This week I would like to share with you a quick speaking activity for practicing contextual sets of vocabulary (the words need to share a common context so that they can be used to tell a story). This activity has been shown to improve both fluency and accuracy! The student can do this activity alone or you can do it in class (in pairs). So, this can be a great exercise to use in class or assign for homework. Here are the basic steps:
- Present a contextual set of vocabulary (words about exercise, verbs of habit, etc.) and perhaps allow the students to do a few controlled practice activities.
- Students think of story or summary that contains all the vocabulary words. They make brief notes. The story should last for 3 minutes exactly, so there should be a lot of detail (Note: students should NOT fully write out the story. They can refer to their notes during the activity, but this is a speaking/summarizing activity and not a writing activity).
- The student tells the story in 3 minutes. If they are doing this for homework, they should record themselves. If they are doing it in class, their partner should make notes on the story in terms of things that were expressed clearly, things that were not clearly expressed and suggestions on how to improve.
- If the student is at home, they then will give themselves feedback by listening to the recording and make notes of things that were expressed clearly, things that were not clearly expressed and suggestions on how to improve.
- If they are doing this in pairs, then they should have a feedback discussion based on the notes the partner took while listening and come up with some ideas for improvement.
- The student then tells the SAME story in 2 minutes. They record themselves/ have partner observe and make notes.
- The student again either self-reflects or has a mini-feedback session with their partner.
- The student then repeats the complete story for a third time – this time in 1 minute.
- The student then listens to the final recording/ gets feedback from their partner. Was it better? If not, they should not be discouraged. After trying this a few times, students will get better at it!
So, by this time you have probably figured out that the 3, 2, 1 name comes from the amount of time the students have to tell their stories. Try this out and let us know how it goes!