The awarding of badges for successful achievement of a learning goal has become very popular in education. I have modified badges into certificates and, specifically, certificates of speaking for my beginning Spanish students.
I design a specific speaking task such as orally answering ten written questions about a previously unseen picture in two minutes. These questions cover very basic questions such as “Where is the person?… How old is the person?..” The students orally answer each question and their partners make a slash for each meaningful, appropriate, and comprehensible answer on a score sheet. I do include fourteen questions so that if students cannot figure out how to answer one question, they can skip it and do another question. In addition, more advanced students can try to answer all fourteen in two minutes. When the speaking students have achieved three times of answering the required number of sentences in two minutes, they show me their score sheet, sign in on a class list under that certificate, and they receive a certificate. My certificates are half page certificates and they state the exact speaking achievement such as “orally answered ten written questions about a previously unseen picture in two minutes”.
I tell them that they now have proof of well they are doing in their Spanish speaking for this particular task. They can put the certificate in on their family or dorm fridge, take a picture and email it to friends and relatives, put it on their Facebook page, etc.
I have different certificates for their different speaking tasks. My students are now working on a family certificate in which they have to say ten different things about a family member. They cannot say the same basic sentence such as “”My father is tall…. My father is strong”; they have to include different verbs or use verbs in different ways.
Many students commented that this is the first time they have ever known how well they do on speaking in the target language except on a speaking test.
How to acknowledge your students’ achievements in speaking their new modern language?
My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.You can instantly use these many activities in your classroom with even beginning students when only half the class has mobile devices. It can downloaded as a pdf.
I have developed 5 Visual activities/games for any modern language (no words) and have developed 27 Spanish activities for students to begin to express themselves in the modern language and to move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle
My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at http://is.gd/tbook