Sunday, June 30, 2019

Stand Up/Sit Down Brain Break

Here is a quick 5-minute activity/brain break which I learned from Alina Filipescu at NTPRS in 2015. It is a simple listening activity which involves movement (standing up/sitting down). This is an activity which I have used in the past with great success but had completely forgotten about in the past 3-4 years until this past week when I was preparing my presentation on Spoken Latin for the ACL Summer Institute.

The basis for the activity is very much patterned after "Never Have I Ever" but in a much more POSITIVE and STUDENT-APPROPRIATE fashion and is quite simple.

  1. Make a list of statements (around 10-15) in the first person in the target language which could be true about your students. Examples: I am wearing sandals, I have a dog, I drank coffee this morning, etc.
  2. Have all of your students seated.
  3. Explain to students that this activity involves either standing up or sitting down.
  4. Explain to them that you are going to read a statement. If that statement is true about them, then they are to stand up.
  5. Read the first statement. Any student for whom the statement is true should stand up.
  6. Now explain to students that you are going to read a statement. If that statement is true about them, they are to do the OPPOSITE activity of what they are doing now, i.e., if they are standing, they are to sit down; if they are sitting down, they are to stand up. BUT if the statement is false about them, they are not to do anything.
  7. Read the next statement.
  8. Continue to read the statements. Students will be standing up, sitting down, or not moving depending on the statements.
  1. This is a great way to focus on a particular structure, such as "I have," "I am wearing," or "I like," since those tend to introduce personal statements. You can get in a lot of repetitions of these phrases since you will be saying them over and over again. As students become more familiar with these phrases, it becomes less necessary to focus on just one, and you can to mix them up in your statements.
  2. It can be rather confusing in the beginning, so I usually will demonstrate it in English first so that students understand what action they are supposed to do.
  3. Keep the statements simple. For some students, too much is going on in having to hear the statement, to understand it, to determine if it is true of them, and to respond with the correct action. 
  4. It is a great brain break in the target language!
Latin examples of statements:
  1. Habeo animal domesticum (I have a pet)
  2. Habeo fratrem (I have a brother)
  3. Habeo crines longos (I have long hair)
  4. Habeo canem (I have a dog)
  5. Habeo sororem (I have a sister)
  6. Habeo duas aures (I have two ears)
  1. mihi placet legere Harry Potter (I like to read Harry Potter)
  2. mihi placet comedere Takis (I like to eat Takis)
  3. mihi placet bibere caffeam (I like to drink coffee)
  4. mihi placet dormire (I like to sleep)