5. Occupy a New Role

Activity 1: Suspicions

A crime has been committed. For example, cheese was stolen from the cafeteria. Select a cast of suspects including teachers, staff, and students. In pairs, Student A is the detective and Student B is one of the suspects. Detectives are given prompts that will help learners construct sentences in the past. Student A will have to determine if Student B’s alibis are solid enough.

For more advanced students, prompts may not be necessary and they could describe their actual schedule to the detective.

Optionally, some pairs could act out the interrogation in front of the class and the class could decide who committed the crime.

This activity can be paired with a showing of the film 8 femmes, a musical about solving a murder. For example vocabulary could be drawn from the film, and some scenes acted out.

Activity 2: Masks

· First, ask students to create masks based on the unit of study (e.g. character, animal, or object). The masks are made out of a sheet of paper, folded in half. No scissors are needed.

· Students are given different situations each wearing a mask and respond to the situation based on their character. The characters can interact, debate, and discuss things as well. Then, students rotate masks and respond to a different prompt or situation. This activity couples well with a video series the class may watch or a theme from the textbook.

· Example A: Students have just studied bull fighting in Spain. Three masks are created: a matador, a bull, and a local community member. The three characters have to react to one of the following prompts: a) eating bull tail is a delicacy in Spain or b) bullfighting has been made illegal in Catalonia, Spain.

· Example B: Students have just studied novels by Victor Hugo. They create a mask based on a character from the Notre-Dame de Paris (Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Frollo) and react to one of the following prompts inspired by the themes in the novel: a) people can’t be judged by their physical appearance or b) destiny can be changed.

· Masks can be used again for Mardi Gras.

Activity 3: Family Reunion

This activity comes from Foerester, S. & Miller, J. (1997). Teacher's Guide for Supplementary Materials to accompany the textbook Puntos de Partida. New York: McGraw Hill.

Each student receives a card with clues to his/her identity. They need to stand up, mingle, and ask questions of the other students to find their family.

There are three families in the room and each member needs to reunite with his/her family based on the information given. Once the three families are reunited, transition to an activity that requires three groups.

Activity 4: Puppet Problems

Ask students to create simple sock puppets or Popsicle stick puppets. In class, divide the students into groups of three. Assign one puppet the therapist role and the other two a problem (e.g. sibling rivalry, parent/child curfew negotiation).

Ask the group to create a counseling session with all puppets using the subjunctive (or similar advice giving structures) as much as possible. After practicing, the groups may perform their puppet show for another group or the class.