Here’s another way to provide input while investigating target language culture.
I believe I borrowed this idea from someone a couple years ago, but I cannot remember for sure. I am in my second year of using it, and it works well. The concept is pretty simple. Once a week (usually on Tuesdays), I ask a trivia question to all of my classes. Each class comes up with an answer. The following day, I reveal the correct answer and award a point to the class that was closest. At the end of the year, the class with the most points wins.
- The questions are always in the target language and usually contain a pretty thorough introduction. Although the students may be most excited about trying to answer and win, I am more concerned with valuable input at this point. As with many CI activities, I must fight the temptation to rush. There is great value in the process.
- All questions are based on target language culture. I often get the questions from current news events. When I reveal the answer on the second day, we often look at an article or a video. Again, I care much more about this step than about which class wins, but the competition gets them engaged. Recent topics have included inflation in Venezuela, drug trafficking and Spanish speaking athletes and musicians who are currently active.
- The questions work best when they are quantitative. If the answer is a number, there will always be a winner (the closest guess), and there will almost always be only one. It’s also a good way to provide natural exposure to using numbers.
Finding good questions can be difficult at times. Here are a few places to start.
- Online newspapers and news sites (CNN en español, BBC mundo)
- Online shopping sites. Show an item and description and ask what it costs. (mercadolibre.com)
- Sporting events. Choose a target language athlete and ask how many points he/she will score in tonight’s game or who will win?
- Celebrities. How many records has he/she sold? How much money did he/she make? What does a group charge for a concert?
- History. What happened on this day? Find a question in a historical event.
Many of my questions from last year are scattered throughout different presentations, but I’ve done a little better this year at keeping them together. Below is a link to the file I’ve been using for much of this year. It includes many of the questions we’ve used along with descriptions and links to articles or videos. The last slide is a score sheet for my classes.