A new school year is rapidly approaching and I will once again be faced by students who will enter my classroom with varying degrees of knowledge as well as varying degrees of doubt over their language command. Last year I took a power point from EFL Classroom and rewrote it in Spanish. I didn’t use all of the slides, but I’m leaving all of them in there for readers to view. To help to mitigate fear over a new teacher and new classmates listening to their Spanish, I had students, on the second day of class, work with a partner of their choosing, respond to the prompts on each slide. The information was familiar from earlier levels of Spanish and very much open ended. Directions were simple: Partner A took a word or phrase on the slide and turned it into a question. Partner B responded to the question (did not matter if the response was just a word or two or a complete sentence) and then took another word/phrase and turned it into a question for Partner A. I had them work with the same partner for perhaps three minutes, and then had them switch to a new partner. Since my classroom is arranged in a U formation, I simply had the outer U rotate to the left around the inner U. With each new partner, I had them work through the words/phrases for about 2 minutes. This was a way for them to begin work with someone comfortable, but also to move them to other people throughout the room, some of whom they did not know. The length of time (2 minutes or less) made the situation of working with someone new or unknown much less intimidating since they knew that they would be moving again soon. Here is the full power point span 3 and 4 beginning conversation prompts
I would love to know how you start your classes each year. What activities do you use to encourage speaking the language from the very beginning?