Thursday, April 17, 2014

Question of the Week

Thursdays on Language Teachers' Café we bring you a guest blog post, a feature on a WL teacher, hot topics in World Language, or, this week, a Question of the Week answered by our panel of teachers.

This week's questions was:
What is your favorite activity to use when you have 5 extra minutes at the end of a class?

Spanish Sundries says:
  1. Spanish-speaking Country Trivia! I develop a bank of questions and ask a few at the end of class.
  2. Four Square: Students fold a piece of paper into 4 boxes and write a vocabulary word in each. I choose 4 words at random and the student who matches the most wins.
  3. Yo espío - I choose an item and students ask yes or no questions in Spanish to guess what it is.
@nellyanhug says:
One student takes a card with the picture of an object, person, place, animal, etc.
Option 1- A student describes the picture in the target language using circumlocution. Students who guesses correctly is the next one to talk.
Option 2- One Student looks at a picture and the rest of the class tries to guess what it is by asking questions (can be any kind of questions or just yes/no questions). Student who guesses is next. 

German Sektor says:
Lingo is a great end of class game - pick any five letter word in the target language and have students try to guess what it is. They have five chances to guess correctly. For each of their guesses, you circle letters that are in the word but not the correct spot AND you put boxes around letters that are in the correct spot. Works with any language! For more detail and examples: check out her post!

SpanishPlans says:
If I have just a few minutes I'll pull up a music video on Youtube. Sometimes I'll pull up an official video, but a lot of the time I will pull up a lyric video. Kids not only get to hear a catchy tune, but they get to hear and see words. If a vocabulary word or phrase comes up, I can ask the class if they remember what it means. A lot of artists, such as Jesse & Joy, now post their own lyric videos.

@MaestraMc says:
Serpiente: each student says a word in a serpentine fashion around the seating arrangement. The next word must begin with the last letter of the previous word. Extra time? Make it go back again so each student is up to bat twice! No repeats. This helps students be quick on their feet with recall.

Rachel Frenkil @frenkilstein says:
If I'm trying to kill time, I'll pull up a video in Spanish about the country we're studying, like a tourist video or short film. Though I don't assess, it's time where the students can listen to an authentic accent, learn something cultural and work on their listening comprehension (i.e., it's okay if you don't understand every word).

Julie from Open Wide the World says:
"Qui suis-je?" or "¿Quién soy?" is a fun, quick filler game. One student thinks of a famous person (or selects a person from a stack of images you may have on hand, cut from magazines, etc). Classmates ask questions to determine who he/she is. Questions can be yes/no, or open ended, depending on the proficiency level of the class. Alternatively, the student can give clues about who he/she is. This is always fun. Students barely realize it's work!

Madame H shares:
I like to play Improv Monologues or Improv Dialogues with students. I will offer a Baggie or cup with various ideas in it, set a timer, and make the students use the target language until the buzzer goes off. This activity usually makes the entire class laugh. Especially when someone chooses the option to imitate the teacher! It's definitely fun!

Other ideas shared with us:
  • Question & answer chain with ball toss.
  • "Around the World": Have 2 students stand up and ask them a question or for a translation. The first to answer correct wins and moves on. The loser sits down. As the winner works his/her way around the classroom, they end up sitting in whatever desk they lost to. The person who goes the farthest wins.
What do you do in your classroom? Share with us in the comments below!


  1. Omgoodness, so many fun ideas! I am loving this new blog!

  2. Sr. Pato (Mr Duck): I have a cute, little, stuffed duck. 3 "cops" leave the room (3 volunteers). I give the duck to an audience member in the classroom. He/she hides duckie. Then, I have pre-made script on the board using the grammar topic from the week.

    Here is a preterit example:

    La policía: ¿Dónde estuviste anoche?

    If you have Sr. Pato you MUST respond:
    “¡Yo estuve con un amigo… ROBANDO UN BANCO!”

    Los otros participantes: “¡Yo estuve en la casa!”

    Each cop gets 3 tries to ask that ? to 3 different audience members.

    If you "catch" Sr. Pato, you get $1 (we get speaking $$$- 30 pesos every 6 wks.)

    *Side note: I play the theme song to Cops while they play this.

  3. I should have added that he/she hides the duck IN HIS/HER SEATING AREA (in his/her hoodie, under his/her hat, in his/her backpack, purse, etc.)

  4. Sr. wooly posted a blog about a very fun game that requires virtually no prep and works great for those extra 5-10 minutes at the end of class. I believe he called the game Contrentémonos.


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