Monday, April 9, 2012

En Sevilla... (pair speaking activity)

Last week I shared a writing activity my 7th graders do with places in Madrid.  I was hoping to share a few more of my favorite activities from that unit, but life got in the way, as it often does.  So finally, a few days late, here's another activity I'm proud of: "Sights in Sevilla".

In this partner activity, students ask and answer questions to exchange information about famous sights in Sevilla, Spain.  I used this authentic information sheet from my trip to Sevilla (it's from the back of a map) to create the activity.
original Sevilla info sheet
Partner A and Partner B each have modified information sheets with critical information blacked out for SOME of the sights. (Thus, A can see information that B can't see and vice versa.)
(Partner A & B info sheets w/ opposite blacked out info.)

Each student has to ask his/her partner for the missing information (related to our numbers/time vocab) about each designated sight: opening time, closing time, and phone number.  (i.e."What time does the Museo Taurino open?" etc. -- you can see an example above the chart screenshots below.)  To answer the partner's questions, the student must find the correct information about each of the partner's sights on the info sheet.  Of course, all asking & answering MUST be done in Spanish!  While listening to their partner's answers, students record the information (numerically) in the following charts:

Partner A's chart to fill in
Partner B's chart to fill in
After both students have exchanged all the information about their sights, I have them pick two sights that they'd like to visit.  They have to work together to write about what the sight is and why it's important / why they'd want to visit it.  As in the Madrid activity, I run a self-scrolling PowerPoint with pictures of Sevilla on the big screen throughout the activity.  And just like that activity, students really respond to the realia and enjoy learning about the sights much more than if they were just exchanging made-up numbers and times to practice vocabulary by itself!

I love info-gap activities for so many reasons:

  • students have a real reason to communicate
  • they get to ask/answer questions they might actually ask & answer in real life
  • having a specific task to complete keeps them on-task 
  • designing the activity around vocab they are practicing keeps them in the target language
  • they get to practice both speaking and listening at the same time!
  • since it's a pair activity, students often correct/help each other with language usage

In fact, I love them so much that my students end up rolling their eyes when it's time to do another one... but the vast majority of students always list them under "What helped you LEARN the most?" in our end-of-unit surveys!  (Even students who don't list them under "What activities did you LIKE the most?" -- although many students include them there as well!)

1 comment:

  1. It does seem unique and way better than the vocab cards (which I had to make endlessly for French class-I still remember!) It's also nice that you have them do so many things: They look & translate, they practice speaking to each other, they write the information so it's also visual & tactile. It sounds like a lot of learning to me! Thanks, Jennifer!


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