- Questions about concrete vocabulary themes that require a 1-2 word spoken or written response.
- Where do you …?
- When do you …?
- What are your opinions about…?
- Questions about concrete vocabulary themes that require a sentence of chunked spoken or written language as a response.
- Sentence level questions about details in a story
- Questions about personal or story details that require a complete spoken or written sentence response created by the group.
- Tell me about…
- What is…
- When did
- When will…
- Questions on themes covered in the current unit that require 2-3 spoken or written sentences that are connected by transition words.
After groups read a passage together on their own…
- Specific or general questions to demonstrate understanding
- Questions on themes covered in the reading that require 3-4 spoken or written sentences that are connected by transition words and may require speaking or writing in various time-frames.
I also talk about this activity on episode 25 of the World Language Classroom Podcast.
Posted in Activities and Games, Speaking, Writing
Tagged ACTFL, activity, french, french teacher, game, language learning, language teacher, spanish, spanish teacher, Speaking, Writing
Your students can recognize and say the the words on various vocabulary topics. They can do the same with adjectives and verb forms in a variety of tenses.
But, the challenge is finding opportunities for students to use these language elements in context that moves beyond simply saying them as individual words. We need to support our students as they level up their proficiency and strive to create language beyond novice level.
That’s where this activity comes in.
Starting Point (Point de Départ / Punto de Partida) is a partner speaking activity that is quickly and easily adaptable to any proficiency level. If your students are at the novice level (words and phrases), then they can add one or two additional words.
If they are at a higher proficiency level they can create discreet or connected sentences with connecting words, adjectives, adverbs and other vocabulary to form more complex sentences. For the activities with verb forms there are question words along with each subject/verb pair to guide students in creating sentences.
Your students will be speaking non-stop in French or Spanish without even realizing it, because the object of the activity (aka game) is what they are really focused on.
You’re probably wondering how it works, so here you go…
- This activity is done in pairs. Each player needs a pencil or pen that is a different color.
- The goal of the activity is to score the most points by filling in the most boxes.
- Player 1 begins by connecting any 2 dots. Before connecting the dots the player identifies the picture or prompt or says the verb forms on either side of the line.
- Depending on the proficiency level of the class, the players can also be prompted to use the vocabulary words or adjective/verb forms to create more complex phrases and sentences.
- If the player is not able to complete the prompt the turn passes and a line is not drawn.
- When a player draws a line to make a complete box around a picture, prompt or subject/verb pair the player fills in the box and records a point on the top of the board.
- Once all boxes are filled in the player with the most boxes wins.
So, your students know the vocabulary and adjective/verb forms, but you would like them to use these language elements in context to create sentences. Problem solved with Starting Point (Point de Départ / Punto de Partida)….and no prep for the teacher at all.
Posted in Activities and Games, Grammar and Structures, Speaking
Tagged ACTFL, activity, french, french teacher, game, language, language learning, spanish, spanish teacher
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.
All 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.
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:
This is a fun and engaging way for students to practice verb forms or any type of vocabulary. I call this shipwreck (Naufrage, Naufragio, Hǎinàn-海难, Schiffbruch, Naufragium). The board has 1oo squares, you can use fewer or more depending on the level of your students.
In the example below there are subjects and infinitives in each box. Students play against an opponent and choose a box. He then says or writes the correct verb form. The example below has the student put the verb in the past tense in French. If the opponent agrees that it is correct, the player gets to color in the square with his color, then it is the opponent’s turn. If the opponent does not agree with the response the teacher is summoned to verify. If the answer is not correct the player loses that turn. When a player gets three boxes in a row of his color he gets a point, which is recorded on the bottom. Each play has a different color and employs a blocking strategy to try to prevent the opponent from getting three boxes in a row. This works well with vocabulary (students either translate or use the word in a sentence) or adjective/adverb forms as well.
You can make these activities in a WORD Document or you can download these activities that are ready to use:
This game is best for concrete vocabulary that can be seen in pictures. You can be more creative with more challenging concepts once you work with it. Draw two grids on the board with 9 squares (3X3). This can also be done on the floor of the classroom with tape. Divide the class into two teams and give them one, two or three topics, such as food, weather expressions, furniture, animals, action verbs, clothing, body parts, or colors.
Each team must choose 9 words in the target language that fit the given topic. They then write the words in the boxes on the board. Before playing, put pictures of the vocabulary in a box for each team (there should be two boxes-one for each team- with identical pictures in each). One at a time, a player from each team reaches into their box and takes out a picture. If they have the word in their grid that corresponds to the picture, they put the picture with the word (tape, magnet, etc.). Once they get three in a row, they get a point. It is best to give them a list of 12-15 words that are in the box for each category so that the teams are not choosing words that are not even in the box. Play two or three times, alternating between the teams. This can be done with grammar structures as well, such as verb forms or adjectives. The grid can also be 4X4 or 5X5 to make room for more vocabulary and a longer game.