Remember when you were in school and you sat for most of the day, listening to teachers talk? I used to go to the restroom during class just to have a reason to move around. Obviously, as teachers, we want our students focused, we want them listening and participating, and we don’t want them leaving for the restroom just so they can move around. Younger kids have recess, and we know that helps, but what about our secondary students? Can we really expect them to sit still most of the day?
Movement is so important for learning. It increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, helps them maintain focus, and decreases incidences of behavior that are usually related to boredom or a child’s inability to sit still for one more minute. Fortunately for foreign language teachers, there are so many ways to bring movement into your classroom with little or no preparation on your part. It does mean that you have to be ready for movement and noise, but I promise that once you get used to students moving around, you’ll wonder why you had them sitting so much in the first place!
Here are some easy ways to bring movement into your classroom.
1. Role playing
2. Ball toss
3. Montrez-moi !
Call out verbs and have students act out the verb. For example, when you say “courir,” students run in place. When you say “manger,” students pretend to eat. My students love this one!
4. Play charades
5. Have learning stations.
6. Stand up and stretch.
7. Use structured activities geared towards movement.
French speaking cards
2. Give each student a question and have them read it for comprehension. Have students form 2 circles, one inside of the other. Each student should have a partner. The inside circle faces the outer circle. (If you have an odd number, just substitute someone in each time and have the odd student out help other students.) The students from the inside circle ask their questions first. Their partner responds, then asks his/her questions. When all pairs have finished, the outside circle moves one partner to the right. Continue until all questions have been asked.
3. When you collect the speaking cards, you can have students return to their seats and you can formatively assess them by calling out random questions.
Task cards and Scoot! game
This activity is a lot of fun and will get students moving!
Here’s what you do:
1. Give each student an answer sheet.
2. On each desk, tape one question. Tape them in order, so when students move from question 1, they will go to question 2.
3. Students start with the question on their desks and then progress to the next question. So, a student sitting at desk 10 would start with that question, then move to question 11.
4. Give students a set amount of time to answer the question, then say “Scoot!” If you want to use French terms, you can say “Filez” or “Bougez.”
5. I normally do 20 questions at a time, because I think this is about the amount of time my students like to play. This activity comes with 40 questions, so you can do two rounds or you can play on two separate days. The extra questions are great for a learning station or as bell works if you don’t think you’ll play twice.