I’m posting today a kinesthetic listening game that can also function well as a formative assessment or review for just about any classroom topic. The idea came from some of the English teachers at my school, who use this activity as a way to practice vocabulary definitions, but it can be easily adapted for use in the World Language classroom, as either a way to review singular vocabulary words, or target phrases/ideas from a story! It is also a good way to provide students with a lot of repetitions of structures, but keep them engaged at the same time.
How to play:
1. Divide the class into two big teams (or three, if you have really large classes. My max is 25.).
2. Provide the students on one of the team’s with a word or a phrase in the Target Language. Say it loud enough so that the whole class can hear, but only one team gets to guess first. This can be done with singular vocabulary (Que veut dire, “il y avait” en anglais?) or with details from a story that have already been established. For example, in French 3 we have been practicing the subjunctive with Bryce Hedstrom’s Introducing the subjunctive with a story script, so I might ask the students, “Où est-ce que Haley veut que Marcus aille?” knowing that the detail has already been established in class.
3. The students on the team who believe they can confidently answer the question stand up and the teacher randomly calls on one standing student for an answer. I have a set of index cards for each class that have every student’s name on one card, so it really is a random “cold-call,” if you will.
4. The student gives the answer in English, if doing a vocabulary check, or in the TL if providing a detail from the story. If he or she is correct, his or her team gets as many points as they had people standing up, claiming to know the correct answer. If the answer is incorrect, the OTHER team has the opportunity to steal and get as many points as they have people standing up, PLUS the number of people from the other team who had originally stood up.
This game has been a big hit in all of my classes so far. Sometimes, in the spirit of competition, kids will encourage their teammates to stand up even if they don’t know the correct answer, but the fact that by standing up each person makes him or herself eligible to be called on for the answer has tended to keep them pretty accountable and honest.
I have had a few “social loafers” during this activity – you know, the kids who use the idea of a whole group activity to just sit there and do nothing/tune out – but a quick comprehension quiz at the end of the game put an end to that behavior fairly quickly when they did poorly on a “quiz” that I had already given them the answers to and would have been an easy A, had they just paid attention and participated.
Happy teaching – and have fun to all of you attending #ACTFL14! I am beyond jealous – I hope to join you all someday!