2. Speaking Stones: Want to promote equity of voice in your classes? Speaking stones is great for this. Pass out small glass garden multi-color stones. You can get a bag of 30 at your local Dollar General. Pass out a stone to each student. The teacher poses a question and student with indicated color or number goes first by putting their stone in the center and then answering questions or asking questions or explaining an answer. The rest of the group continues until each member of the group has put in their stone. Only when all members have put in stones, can another member of the group speak again.
3. Vocabulary: Incorporate what students already know into your vocabulary lessons. See post on the right around vocabulary for more ideas. This includes vocabulary lists and circumlocution games like Password. I always loved the games that allowed for whole group participation.
4. Use a manipulative like Yarn or Beach balls! Give your students in either pairs or groups balls of yarn or even cut up pieces of yarn. The student holding the yarn, must speak in the target language until they reach the designated knot in the ball or the end of the cut piece. They then pass the yarn to the next students. You can also modify this activity by having students pass ball of yarn and create a web to control who has been speaking. I always had beach balls around that had random questions and sentence starters. I would pass around to spark conversation.
5. Questions: What types of questions are we asking of students? Are they of good quality? Simple yes or no questions are not going to build proficiency nor will they spark conversation. Asking the how or the why will draw out more response even in a novice learners.
6. Draw, speak, summarize!: Allow students to draw their thoughts and then speak about them. While others speak, partners must summarize in a word or sentence what was said. This can be done for writing and reading prompts as well. Click here for an example template! Another favorite is 12 circles. Click here to access.
7. Incentives: Award incentives for catching students using the target language. I used to keep a treasure chest box I got at IKEA and just filled it with items like pencils, erasers, stickers, toys from the dollar store, friendship bracelets, stamps, etc. These will go a long way and you don't have to spend a lot of money. Another tool was this reward system document where you just allow for stamps or stickers and you tell students that when you get to 25, you can pick a prize from the prize box.
8. Transition sheets: Making a transition handout or placemat of key words or expressions will go a long way. Laminate them or put them on card stock and allow students to use all the time in class. I never quizzed students on these words but the more frequently they were used, the more they retained. Students got these from every level from ranging from novice to advanced. They loved these as they thought of them as cheat sheets.
9. Inside/outside circle: Form what is called an outside circle with students and then a circle inside of the outside circle so that students are facing each other. Pose a question or response and students must communicate with the person from the other circle. Rotate circle one person to the left or right so that students speak with a variety of classmates.
10. Target Language statements: Put a target language statement in your class syllabus to start the year with the expectation of 90% plus. If you don't have one, write one up now for the next grading quarter or semester and have students sign as a contract. Each quarter is always a great time to build. Save and incorporate at the start of the school year.
Reflect on your use as well as your students
Student Reflection 1
Student Reflection 2