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5 Interpersonal Speaking Activities for Spanish Class

5 interpersonal speaking activities for spanish class

Interpersonal Communication

One of the three modes of communication we target within our classroom is interpersonal communication. This can be done via writing or speaking. When I was taking Spanish classes years ago, regular speaking activities were not as prevalent as they are these days, making me so nervous to share my voice in Spanish in upper-level and college classes. The more we can get students speaking, the stronger their confidence will be to continue practicing! 

Let’s take a look at 5 interpersonal speaking activities to get your students practicing regularly and building their confidence speaking the target language!

Pre-Chat Activities

To build student confidence, preview some questions similar to the question types they’ll see during the speaking activity. Model (perhaps with written samples on the board) how to properly respond to each type of question. Question types to consider:

  • Do you…? Yes/No  (¿Bailas bien? Sí, yo bailo bien)
  • This or that? (¿Ves la tele o escuchas música más? Yo escucho música más)
  • Open-ended (¿Adónde vas los sábados? Yo voy al parque)
  • YO answers (¿Tocas la guitarra? No, no toco la guitarra)
  • ÉL/ELLA answers (¿Quién en tu familia lee libros frecuentemente? Mi mamá lee libros frecuentemente)
  • NOSOTROS answers (¿Tú y tus amigos van al cine mucho? Sí, vamos al cine mucho.)

Idea #1: Chat Cards

Chat cards are great to get students up and moving around the room. Print a class set and distribute one question card to each student. I like to set students up in concentric circles: one student from the outer circle speaks to one student from the inner circle. Set a timer (30-45 seconds!) and students will each ask the question on their card, listen to their partner’s response and swap cards for the next rotation. One circle rotates one person to the right and conversations continue until students rotate all the way around (or your time is up!). 

Check out some ready-made chat cards here!

Idea #2: Find Someone...

During this activity, students are presented with a list of characteristics and have to find someone in class who can say YES to a certain question. For example, if you’re working on places around town and the verb IR + A, questions could consist of:

  • Find someone who goes to the beach every summer – ¿Vas a la playa cada verano?
  • Find someone who goes to the park after school – ¿Vas al parque después de la escuela?
  • Find someone who goes to the movies with friends a lot – ¿Vas al cine mucho con amigos?

I like to provide students the English and have them do the work of creating the questions in Spanish. We then review all questions as a class before they get up and move around the room to ask and answer questions in Spanish. When they find someone who answers yes, they note down his/her name. Want to expand on this activity? Allow students to write two classmate names per question (one yes and one no).

Extension Idea: Have students sit back down and write a report on what they learned. They can do this individually (Yo aprendí que…) or join their ideas with a partner to collectively describe what they learned (Nosotros aprendimos que…). This is great for adding the element of 3rd person practice!

— Ejemplo: Yo aprendí que Susi va a la playa cada verano, pero Marco no va a la playa cada verano. Yo aprendí que Sandra y Cecilia van al cine mucho con amigos. 

Idea #3: Student Interviews

Student interviews are a great way for students to practice conversing and expressing a variety of verb forms. For example, in the student interviews I design for my classes, students will:

  1. Read a set of questions (TÚ) and answer for themselves in written form (YO)
  2. Ask their partner these same questions and listen to his/her response (YO) and convert this to a sentence about him/her in 3rd person (ÉL/ELLA)
  3. Often, I’ll throw in a couple questions that ask about groups of people (ie. ¿Adónde van tu y tus amigos los viernes) to target the UDS. and NOSOTROS forms as well!

Looking for some pre-made entrevista activities? Check them out here!

Idea #4: Information Gap Activities

Information gap activities are ones in which students have to fill in missing information based on information someone else (ie. their partner) already has. This is great for getting students to ask questions in the target language to complete a task. 

While some textbooks include these types of activities, I have some low-prep tips for making them yourself! My favorite way to do this is have the students design something, pair up and then describe the design to a partner (or the partner can ask Q/As to learn about the design). Students can compare drawings at the end to see how well they did at describing and comprehending the details!

Sample ideas:

  • In a unit on school/classroom? Have students draw out a classroom with class materials and describe to their partner where items are located. Their partner will listen carefully and try to replicate this drawing. 
  • In a unit on family? Have students draw out a “famous people family tree” (they can make this up – ie. Shakira married to Abe Lincoln, with kids Spongebob and Taylor Swift). Students describe relations to their partner who tries to draw out the correct family tree.
  • In a unit on clothing? Have students design an outfit and describe the outfit to their partner, including colors, patterns, etc.

Idea #5: Class Chats

Are students new to the topic and still building their speaking confidence? Class chats are a great way to provide a LOT of comprehensible input and encourage students to produce responses with scaffolded support!

During class chats, you can present questions through visuals or text prompts. The biggest piece of advice I have is to repeat student responses back to the class for additional input. You can repeat back in the 3rd person or make connections between students (ie. Ah… Mariela y Sara van al supermercado con sus padres, pero Nico nunca va al supermercado). 

A few ideas:

  • show this or that images and have students share their preferences or what they tend to do/eat/wear/buy/etc.
  • present sample questions / prompts on a slide along with a word box of ideas (ie. ¿Para qué clase necesitas…. una calculadora / un bolígrafo / una computadora / etc.)
  • as comfort levels grow, present questions on screen for students to chat with a partner sitting next to them and then have students share responses (about themselves in 1st person or about their partner in 3rd person) with the class

Extension Ideas

Want a speaking activity to last a little longer? Looking to fill the random 10 minutes left of class? Try these extension activities:

  • After students chat/interview with a partner, call on students to share responses to various questions. Use this to find similarities/differences amongst students.
  • After an interview/find someone activity, have students do a writing assignment in which they describe what they learned about others in 3rd person
  • After exposing students to a variety of questions of a similar structure (ie. preterite, IR + A, etc.) have students write 3 NEW questions as an exit ticket out. Use these new questions as time fillers throughout the rest of the week!
  • Add elaboration questions based on questions students already answered. For example, if students answered ¿Vas al cine mucho?, follow up with ¿Cuándo? ¿Con quién? etc. to encourage students to say more

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¡Hola! I’m Kristen, the teacher-author behind La Profe Digital. I design Spanish teaching resources rooted in culture, communication and authentic resources to help save YOU time!

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