Use a blindfold.
It makes activities a bit more fun!
Try these ideas:
1- Describe the “mystery classmate.” While students are able to see, have them look carefully at what each classmate is wearing. To help students recall previously acquired L2 vocabulary, Teacher can choose to walk around the classroom using L2 phrases and sentences like these: “Boys and girls, notice that Jack is wearing a purple shirt and that his shoes are brown. And remember Jack’s hair color. His hair is brown but Josiah’s hair is black.” Etc.
Pick 3 volunteers. Student #1 will be blindfolded. Student #2 will be the “mystery classmate.” Student #3 will need to use L2 phrases/sentences to describe the mystery classmate to Student #1. Student #1 (the blindfolded volunteer) must guess who the “mystery classmate” is based on the description.
2- Build a puzzle. Put a blindfold on yourself and pretend like you’re having a difficult time getting the pieces in the right spot. With older students, use a document camera so they can see from their seats. With younger students, have them sit in a circle so they can watch what you’re doing.
As you struggle with the zoo animals puzzle, say L2 words/phrases like, “Okay…ummm…zebra? No, not a zebra. Elephant? An elephant? No. Not an elephant.” (Touch the long neck on the giraffe piece.) “Hmmm. Long neck. Oh…oh! Giraffe…a giraffe! Yes. Okay.” (Start feeling the empty spaces to figure out where the giraffe piece goes.) “Here. Yes, here. The giraffe goes here.” In order to get students talking, ask L2 questions like, “does the giraffe go here or does the giraffe go here?” or “Hmm. Where does the giraffe go? Here? No? Here? No? WHERE!? Where does it go!?”
3- Organize items. With your eyes uncovered, show students a set of items (i.e. a set of classroom objects, a set of food items, clothing, toiletries…etc). Show pictures of the same items. Put the set of items in a box and cover your eyes with the blindfold. Lay out the pictures of the corresponding items while saying things like, “Okay…this picture…hmmm…what’s in this picture? Is this a picture of a carrot or is this a picture of a banana?” (Students answer.) “Okay, thanks. The picture of the carrot goes here. And what’s in this picture?” (Students answer.) “Okay the picture of the banana goes here.” Finish laying out the pictures and say, “Okay…the picture of the carrot is here and the picture of the banana is here and the picture of the orange is here and the picture of the tomato is here. Great.” Now reach for the box of the corresponding items while still blindfolded. Take out an item and say L2 sentences like, “Okay…umm…this is NOT a banana, this is NOT a tomato…this is DEFINITELY an orange.” Place the orange on top of the picture of the orange. Have fun making intentional mistakes. Put the orange in the wrong place. Students will want to correct you using the L2 sentences you’ve just finished modeling. For students that need extra help, have the target sentences posted nearby for reference.
4- Order sequence words. (i.e. months of the year, days of the week, L2 numbers by 10s to 100 or by 100s to 1,000.) Blindfold yourself, mix up the target vocabulary flashcards, and post them in random order on the board. Use L2 sentences to ask the students what’s written on each flashcard. Elicit their verbal instructions to help you successfully sequence the target vocabulary.
5- What changed? (Hint: This won’t work so well with novice students.) Pick Student #1 to stand in front of the class. Pick Student #2 to be blindfolded. While Student #2 CAN’T see, Student #1 will have to change ONE THING. (i.e. put his wrist watch on the other hand, button the top button of his shirt, untie one of her shoes, take one earring out…etc) Once STUDENT #1 has changed one thing, Student #2 must take off the blindfold and use L2 phrases and sentences to guess what changed.
Share your target language teaching experiences!