A-MAZE-ing Speaking Practice

French 3/4 is in the midst of their “Bon Voyage” unit right now and have reached the point when they’re practicing both asking and giving directions. I start prepositions of location very early on and do (generally) the same TPR motions for each word from day 1, so these are words my students are relatively familiar with by the time they reach level 3. This time, though, we’re adding in words like cross, pass by, continue straight ahead, until, and so on which are (happily!) mostly cognates.

Nevertheless, using the words in context, after we’ve gone through the motions, is what’s really important to me. I try my best to start with as much input as I can, but then it becomes time for OUTPUT!

Today, I started with a version of Martina Bex’s “Bad Baby” game that involved giving verbal directions to the object instead of counting. The bonus was that it was relatively low-stress, but that meant not everyone got a chance to speak. So, what next?

Being the resource thief that I am, I turned to the internet and the activities I had seen on various list-servs and blogs over the years. Typically, these activities call for blown-up and laminated city maps, which are a logistical nightmare for me to procure as no one but the media specialist is allowed to a.) enlarge copies or b.) use the laminator. I know. So instead, I found some easy children’s maze printables and distributed them to the students. Each student sat with a partner, and while one partner closed his/her eyes, the other student had to verbally direct that person through the maze. Then, they switched.

Fun, quick, easy-to-prep speaking practice! Several students felt confident enough to achieve that stamp on the choice board today, and everyone got a chance to practice, so I’ll consider that one a win!

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