I stole this idea from Bryan Kandel, on his post ‘la luz’. Thank you for this great idea, Bryan!
How do you ensure 90-100% Target Language in your classes?
Does it work for 90-100% of the class time?
I am amazed at teachers who can do this, and I strive for 90% TL in my class. However, with 90-minute middle school classes, it is incredibly difficult (and almost unreasonable) to make them be ON 90% of the time.
I use a mix of carrot and stick to get the students speaking all in Spanish.
The stick: Blaine Ray’s Págame system. You probably know how it works. Students lose 5 participation points for speaking in English out of 100 for the semester. They can make up 4 of them by writing a cheesy note about how AMAZING my teaching is. I have one student job as policía. They have a notebook and write down the name of the students who receive págame. Blaine says you HAVE to catch them any time they speak English and squash it. I know this benefits the students and the class, but I am terrible at it.
The carrot: The students can earn free time when they speak only Spanish consecutively for 50 minutes. (No blurting out in English, no talking to their friends, and they have to say “en inglés, por favor” to ask a question.) Another student job is Target Language Timer. They have their stopwatch or timer and anytime I hear English, I say ‘ALTO’ and the timer resets. So it’s incredibly difficult for them to get to 50 consecutive minutes, but it’s something to strive for.
Dilemma: I like to do turn-and-talks and brain breaks and partner work. They are going to speak English during those times. How do I mark when it is OK to speak English and when it is not OK?
SPANISH LANGUAGE LIGHTS! When the lights are on, the timer is running. When the lights are off, the timer is paused. I used Christmas lights.