Tricks for staying in the TL: Hole Punching

When I was a 1st year teacher I used to warn students ahead of time of when I would aim to speak only in Spanish.  This year all of my classes have been speaking SO much Spanish that it’s hard to believe I used to do that!  However, I have to admit the amount of Spanish we speak has taken coaxing.  My 1st hour Spanish 3 is really groggy as many are involved in after-school activities, and my 8th hour Spanish 3 is extremely hyped up as it’s the last hour of the day.  I needed something that would motivate 1st hour to speak up more than normal, while also encouraging 8th hour to channel their words into English.  So it was perfect timing when Madame H wrote about using hole-punches for the World Language Teacher’s Café in this blog post.   It merits sharing as it has worked so well for my students.

What’s the main idea? 

Essentially, students have a piece of paper that gets hole punched.

How have you used it in your class? 

The first day, I gave students a piece of paper with I Can statements in the middle and 10 circles on the outside.  The students’ goals were to fill all 10.  I put my pre-reading questions on a Powerpoint (using one of these pretty Slides Carnival templates), and hole-punched each time students participated with a full sentence.

The next time, I handed out old-school flash cards and put the I Can statements on the projector.  As 8th hour was extra whiley this week, I added a dark line to the cards of students caught speaking English.  They then had to speak a full sentence in Spanish to make that line balance out to “0.”  Surprisingly, this worked REALLY well.

But does it work? 

Yes.  I believe giving students the I Can statements that include what they can talk about and what it should sound like (i.e., how long it should be, how detailed, etc) helps a LOT.  The English line (described above) should be used with caution.  My first line was given to a tender hearted young man, but I needed to stop the English.  Unfortunately, this meant he remained silent for the rest of class instead of trying to get rid of his line.  Yet for other more bold students, it didn’t faze them at all.

While I have had classes speak lots of Spanish before, it has never been THIS much Spanish of THIS quality.  I have been blown away by my students’ capabilities.  I think a lot of that is because my students are reaping benefits from 2 years of TPRS/CI-based lessons, and partially because of the hole punching as the hole punches urged them to delve a little deeper linguistically.

Any recommendations? 

  • Consider buying a special hole-punch if you let students keep the cards.  I collected mine at the end of each class.
  • Make sure you know how to say hole-punch!  I referred to them as circles, but it just doesn’t seem legit to me.
  • I don’t think this method works well for larger classes.  I can’t imagine having to hole-punch for 30+ students, but it worked really well with my class sizes around 10.  But who knows?



If you’re interested in other ways to stay in the target language, check out @HolaSrHoward’s hashtag #TL90plus on Twitter!

One thought on “Tricks for staying in the TL: Hole Punching

  1. Pingback: UPDATE: Tricks for staying in the TL: Hole Punching for Questions and Answers | La Clase de la Señora Dentlinger

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