So when I really start losing my students I stop and have everyone stand up. (Brain Break!) I hold out my hands as if I am holding a ball. I describe the ball. I go to other students and have them look at the ball. They tell me if they like it or not. If they don’t like it I may cry or get angry. If they like it I might dance or jump and have them do it with me. Then I call on someone, and I throw them the ball. Then they choose to throw the ball to someone else. I have the students throw and catch the ball anyway they want. Along the way I narrate in the target language-
Asa has the ball. He looks for someone. He sees Brennan. Asa, are you throwing it fast or slow? Asa throws the ball fast to Brennan. Brennan catches it! Brennan has the ball. He looks at the ball. He is looking for someone. He sees Anna…etc.
When I am ready to move on to the next activity then I have the last person “keep” the ball. They can put it in their pocket or just hold it. If class isn’t over then I may check in with them throughout the next activity to make sure they still have it. I make a big production of becoming frantic if the student can’t “find it.” Then when I am ready to play again I have that person start.
- I can make this an quick activity or if my students are into it then I keep it going. My goal is for them to listen to my narration so if they stop listening, I stop playing. Sometimes I delay the actions just so students remember that they are responding to my narration not just what they think will happen next.
- I could have a student pretend to have something in his hands. The student has to describe it to the class by answering my questions. Then we can throw/pass to another student.
- I use “la pelota” because I was doing it as a part of a Sports Unit. But I could use other things too. Anything that can be thrown or passed to other students. Lots of options to match the vocabulary I am targeting. For example, something breakable to get repetitions of “Did it break?” “Oh no it broke.”
- I make the ball invisible for multiple reasons. First, it adds a little magic into the class. It is fun to pretend. Second, I am not athletic and not all my students are either. The students decide if they catch the ball or throw it super fast. Third, I prefer not to break anything in my room.
- I have used this with my 1st and 2nd graders but I think it could be used in older grades.