Twenty Standards-based Activities to use in Thematic Units
Janet Glass

Powerpoint: Sustaining conversation and creating motivation are keys to building language proficiency. Download

"In a communication-based classroom, the practice and drill take place not for their own sake but in order for the student to participate in a specific communicative setting." Languages and Children by Curtain and Dahlberg

  1. Four corners: interpersonal

    Posters of each season in each corner of the room. Pick your favorite season. Move to that corner and explain why you prefer that season.

  2. Guessing Games: interpersonal

    What color is the car in my pocket? Look at the items on the floor. Which one is missing?

  3. Interview: Janet Glass: From Talk to Techclass="description"> interpersonal

    Is your car gray? Is your car black?

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  4. Survey: interpersonal

    How many people in the class have blue cars? Beige cars? Let's take a poll.

  5. Total Physical Response: interpretive

    Magic Bag, Flyswatter, Numbers card placement

  6. Using the Internet in a Controlled, Authentic Activity: interpretive and interpersonal

    Go to an online catalogue from the target culture such as You have 150 euros to spend for family gifts. One must be clothing. Let's discuss your choices.

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  7. Role-play Information Gap: pairs, interpersonal

    You want to make a play date (elementary/middle school) or a date (high school). You call to find out a common time and day you can get together.

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  8. Information Gap Activity - Partner A, Partner B: pairs, interpersonal

    Fill in the starred items with color. Without looking, direct your partner to color the blank items. Compare after completed.

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  9. Task-based Activity Map: small group

    With your team, take a card and find the answer on the map. Follow the instructions on the card. Return the card to the pocket board and get a new card.

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  10. Simulations: small group

    Disaster Relief: Each state is going to send clothing. Headquarters will call each group to check what you are donating.

    Airport: We are going on a trip to Cuba. We have to pass through customs. Please give your name, nationality and passport number.

  11. Simulations with Video: presentational, pairs/small group

    Presentational, pairs - Fashion Show: Describe what your partner is wearing as she walks down the runway/ dolls on the runway.

    Presentational, small group - The Blue Corn Café: Students create a restaurant scene. The weather channel

  12. Total Physical Response Storytelling: presentational, pairs and whole class

    Using gestures tell the story of El secreto de la llama.

  13. Acting out a Folktale with Props and Filming: presentational

    Students create puppets to go with their parts. The authentic story comes from the target culture. Video is shown the following year.

  14. Craft: interpersonal

    Make a paper fortune teller. Go around the class and tell people's "fortunes." Literature questions, vocabulary, play.

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  15. TPR: Skimmer Game: content-based

    Toss the plastic skimmer on the map. If you get Cuba in the center circle, you win.

  16. Quiz show game AMIGOS: pairs

    Three people are seated. Choose a friend. She leaves the room. She has to guess what you had answered: favorite color, favorite activity, etc…. If they guess correctly, your team gets a point.

  17. Personalized Vocabulary

    Use staff and technology to help personalize the vocabulary. Teaching feelings? Photograph the teachers' expressions.

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  18. Jig-saw Activity: small group

    Each person has a different part of the house. Get together and answer, How many bathrooms? Do children live there? What do they like to do?

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  19. Making Brochures: presentational

    Use a publisher program to create a brochure of your school for an audience outside the class.

  20. Tech

    Using digital voice recorders puts the technology into all students' hands to practice sustained conversation simultaneously. Can also be done through audio programs on laptops. Download to computers for assessment.

Video clips can be found at