In English conversation classes, one popular activity is "Find Someone Who". Often, these activites are copied out of resource books or created by the teacher; sometimes, they appear in communicative textbooks. These activities are easily extended to Captur activities.
What Are "Find Someone Who" Activities?
These "Find Someone Who" activities contain sentences about people, but the names are left blank. For example:
- _______ likes spicy food.
- _______ has been to California.
- _______ can ski well.
The students are to go around the classroom asking other students questions based on these sentences. For example:
- Do you like spicy food?
- Have you ever been to California?
- Can you ski well?
When they find someone whose answer fits the sentence, they write that person's name in the blank space.
Adapting "Find Someone Who" Activities for Captur
Before students do the "Find Someone Who" activity, I use the Captur paddles to review the question structures that they'll need to use. I wrote about that in an article about reviewing Yes / No Question Forms.
You can survey your students. Read out the sentences, but in the 1st person. For example:
- I like spicy food.
- I have been to California.
- I can ski well.
On the board, use the Captur Board Magnets or write A: and B: to display the options:
True (This is true about me.)
False (This is not true about me.)
As you read out each sentence, students will use their Captur paddles to show you their answers. If you want, you can write down the approximate vote ratio to share with the students later on.
If you do this before the class-wide speaking activity, it's a good warm-up to check their understanding of the items. If you do it afterwards, it's a good follow-up to review all of the items.
We've found that when students are giving an answer about themselves, they tend to pay attention to the meaning of what they're voting on. If you want to really challenge their listening, tell them that you're going to mix up the order of the book's sentences, and that you're going to include some extra sentences just "for fun." These extra sentences should include some that are universally true or false for everyone, so that you have a 50/50 chance of detecting random answers. For example, if you say, "I am human", you should see a sea of (True). If you say, "I like eating paper cups", the classroom should be filled with responses of (False).
This works just like "Suveying Students" above, but this time, students show you A for "probably true" (this sentence is probably true about the teacher) or B for "probably false" (this sentence probably isn't true about the teacher).
Alternative: Give students a couple of minutes for discussion in English before you ask to see their answers. This allows them some real communication in the target language. Also, the "pressure" of showing an answer at the end of the short discussion provides some real motivation.
How Well Do You Know Me?
This works just like "Students Speculate" above, except that the students are in small groups of about six. Students take turns being the center of their group's attention. Each student reads out a few sentences about themselves, and the others in the group respond with their Captur tools (A for true, B for false).
An alternative is for students to read 2 true sentences and 1 false sentence about themselves, and the others, after talking it over in English, vote on which sentence was the false one. For example, a student may say (or write on a piece of paper to show the group),
I have a dog.
I can cook well.
I've been to Kyoto.
The other students can have a few minutes to ask the student some questions in an attempt to find out which of the three statements is false:
- "What's your dog's name?"
- "What's your favorite meal to cook?"
- "When did you go to Kyoto?"
Then, everyone in the group uses their Captur paddles to say which statement is probably the one that's not true.
This activity is more challenging for students, because it checks their understanding of the sentences while also asking them to process some new information. The teacher reads out the sentences in the first person, and adds a second sentence. Students use Captur to let you know if the second sentence logically follows from the first, or at least shares a logical connection. So, on the board, you'd have:
It's logical. There's a connection between the two sentences.
It's illogical. There's no connection between the two.
It could be logical. I'm not sure.
Students show A for "it's logical", B for "it's illogical", and C for "it could be logical." The option of C is to help prevent guessing.
Here are some examples of the teacher reading out a sentence, and then adding a second one:
- Read aloud: "I like spicy food." Say: "So, I've visited the USA." (This is illogical.)
- Read aloud: "I like spicy food." Say: "So, I like curry." (This is logical.)
- Read aloud: "I've been to California." Say: "I went to Los Angeles." (This is logical. It could have happened.)
- Read aloud: "I can ski well." Say: "So, I like English very much." (This is illogical.)
One approach really encourages communication between students:
- First, the teacher reads the sentence, then adds a second one, as in the examples above.
- Next, the students show their answer with their Captur paddles.
- After that, the students are told to talk with the small group of students around them. The goal is for students to justify their answers.
- After a few minutes of talking, the teacher calls for a second "vote" on the answer. The teacher can take a rough tally of the votes, and share the results with the class.
- The teacher reveals the correct / best answer, and tells the students why.
These steps are found in constructivist approaches to education in science and math courses. In those settings, the students are really learning about the core concepts that are at the foundations of those fields. In this case here, though, we're focusing on motivating foreign language learners to really attend to meaning, and to then feel motivated to share their thoughts with others.
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