Tuesday, January 28, 2020

CI Activities to Fill Time

Even though I have been teaching for over 20 years and feel that I have a good idea about lesson planning/scaffolding, I still deal with timing of activities, i.e., how long will an activity take? I have done enough of specific activities to have an idea, but as teachers we know that some class periods will take longer than others due to its make up, needs, chemistry, etc. And then there are other class periods where an activity goes MUCH more quickly than expected, and suddenly, you have all of this extra time left over. What to do?

First off, I do not teach bell-to-bell. If there are 10-15 minutes left in a class period, depending on what we have been doing in class, I will give the class free time to use their phones (I always tell my students, "You give me time during class, and I will give you time at the end of class."). Laurie Clarcq once told me (when I was feeling guilty that I was not teaching bell-to-bell), "Students sometimes just need downtime in class." But there have been those particular classes where giving students that much downtime is risky (we have all had those classes), so again what to do?

Here is a list of CI activities which you can do to "fill time" when you need to, and they are little-to-no prep:
  • Hot Seat - one of my go-to "fill time" activities, because it does not require much preparation, and I can facilitate it on the spot.
  • Freeze Frame (This requires that you have a story already written ahead of time, but if you write one proactively, you can just pull it out when needed)
  • One Word Image - start with one image, and ask the class to give you the rest of the information. Absolutely no prep on your part.
  • Picture Talk - have a number of different pictures on file to talk about in the target language. Pictures which are optical illusions or require students to "find" something are engaging.
  • Who is This - if you have been doing stories and you have accumulated a lot of characters over the semester, this is one which you can do. This does require a bit of prep since you need to be able to give short clues, starting with the most general and going to the specific about a character. But like Freeze Frame, if you do this proactively and keep it on file somewhere, you can bring it out when you need to.
What are some activities which you do?

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