Are you looking for ways to help your students improve their speaking and listening skills in a foreign language? Check out some of our favourite fun, low-prep ideas below!
a) Play Games: Games such as Twenty Questions, Charades, Pictionary, Who am I? and Broken Telephone are great ways to put students at ease and get them speaking.
b) Voice Recordings: Have students record themselves speaking using a free program like Audacity. This eliminates the stress of having to present in front of the class.
c) Readers Theater: Find scripts that are at the appropriate level for your students to read/act aloud.
d) Skype Calls: Find a buddy class and arrange Skype calls with students who speak the foreign language.
e) Impromptu Skits: Have students select from familiar topics prepared by you and come up with impromptu skits to present to the class.
f) Cultural Events: Take your students to local cultural events where they may have the opportunity to practice speaking the language.
g) Field Trips: Arrange field trips to places such as restaurants or cafés for your students to practice the language in a real-life context.
h) Debates: Select a familiar topic and have your students prepare arguments for a debate. Debates can be spontaneous, or you may wish to give students a class to prep their ideas for the following lesson.
i) Current Events: Have your students present current events to the class. You can even record them giving their presentations and use the videos as part of listening activities.
j) Interviews: Have students interview each other on familiar topics.
k) Literature Circles: Literature Circles are a great way to get students talking about familiar topics in a safe environment. To learn more about how to incorporate them in your classroom visit the following articles:
Literature Circles in Your FSL Classroom
Literature Circles in Your ESL Classroom
a) Play Games: Play games that require your students to listen to instructions or demonstrate an understanding of vocabulary in order to win. Some ideas include: Simon Says, Bingo and True or False.
b) Watch Movies: Have your students watch movies in the foreign language, with or without subtitles.
c) Listen to Music: Let your students listen to music in the foreign language during class time. You can choose to simply play the music, or take things one step further and have students listen to lyrics of your choosing and answer questions about them.
d) Listen to Podcasts: Have your students listen to Podcasts and assign certain words or phrases for them to listen for.
e) Drawing Challenge: Give your students blank papers and describe how to draw an object. See who was able to correctly draw it!
f) Sequential Order: Hand out images that correspond to a story. As you read the story, have the students place the pictures in the correct order of events.
g) Picture Descriptions: Provide students with a set of images. Describe the photos one at a time and see if students can figure out which one you are referring to.
h) Listen to Recordings: After students have recorded themselves giving a presentation or reading a story using a site like Audacity, have them listen to each other’s audio recordings. Students can even create quizzes for others to complete as they are listening.
i) Audio eBooks: Have students listen to audio eBooks. If you are looking for eBooks at an upper primary/middle school level, we offer a large selection of free online audio eBooks for both FSL and ESL students.
Are there any other ideas you would like to share that have worked well in your classroom? We would love to hear them!