The Silent Conversation

At some point in each novel we read in class, the characters face a difficult decision or make a surprising choice. This is the perfect time to wrap up the chapter with a silent conversation.

Students turn to their foursomes (5 if you have a big class or odd numbers) and each take out a sheet of paper. Throughout the activity they have to remain silent!

1. At the top of the sheet, they should write a question to one of the characters.
2. Pass the paper to the right and each student responds to the question as if the question was directed at them.
3. Pass to the right again and either expand on the response of student 2 or answer it a different way. Students may ask further questions as well.
4. Pass to the right again and respond to any new questions or comment further on the conversation so far. Encourage students to try to see things from a variety of view points and to ask a lot of questions!
5. Collect as a formative assessment.

We ask so many questions when we use language in the real world. This activity can be a great formative reading assessment that also reinforces that question asking skill!!

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at

4 thoughts

  1. I also LOVE this idea! I am going to use it soon with my MS-13 unit we’re doing. Thanks Carrie! You are awesome and I appreciate you sharing your ideas so very much!

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