A true friend always listens

Here’s an idea that’s just quirky enough to work.  I wanted to do a quick retell/speaking practice, and  I wanted all students to speak.  I passed out little paper cutouts of the outline of a man and told students he was their new best friend.  He would never laugh at their attempts to speak Spanish.  He would never judge or interrupt.  He would be a great listener.  I set a timer for two minutes and allowed students to decorate their new friends.  Some were changed to women, pirates, Hunger Games characters, and some ended up shirtless.  I was glad I set a timer because several students could have spent hours on decorating.

I then instructed them to retell a recent story to their friend.  Again, I set the timer for two minutes. I walked around and listened as students spoke.  The result was very little class time used for every student to retell the story.  Several times, I had to remind students that speaking to a paper cutout man is typical behavior for a Spanish class – not at all weird.  Despite some giggles and eye rolls at first, I do believe that students were far less inhibited and able to speak more than if we would have done the activity in partners.  I could have had them complete the activity without the paper friend, but it added enough intrigue to get them rolling.  I find myself often using tangible objects to increase focus in class.

We will speak with our friends in the future, especially when there are only a few minutes left in class, and I  want a quick speaking practice.  I could hang them all over the classroom and have students get up and spread out in order to speak with their new best friends.


This entry was posted in Classroom activities, Speaking, Story activities. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A true friend always listens

  1. Jane says:

    Love it – thanks for sharing!

  2. Ramon Leiva says:

    I will try with my Spanish 1 class.
    muchas gracias

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