Salad Bowl: A mixer game turned into vocabulary review.

As I learn and experience teaching with comprehensible input, there seem to be times during the year when we just need to take a step back and use language in a different way.  When I focused my course on legacy practices I spent a lot of time presenting vocabulary and playing vocabulary games that had little to do with students connecting to words, but students enjoyed those activities.

Now, I find myself forgetting to try these types of activities as I fear taking the focus from meaning.  I’ve found salad bowl to fit that “game like” activity that students love, yet it still offers a chance for students to connect to words.  I’ve heard of people playing this game in a mixer, get to know you kind of setting.  It goes something like this:

  • a group of people splits into 2 teams
  • everyone sits in a circle alternating between teams
  • everyone writes a word or phrase on an index card and throws it in a salad bowl
  • the salad bowl is passed and each person takes a 30 second turn to attempt to get their teammates to guess the word or phrase but they may not use any form of the word or phrase in their attempt.

This is a simple idea that is a great way to review vocabulary.  You can have students write down target words or structures and/or you can also add words or structures you want to review.  I gave students 2 minutes as I want to make sure they have enough time to process in the L2.  I noticed the following today as I did this with level 2 with recent words used to discuss love and trust in Latin.

  • Students were able to come up with more words and phrases in Latin than they anticipated.
  • When a student was stuck, a simple Latin word from me helped them many times come up with more.
  • If a student was really stuck it gave me a chance to give input and circle certain phrases.
  • When it was a student’s turn, they connected the word to something that they were processing.  It created simple and low stress context for them.
  • Students who were guessing were able to compare and expand their own connections to the words.
  • There was community as some students attempt to guess what the others were thinking.
  • I simply made cards of recent words to prep the activity.
  • I enjoyed the time to focus on students without my brain thinking ahead to what was next.  I simply was present and responded to them when needed.

Give salad bowl a try when you need a low prep kind of review activity or when you need a break from the insanity of trying to stay ahead of what is next on the agenda.  Head on over to Martin Bex’s site for more ideas.

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