foreign language communicative pair activities

A traditional staple of the foreign language classroom is student pair activities. I am collecting a list of pair activities that can work with the needs of students in their first year or two, who might not be ready to produce spoken language. These ideas have been shared, borrowed, changed, and re-shared by a generous community of teachers. I try to give credit when there is a name attached, but many of these ideas are a product of the language teacher Hive.

Pair Activities:

Volleyball or Ping Pong translation. Students take turns translating sentences or parts of a text aloud. Add Social Emotional Learning (SEL) questions to provide additional personalization and engagement. See Keith Toda and Martina Bex’s blogs for more info on these ideas

One student reads a passage, another student summarizes in English.

Cut up a story into strips. Students take a strip, write a translation on the back. Then students spend 2 minutes with a partner holding up the paper so the student sees the text. They look at their own translations to help classmate if they get stuck. Just make sure you haveĀ  checked in with students after they write their translation.

Student re-tells of a story to a partner using pictures, drawings, etc.

Cut up song lyrics, and have students arrange them in order while listening to the song. Could be done with a story as well.

Students work together to write up a story they have worked on, based on memory. They write as much as they can. Then teacher reads the story, and students mark or underline what they recall. Add what they don’t.

List of comprehension questions (in English or TL) for each pair. they work together to answer the questions using the reading/story.

Project a story on screen, have one student face the screen and one face away. Student facing away retells the story. Student facing the screen compares what they here with the story, and adds details as they go.

(Carla Tarini) Put 6 -8 sentences on board. All kids have mini white boards. Put kids in pairs. Student A has 20 seconds to draw one of the sentences and Student B has to guess which one, by reading the sentence from the board. A slight variation to that is to have Student A face th board and Student B have his/her back to the board. Student A reads a sentence and student B has to comprehend and draw it.