"We're tired of worksheets," they said. I had given them a total of two over the past two days and I had thought that they were a good review as we approach final exams. But there you have it - no more worksheets were wanted.
So we needed to review the dreaded preterite vs. imperfect today and worksheets were out of the question. We did a little practice activity and corrected it in class. Then I pulled a song out of the archives and we used it to discuss preterite, imperfect, and the uses of both. (See this old post on the brilliant song, Tu falta de ortografía.) But there are discussion questions on the sheet and I didn't want to assign them to be written (because that would make it a "worksheet"), and I knew that if we did them as a discussion in the large group that not everyone would participate.
So I assigned the questions as an oral activity. Students were given some time to prepare their answers and then I called them to my desk individually and asked them one of the three questions at random. They were told that they would not be allowed to read their response. They had to speak from memory. I graded them with a super simple speaking rubric which I'm sharing with you here today.
This is a good activity because students prepare answers to all three questions and when they know they are being graded on their vocabulary, pronunciation, thoroughness, and grammar, they really go out of their way to prepare good responses. The discussions I heard around the room made my heart all warm and fluttery in a good way. (Is that ser or estar? Don't forget to make it feminine. No, you say it like this . . . because there is an accent mark on it. Etc.)
Now here is where it becomes fun. I let them roll dice to figure out which prompt they would have to answer. Then somehow a classroom miracle occurred. The oral response inexplicably turned into a game. When it was their turn, a student would come up, take the die, go through their own personal good luck rituals, and roll. Applause would erupt if they got the number they were hoping for (or the 6 - which allowed them to select the prompt they wanted). They cheered for each other and they had an absolute blast with it! Honestly. I have never seen kids so excited by a speaking activity in my life and it made me soooo glad that I didn't give them another written review sheet!
The rubric is simple and easy to use. There is a grading key at the bottom of it which sets a high standard for an A - but makes a B or a C very obtainable. D and F grades really only apply to those students who are not making an effort. This, in my opinion, is how it should be.
Two rubrics fit on one sheet of paper so you can cut the sheet in half and save copies. And, because I teach so many different levels, I have a copy of the rubric in Spanish and one in English. I'm sharing it with you today in the hopes that you can get your students speaking and that it might be of some use to you. Have fun with it!