Students are in a world language class for forty minutes five times a week or 40 minutes x 5 days = 200 minutes; 200 minutes/ 60 minutes in an hour = 3.33 hours a school week. These fantastic forty minutes are the only time that the world language students can listen to their teachers speak the target language and react to the teachers and the only time the students can communicate in the target language and have other students react. During a five day school week of 120 hours (5 day x 24 hours), the students spend only 2.75% of their time in world language class. That extremely small number means that world language teachers have to maximize communication time in the classroom.
How much target language do your students hear during the Fantastic 40? How much target language do your students speak during the Fantastic 40? Could someone mistake your modern language class for an English class due to the large amount of English being spoken?
When world language teachers move from translation activities to communication activities, they move closer to the language goal of producing students who can communicate. Instead of having students play a translation game (one students holds up a card with English on one side and Spanish on the other while the partner says the Spanish for the English), students can say basic sentences. For colors, the students can say the colors of the objects in the class such as “The door is brown.” or they can change it into a question activity such as “The door is brown, right?” or “Is the door brown?” The teacher provides the sentence structure and then the students create the sentences that their partner answers/responds to. The students use the colors to describe or ask about their class; they communicate basic information. They use the colors for communication instead of for translation games.
How much world language do you use during the Fantastic 40 in you class? How much do the students use? Do they use words for communication instead of translation?
At http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle, I have 5 any language picture speaking activities; 25+ ready-to-use Spanish structured speaking activities (including 5 Can-Do ones) for beginning students; and numerous Spanish students-as-investigators cultural activities.
At http://bit.ly/tsmash, I have two ebooks, Modern Language Proficiency: Can-Do Strategies and 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities (mainly speaking and culture).,
At http://bit.ly/tuttlebks, I have the book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment.