About a month ago, I wrote a post about using hole punches to encourage students to speak more in the target language (TL). You can view that post by clicking here. While reading Felipe Alou, I dedicate one (if not two!) day entirely to discussions. I use the questions that come with the Teacher’s Guide, but will also add my own or spring off of the questions provided. The cards were fulfilling their purposes: students were participating more, I was getting full sentences back, and I was hearing less English during these discussion days.
However, I still had one major issue: I was the only one asking the questions. As I wanted to enter these into my Interpersonal Speaking category in the gracebook, I needed it to become interpersonal. My students were creating meaning, but rarely were they asking follow up questions or clarifying what other students had said.
So I modified how students set up the card. Now, students write their name in the middle of the card (as shown in the image above), and on the left side they write Respuestas for answers, and Preguntas for questions. When students answer a question I hole-punch on the answer side, and when they ask a question to the whole class, or myself, they receive a hole-punch on the question side. Their goal is to participate 10 times by answering or asking others questions. I then enter their total into the computer, but add a note about how they received that total, as well as if s/he spoke English. For example, I would write that “John answered 7 questions and asked 2 questions. Spoke English 1 for -1 points.”
I realize this method isn’t really Standards-Based (SBG), but it is really working well for my students and myself. I have never had such deep, intense, and long conversations in class. These discussions are way better than any IPA scenario I’ve seen played out. Part of the success could be the novel, but I also think part of the success is tied to this hole-punch system. Give it a try – especially if you have smaller class sizes!