Dinner and a Movie

In Spanish I I’ve been struggling with how to practice vocabulary and grammar in the most realistic situations possible.  In a unit about free time, the textbook contains words such as comida, cena, cine, and película, which made me think of a fabulous activity that Zachary Jones does where students go online to choose a movie, a restaurant close to the theater, and figure up how much it will cost.  The activity can be found at http://zachary-jones.com/zambombazo/vamos-al-cine-planea-tu-noche-de-cine-23-03-2012/

I used his idea to make a more low-tech activity that we could do in the classroom since getting into the computer lab is not always possible at my school.  I had the students work in pairs to read a page of movies and a page of restaurants in Buenos Aires, then choose which ones they wanted to go to.  Here are the directions I gave the students, the movie and restaurant sheets, and the student answer sheet.

cena cine instructions

Vamos al cine

Vamos a un restaurante

cena cine handout

When finished, I asked the students to trade with other pairs and read what they wrote.  Then I had students share some of their sentences with the class and I asked a few questions.  The students handed the papers in so I could look through them, then I posted them on a bulletin board. 

The parts about the lesson that I like are that the students used authentic cultural resources, and practiced targeted vocabulary and grammar.  The part of the lesson that I am critical about is I cannot be sure what the students got out of it.  Their efforts led to writing sentences on a paper that I looked over and posted in the classroom.  How do I know they really learned anything?  How could I have taken this activity further to make it more meaningful than writing a few sentences on a paper?  Could it be a smaller part of a larger project? Could I change the finished product somehow?  It just doesn’s sit well with me that the end of the activity is handing in a worksheet that no one will really do anything with.  Reader comments and suggestions on this matter would be greatly appreciated!

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One Response to Dinner and a Movie

  1. Loly says:

    Wendy, sometimes I feel the same way…you do something with the students, and have them write a few sentences and the final question is “then what?”….Since the ultimate goal is for the students to speak, perhaps having them learn what they wrote and expressing it orally in conversation to their classmates.

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