Back to school for level 3 and 4: Batalla de las vacaciones

Several years ago, I discovered Ben Slavic’s circling with balls and have been using it as my go-to back to school activity in level one ever since. It allows me to get to know my students very well, very quickly! I’m able to instantly hit the 90% ACTFL target in a completely comprehensible way!

Levels 3 and 4 have been a little harder for me to pin down. I’ve tried variations of the circling with balls technique but I haven’t had much success finding just the right one. Every year I try something new and every year its back to the drawing board.

I am hoping that this year’s back to school idea is going to be the big winner. It will allow me to do a lot of past tense pop-ups and will encourage past narrative from students. It will reinforce question asking and will really rely on interpersonal communication…. I hope!

Batalla de las vacaciones (As it looks in my head… time will tell about real life)
1. I share an exciting event from one of my summer trips and allow students to ask further questions. I encourage students to add a funny/outlandish event as they ask me about it. I choose one of the funny/outlandish events and finish describing my trip as though it actually happened.
2. Another student shares a vacation memory and we repeat the process… now comparing this student’s vacation to mine as he/she describes the vacation including any funny events suggested by the class.
3. After many students have had the opportunity to share vacation highlights, we will poll everywhere to determine whose vacation was the most incredible. The winner gets something cheesy like a red solo cup with a cut out of a palm tree that says “mejor vacacion”…

In my mind it will require us all to work together, create with language, and hopefully do a lot of laughing. I’ll let you know how that works out!

Ex. This summer, I spent a week in Denver, CO at North High School. I went to Denver to attend a conference but some really crazy things happened while I was there….

photo by Dustin Williamson

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