One of the things I really value about my particular teaching style is how much time we spend just chatting in French. I’ve blogged before about my daily “quoi de neuf” discussion and it continues to be a favorite activity amongst my students. We do a LOT of discussion-based work in my class, in an effort to see vocabulary and grammar in as much context as possible and to help remove some of the anxiety that comes with speaking a new language by speaking a lot.
So I ask a lot of questions and get some great responses but I hear a lot of oui and non as a result. Well, there are a LOT of different ways to respond to a question negatively or affirmatively and knowing that French 4/AP had a debate coming up, I really wanted to avoid having to listen to a bunch of oui and non cop-out answers but also didn’t want to distribute a worksheet.
The day before our debate, I projected this slide on the SmartBoard and put the students into pairs (easy peasy, since they’re at tables of 4 already).
The ones that have no English next to them are ones my students already knew. We went through the pronunciation of each expression and I gave an example of when to use the ones that might have been a little trickier. Then, I read aloud a series of statements/questions related to the film we had just watched, Entre les murs, which required the students to take a particular position and defend their answer. But because my students love competition and I wanted the activity to be a little more fun, we game-ified it and said that after I asked the question, if you started your answer with oui or non, your partner would be awarded a point.
We had a lot of fun with this activity, for two reasons – one being that responding with either oui or non was such an automatic response for many of my student that they found it really difficult to stop themselves from saying it (though their partners were happy with the points they racked up!). I also purposely asked follow-up questions to keep them on their toes 🙂 The other reason was that some of the statements I asked them to respond to prompted some heated discussion in French – it was a fun way to get everyone engaged and hit that 90% TL at the same time!