Skip to main content

Sentence Stealers with a twist

Image: pixabay.com
Sentence Stealers is a reading aloud game invented by Gianfranco Conti. I'll describe the game to you, then suggest an extension of it which goes a bit further than reading aloud. By the way, I shouldn't need to justify the usefulness of reading aloud, but just in case, we are talking here about matching sounds to spellings, practising listening, pronunciation and intonation and repeating/recycling high frequency language patterns.

This is how it works:

  • Display around 15 sentences on the board, preferably ones which show language patterns you have been working on recently or some time ago.
  • Hand out four cards or slips of paper to each student.
  • On each card students must secretly write a sentence from the displayed list.
  • Students then circulate around the class, approaching their classmates and reading a sentence from the displayed list. If the other person has that sentence on one of their cards, they must hand over the card. The other person then does the same, choosing a sentence from the board to see if their partner has it.
  • As an alternative, to add some spice students can play rock/paper/scissors to see who has the right to read a sentence.
  • After five minutes, the winner is the person with the most cards.

This is a jolly good little game to recycle some language in a fun way and teachers say it works really well.

Extensions

You take take the game a little further, though, adding an element of memory to go with the reading aloud aspect.

So, after playing the first game for five minutes, you could then display a list of the same sentences, but with gaps. The number and nature of the gaps would depend on your class. Each sentence would be numbered or lettered, e.g. A, B, C, D etc.

This time, instead of students writing a sentence on each of their cards, they simply write the letter of the sentence from the board. Then the game proceeds in the usual way, except this time students must produce their sentences from memory (referring to the gapped sentences on the board). The teacher could even create some more gaps in the displayed sentences as the game proceeds, to provide a bit more challenge.


******************************************************************************

Esmerelda Salgado on Twitter added this idea:

"I take your idea a step further by doing a final round with the sentences written in English on the board and the correspondent initials in TL."

******************************************************************************

All in all, this is a low preparation, high impact little game which allows for some useful retrieval practice all in the target language.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Delayed dictation

What is “delayed dictation”?

Instead of getting students to transcribe immediately what you say, or what a partner says, you can enforce a 10 second delay so that students have to keep running over in their heads what they have heard. Some teachers have even used the delay time to try to distract students with music.

It’s an added challenge for students but has significant value, I think. It reminds me of a phenomenon in music called audiation. I use it frequently as a singer and I bet you do too.

Audiation is thought to be the foundation of musicianship. It takes place when we hear and comprehend music for which the sound is no longer or may never have been present. You can audiate when listening to music, performing from notation, playing “by ear,” improvising, composing, or notating music. When we have a song going round in our mind we are audiating. When we are deliberately learning a song we are audiating.

In our language teaching case, though, the earworm is a word, chunk of l…

Have a repertoire, lighten your workload (part one)

The next four blogs I'm going to post are the equivalent of one of those TV clip shows - you know, the ones where they need to fill a weekly slot by showing the best bits, or deleted scenes, from the series. But these four blogs have a theme. The clue is in the title. Like you, I worked hard when I was teaching, but I was pretty good at keeping things in proportion using a combination of economical planning, rapid marking and experience. The extra time those things created even allowed me to stay relaxed and have fun (most of the time) and to come up with the occasional innovative idea.

So, what I'm going to suggest here is that, if you have a little repertoire of go-to classroom activities, you can save yourself a lot of time and stress, and, what's more, all for the benefit of your classes. You see, I think (actually, I know) pupils like routines, but they also appreciate a bit of variety. So if you apply your repertoire of lesson/activity types sensibly you can satisfy b…

"Ask and move" task

This is a lesson plan using an idea from our book Breaking the Sound Barrier (Conti and Smith, 2019). It's a task-based lesson adapted from an idea from Paul Nation and Jonathan Newton. It is aimed at Y10-11 pupils aiming at Higher Tier GCSE, but is easily adaptable to other levels and languages, including A-level. This has been posted as a resource on frenchteacher.net.

This type of lesson plan excites me more than many, because if it runs well, you get a classroom of busy communication when you can step back, monitor and occasionally intervene as students get on with listening, speaking and writing.

Curriculum planning

Many MFL departments are talking about planning in response to whole school initiatives related to Ofsted's latest emphasis: CURRICULUM. This post is about how a department might respond to such an initiative. It's fairly broad-brush, given the nature of the issue, but not too airy-fairy, I hope.

Here is Ofsted's definition of the curriculum:

“The curriculum is a framework for setting out the aims of a programme of education, including the knowledge and understanding to be gained at each stage (intent); for translating that framework over time into a structure and narrative, within an institutional context (implementation) and for evaluating what knowledge and understanding pupils have gained against expectations (impact/achievement).” (My highlighting.)

So Ofsted wants schools to:

• know their curriculum – design and intent;
• know how their curriculum is being implemented;
• know what impact their curriculum is having on pupils’ knowledge and understanding.

(I'…