Five Minute Classroom Check

What world language students do in their classroom reveals much about their teachers’ priorities. If teachers say that speaking is a priority and yet their students do not speak / converse in class, then speaking is not really a priority.

Teachers can do an every five minute check to determine what their students are doing in class. At the end of each five minutes, the teachers write down the exact type of activity that their students are doing in the classroom such as “learn vocab,” “tell time to partner,” “do gram. sheet,” “play gram. race” and “talk about classes.” Whenever the class is doing the same activity at the five minute mark, the teachers place a slash after the already written down activity.

After class, the teachers tally up what activities the students did and for how long. This provides a realistic view of what actually happens in the class. Teachers may find that their students spend more time preparing to speak such as learning vocabulary then in actually speaking. Teachers might consider ways to move their students from  “learning about” to “using” language.

Highly Effective World Language Communication Activities

Each student speaks in pairs so that everyone in the class can increase their amount of speaking.

Each student responds without looking at their notes, the handout, the textbook, the classwebsite, or the PowerPoint. They speak spontaneously.

Each student answers real situational or topical questions, not questions designed to illict a specific grammar point.

Each student answers many questions for the same topic so they go in-depth with a topic.

Each student answers many different questions. Often in class, students only get called on a few times.

Each student who answers a question or makes a response can receive formative feedback from the partner who can see a sample answer.

Each student has low emotional stress since the student is asked a question by another student and not the teacher. At the same time, often partners compete against each other to see who can answer the most questions or say the most sentences.

Each student can use the scaffolding of the asked question, the visual, etc. to help become successful in responding.

Modern Language Communication and Culture contains over 40+ communication activities that are ready to use for the classroom. To help you to find an appropriate activity, the activities have been subdivided into Modern Language (visual stories for all languages), Spanish, Can-Do, Groupings, Topics, Culture and Grammar.

Modern Language Communication and Culture Activities

Modern Language Communication and Culture Activities

Which of your activities are highly effective world language communication activities?

Three Levels of World Language Culture

Level 1: Students learn about another culture and the people from another culture by listening to the teacher, watching videos about another culture, seeing pictures, reading information,searching the web,  etc. At this level, the culture is one sided, the students learn about the other culture

Level 2: Students communicate with people from another culture. They can phone, videochat, converse with a native speaker in the class, email/text each other, send pictures, etc. Typically these conversations are about similarities and differences between the two cultures – a school day, places, foods, family, etc. A USA student may interview a person from Peru who works in the USA about food in Peru. A native speaker may teach something to the class and students ask questions about it.

Level 3: Students from both cultures work together on a collaborative project that goes beyond either classroom. For example, they may work together on ways to improve recycling in their communities, raise money for a Kiva project, be part of a rebuilding project, creating books for each other’s school, etc.


What level are your students at in terms of world language culture?

At, an ebook 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities (mainly speaking and many current culture activities).  At, many culture activities for interactive culture:

Modern Language Culture Activities Pack 4 Different Activities
Modern Language Culture Cities Visual Analysis
Modern Language Culture Ethnographic Observation
Modern Language Culture Mini-Presentation
Modern Language Culture Native Speaker In-Depth Interview

At,  5 any language  picture speaking activities and 25+ ready-to-use Spanish structured speaking activities  for beginning students (including 5 Can-Do ones). At, an ebook. Modern Language Proficiencies-Can-Do with many activities.  At, a book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment.