Battleship


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How it works


Students work in pairs.
  1. Create a grid
  2. Students place a certain number of "boats" on the grid
  3. Students try to discover the location of the other player's "boats" in order to "sink" them. They do this by asking about individual locations on the grid.
  4. Because students can't see the other's grid, they must listen and understand what their partner is saying

Possible uses

  • Numbers and letters (traditional Battleship game)
  • Practicing simple exchanges that require yes/no answers (yes would be a "hit," no would be a "miss")

Examples


Debate


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How it works

I have ZERO experience with real debating beyond the two times I had to do it in high school history classes. There is lots of information online about the rules and procedures for different debating styles. When I had a debate as part of a Spanish IV class, though, I decided to simpify the procedures a bit. Here's how I did it:
  1. Explained the topic and target grammar. In this case, the class would be nominating an animal for a Nobel Prize. We had been working on the conditional. I encouraged them to use it during the activity and showed some things they could say with it.
  2. I divided the class into two teams
  3. The teams had a few minutes to decide (in Spanish) which animal they were choosing.
  4. They had a few minutes to plan some arguments
  5. A few minutes to plan some counter-arguments (are these "rebuttals?")
  6. I explained the rules
    • Raise your hand to speak
    • One person speaks at a time
    • Everyone must participate
    • Spanish only
  7. I alternated between teams with this pattern:
    • Team A: Statement
    • Team B: Rebuttal, statement
    • Team A: Rebuttal, statement

Possible uses

  • Could use debate to focus on practicing the conditional: "I would nominate this person because..." "This animal would be better because..."
  • Focus debate on a topic/using vocabulary you are currently studying
  • Some possible topics
    • Silly topics (may helo to lower affecive filter)
      • Cats vs. dogs
      • Paper vs. plastic
    • Topics relevant to students
      • Cell phones should be allowed in all classes
      • Modification to tardy/parking/detention/etc. policies
      • Eliminate school dances/sports teams/certain class requirements/etc.
      • (Schools with uniforms) Students should be allowed free dress once a week
    • Political topics
      • Pledge of Allegiance/prayer/soda machines/advertising in public schools?
      • Should the legal drinking/voting/military/smoking age be changed?


Describe and Guess


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How it works

  1. Students describe something
  2. A partner (or the class) has to guess what it is

Possible uses

  • Describing people (verb "to be," adjectives, etc.)
    • Famous people
    • People in class
    • Literary characters
    • EXAMPLE: "This person is a boy. He has brown hair. He is a student. He doesn't have parents. He has friends. Their names are Ron and Hermione."
  • Family
    • Describe family relation:
    • EXAMPLE: "The sister of my mother is my..."
  • Clothing
    • Describe people in the class according to what they're wearing
    • EXAMPLE: "This person is wearing a blue sweater and jeans..."
  • Verb "to see"
    • "I Spy" (I have my student play this in Franglais)

Discussion Circle


How it works

Foster a conversation in the target language with students. Some ideas:
  1. Prepare with a discussion topic and questions
  2. Have students sit on the floor in a circle, or let them sit on their desks that arranged in a circle. Mix up the routine.
  3. Establish guidelines--eg, target language only, everyone contributes, you'll get points for talking, etc.
  4. Getting people talking. Ideas:
    • Talking stick
      • Establish an object as the talking stick--a ball, bean bag...I've used a roll of tape before
      • Only the person holding the talking stick (and the teacher) can talk
    • Pennies
      • Everyone gets a certain number of pennies
      • When you say something, throw one of your pennies in the middle
      • Run out of pennies? Wait for everyone else to run out of pennies, too.
      • Once all pennies are gone, the teacher can re-distribute them

Famous People


A list of people and characters learners should be familiar with (updated 2016):
  • Katniss Everdeen
  • Batman
  • Selena Gomez
  • William Shakespeare
  • Queen Elsa
  • George Washington
  • Harry Potter
  • Marie Antoinette
  • Will Smith
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants
  • Taylor Swift
  • Hitler
  • Barak Obama
  • Elvis Presley
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Cleopatra
  • Yoda
  • Albert Einstein
  • Mario
  • LeBron James
  • Martin Luther King
  • Link
  • Ellen DeGeneres
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Michael Jordan
  • Rosa Parks
  • Pocahontas
  • Justin Beiber
  • Captain America
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Serena Williams
  • Adele
  • Jennifer Lawrence
  • Anne Frank
  • Beyoncé Knowles
  • Kermit the Frog
  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Students in the class
  • The school's principal

Possible Uses

  • "Describe and Guess" activities
  • Practicing adjectives
  • Practicing verbs
  • Practicing character development

Go Fish


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How it works

  • Print sets of cards with several of each picture
  • Instruct students how many of each picture they need to collect for a set
  • Give students a key phrase to practice

Possible Uses

    • Practicing the verb "to have"
    • Practicing ordering in a restaurant
    • Practicing "I would like"
    • Practicing shopping situation
    • Practicing vocabulary

Examples

Guided Conversation


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How it works

  • Outline in L1 what you want students to say in L2
  • Ask students to express the idea, NOT translate
  • Leave open possibilities ("Respond" rather than "Say: 'I'm good, how are you?'")

Possible uses

  • Greetings
  • Basic conversations
  • Financial interactions (buying tickets, food, shoes, etc.)

