Teaching holidays – 9 things to try

Holidays.  It is the quintessential topic all MFL teachers have to be capable of doing and most cover on a bi-yearly basis.  Most holiday modules in textbooks tend to deal with the past tense so this seemed like a good place to start but there will be other tenses below.  Aiming at 9 things you can try tomorrow, here goes…

1) Consequences. 

If you know how this works great.  If not try the following:

  • Students write their name at the bottom of a piece of paper.  That’s right, at the bottom.
  • Write where you went (fui a…) fold over and pass on
  • Write who you went with, fold over and pass on
  • Say one thing you did, fold over and pass on
  • Add an opinion with “fue”, fold over and pass on
  • Say another thing you did, fold over and pass on
  • Add opinion, fold over and pass on
  • Keep going until you have a full page of text.

Bottom sets like it because it seems like less work.  Top sets can get creative.  Everyone wins unless they start to get mean…

2) Trapdoor/mindread/paired speaking thing.

Sentences on whiteboard with multiple options at various points.  Students have to say the sentence out loud that their partner is thinking.  Partner can shake head to indicate wrong choice.  The other has to keep talking until the get the right answer to carry on.

Fui a Italia    Alemania     con     mis padres     mis amigos

Grecia  Suiza                     mi familia       mis abuelos

3) Postcards – it is a great homework and you get some creative efforts.  Use it at the end of a holidays topic.  Tell them it has to look authentic and you will get some great efforts.  One teacher I know hangs them from a washing line in her classroom.  Both ends of the ability spectrum tend to enjoy this.  The less artistic ones can use a computer.

4) Quiz Quiz Trade

Not technically my activity but get pupils to write a question on a whiteboard.  They go around the class and must ask and answer a question before swapping whiteboards.  Excellent practice of questions and answers as long as TL is maintained.

5) 50 places to visit before you die/Plan a gap year

You’ve seen the books but to reinforce the future tense why not get them to plan a year out using “voy a” and infinitives.  Allows for creativity and personal interest.  Lower abilities could do it on a powerpoint and add pictures.  Tricky bit is if they spend more time looking at places than writing Spanish.  Be careful there.

6) Hotel Review (GCSE)

Tripadvisor is one of the best known hotel reviewing sites.  Give half of your students some pictures of New York’s Plaza hotel (last seen in Home Alone 2) and for the other half the worst hotel you can find on google.  Students then have to produce a review using as much subject specific vocab as possible (or as edexcel calls them “complex lexical items”) such as service, personnel, concierge etc.  For a broader task, give them the title holidays from hell and a starter with some more powerful adjectives (dilapidated, depressing, disastrous etc)

7) Dice speaking (borrowed from a Rachel Hawkes ppt)

9 boxes each with a starting sentence and 6 options.  One student rolls dice and says the phrases while the other produces a translation on a mini-whiteboard.  Tried it with a yr9 bottom set the other day and they enjoyed it!  I could not quite believe what I was seeing.

8) Voki.com

Use the postcard idea above or the hotel idea but get voki.com to convert it into speech.  No need to sign up but fun and then allows students to practise pronunciation.

9) No personal experience allowed.

Sometimes we tell students to use their personal experiences.  What about if we encouraged creativity and imagination by insisting they cannot use anything they have already done.  The entire past holiday has to be imagined.  Not so much an idea to use tomorrow but a thought.  Would they be more creative and would it lead to better work?

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