It was really great to see the students push themselves to communicate in another way than English. They were using gestures, facial expressions, and other strategies for speaking! It was wonderful to see one of my fourth graders (who struggles with French class) have his "A-Ha!" moment when he started to read the resources around the classroom. It was so rewarding to see that he knew where to find the answers to some of the questions asked.
After the activity, we had a quick discussion (in English) about what challenges they faced; the strategies they used; how they could be more successful in the activity; and what would they change about playing next time. The class had some really insightful comments about their learning. One student noted how some of the strategies came "naturally" when they were trying to communicate. Another student made a great connection to a social issue: she noted that even though she knew some French the activity was challenging. She connected her experience to that of a New Canadian trying to communicate after immigrating. So much learning!
If you want to try this activity, here are the instructions: This activity works best when anchored to a specific set of vocab. We were using some questions from our "Je me presente" unit as a starting point for discussion. Each student is given a number of sticks (or counters, something that they can trade for the activity.) In pairs, they start to have a conversation. I found that the students were really good about "policing" themselves to speak in French. I often heard, "ah ah ah, en francais!" while the game was going on.
The goal is to collect all the sticks from your partner. I gave the students 3 sticks, so when someone collected 6 the game was over. With my older students, I have them switch partners and play another round.
I am already thinking of some adaptations to try this again. Do you have any ideas? Suggestions?