jueves, 1 de noviembre de 2012

¡Día del café!

One of the best and to me most exciting parts of teaching a foreign language is watching and hearing students use the language. Every week, I do a lesson that is specifically focused on speaking with my upper level students. I do not mean to imply that I don't give students the opportunity to speak other days of the week because I certainly do! However, once a week, I try to devise a lesson that specifically focuses on speaking. Usually I rotate the modes between more interpersonal and presentational, depending on which mode works best with the materials being studied the rest of the week. Día del café is a day that focuses on the interpersonal mode. I put a question in large letters at the center of a grouping of desks, and students choose at random where they sit. Most often, the questions will be directly or indirectly related to a literary work or thematic topic that we are studying, but occasionally, I will choose random questions. I also always include a station that requires that the students write a question for the next group. I have the students discuss the questions in their small groups for a set length of time (usually between 2-5 minutes) and then I ask them to rotate and find a new question to answer or discuss. Towards the end of class, I ask a few students to share their thoughts and ideas. I often include enough questions that there are a few stations that are empty in each round. I imagine that those teachers who have larger classes, would not ever have a blank round, but I almost always have as many  questions as I have students. I tell students that they must sit with a minimum of two other students that way they can truly discuss and work to express their opinions. In this way, I hope to personalize the literary works that we read or encourage students  to think more profoundly about the current events that we have studied. If día del café falls on a morning, I sometimes bring maté or hot chocolate to truly authenticate the experience! An example of the question types that I might ask is something along the lines of "if you were X character in this work, how would you respond to y situation?" Or do you think that X's actions were justified given his life experiences. etc. What sort of small group discussions do you do in your upper level classes?

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