Adventures in Comprehensible Style Listening Activities

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 May 2021-

As a CI teacher, I find that I am often surrounded with pleas to not force output. And that is 100% accurate. Forcing output from students before they are ready or able does not lead to good, happy, warm fuzzy feelings. However; there is a big difference (in my non-professional opinion) between output activities and interpretation activities. Output (again, in my non-professional opinion) means that students are having to produce language while interpretation means that students are showing understanding of language. Today, I want to tell you about a simple, virtually zero prep activity that I did this past week that required interpretation instead of production!

Listening is one of the easier forms of communication (like reading!) for people/students that have a base ability to understand language. On the other hand, writing and speaking are much harder. Just like young children, we listen from Day 1. Our brains start interpreting and assigning meaning from Day 1. Our second language learning students’ brains do the same with their second language.

For this activity I used Jamboard (have you read about how much I love Jamboard?!) and some clip art that I have purchased for use in some of my products (Super 7 story creator!) from DigitalArtsi on TeachersPayTeachers. The student I was working with has a solid foundation with colors, shapes, body parts, and common adjectives (big, long, etc.). I gave the student access to the Jamboard and chose a random monster from the clip art set. I began describing the monster slowly, “It’s purple. It has a head but no body, it has a big head. It has 6 legs. The legs are long, etc.” I did this very slowly and circled (or rephrased my language) for each description multiple times. When I finished, the student would ask my confirming questions if they needed to, “were there 6 legs or 8? were the spots on the legs or the whole monster? etc.” Then I would reveal the “real” monster and we would see how close they came! We repeated this process three times before they asked if they could describe a monster for me. And they did! Probably 60-70% in Spanish, too!

This simple listening activity took us about 20 minutes and was virtually zero prep. Great opportunity to circle and review “commonly taught” vocabulary in a non-CI program, or vocabulary that you may often work into a story! This is a great review for body parts, shapes, adjectives, colors, and numbers!

Have you tried something like this? I’d love to see! Tag me on Instagram @profezulita with your creations!

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