Examples

Mystery Pictures


How it Works

  1. Students work in pairs.
  2. Student #1 describes an image to student #2.
  3. Student #2 can't see the image.
  4. Student #2 needs to reproduce the image.

Possible Uses

  • Studying clothing
    • Give students two outlines of people
    • Students draw clothes one one outline
    • Students describe the clothes they drew for their partner to draw
  • Studying body parts
    • Students draw a monster (with two heads, an arm, three legs, etc.)
    • Describe monster to partner for him/her to re-create

Line-by-Line Story


How it works

  1. Students will create a story together
  2. Each person participating tells only one line of the story

Possible uses

  • Practicing past tenses
  • You could suggest a topic that has students use vocabulary they are currently learning
  • This was a great campfire activity for French camp

frenchcampfire


List of Questions


How it works

  1. Create a list of conversational questions for students to ask and answer each other
  2. Students work in pairs

Possible uses

  • Design questions that incorporate grammar and vocabulary currently being studied

Examples

  • Talking about public health posters
These documents go together. The first has public health posters from several Spanish-speaking countries, the second has discussion questions for students to talk about as they look at the poster. This activity was intended to be done with small groups of students rotating between the posters and questions.





Mystery Identity


How it works

  1. Give students a "mystery identity." This the picture/word/name for their identity gets attached to their back or forehead.
  2. Students cannot see their identity
  3. Target language only
  4. Students mingle around the classroom
  5. They may only ask each other yes or no questions to figure out their identity

Possible uses

  • Describing people, adjectives
  • Vocabulary words (works for things like animals as long as students are also learning descriptors for the target vocabulary)
  • You may have students generate the identities--saves you time, and insures they're relevant to the students



Party Quirks



How it works

  1. Students work in small groups
  2. Have students write a skit using target vocabulary/grammar/etc.
  3. Students perform skits
  4. Now, explain that they're going to have to do the same skit again, but that each person will have a new identity (or "Party Quirk")
  5. Give students an identity that they will have to play out as they are performing the same skit
  6. You may want the rest of the class to try to guess the identities

Notes

  • This activity forces students to look for ways to communicate new information in different ways
  • Choose only a few groups for larger classes?
  • Have students generate scenarios (they can write in English for lower levels). Screen them.

Some sample scenarios:
You are...
  • Buzz Lightyear
  • One of those straightener salespeople at the mall
  • A robot
  • Movie genres



Raise Hand and Trade


How it works

  1. This activity works with info gap activities
  2. Each student will have some object or paper to talk about
  3. Students raise hands when they don't have a partner
  4. Students find someone else with a raised hand
  5. With their partner, students exchange information (eg, describe their picture, tell what time it is, etc)
  6. When finished talking, students TRADE their object
  7. Students raise hands
  8. Repeat steps 4-8

Possible uses

  • Sock puppets (describing people)
  • Clocks (telling time)
  • Pictures (describing)
  • A profile or identity
  • Boarding passes ("What time do you leave?" "What's your destination?")



Signature-Search Mingle


How it works

  1. Students receive a form specifying information they need to collect from class members
  2. Students mingle, talking to class members to find out the needed information
  3. Students collect information to show they have talked to different class members

Possible Uses

  • Ages
  • Family
  • Travel
  • Likes/dislikes
  • Holidays
  • Etc. This is such a flexible format!

Examples




Survey


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How it works

  1. Students ask classmates about their opinions on some topic
  2. Students tally results

Possible uses

  • Like/dislike, favorites
    • Food
    • School subjects
    • Music
    • Etc.
  • Measurements
    • Practice numbers
    • Use target culture system of measurement

Examples



Tic-Tac-Toe


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How it works

  1. Students have a grid or Tic-Tac-Toe board with information in each square (a picture, the time of day, a fruit, etc.)
  2. Students have to correctly request what is in the square to claim it with X or O
  3. Students do not mark their own boxes! The partner must mark it for him or her. This means that partners have to listen to each other to accomplish the task.

Possible Uses

  • Time and date vocabulary (could have an event at a different time or on a different day in each box; student needs to say they are going to that event)
  • Shopping ("I'd like to buy ")
  • Food ("I'm eating _")

Examples




Traditional Info Gap


How it works

  • Info gap exercises require one person to communicate information to another person
  • There is a "gap" of information that can only be filled by one person communicating with another
  • Textbook series often include ready-made info gap activities



Talking Line/Inner-Outer Circles


How it works

  • Have students face each other in two lines OR two concentric circles
  • Make sure each student is matched with a partner
  • Have them complete a short conversation with their partner
  • When finished, have one line or one circle rotate so that each person has a new partner
  • Works well for shorter exchanges that don't need a lot of scaffolding to complete (see "Possible uses" below)

Possible uses

  • Greetings
  • Ages
  • Asking about family

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What Are You Doing?



How it works

  1. Students stand in a circle
  2. Student #1 states an action
  3. Student #2 does the action
  4. Student #3 asks student #2 what he/she is doing
  5. Student #2 has to say a new action while still doing the old action
  6. Student #3 does the action
  7. Student #4 asks student #3 what he/she is doing...

Possible uses

  • Learning the verb "to do" (I let my students do this in franglais)
  • Review verbs students know