Reading Activity: Speed Date Translate

Finding new ways to include reading in my classroom has been the biggest part of my lesson plans this year. Whether it’s getting them to interact with the reading in some way via True and False Statements or the Most Important Sentence activity, or just getting them to re-read the story, having a variety of activities that all boil down to, “Here, read this again” is important!

The other day I posted about Two Ways to Read Out Loud in class. This is taking one of those ways, and putting a twist on it! It also includes movement because sometimes they just need to get up and out of those chairs!

What Is It?

Speed Date Translate is a reading activity where students work with a partner to read and translate a story, in a Volleyball or Ping Pong Translation style. The catch is that while they are reading I have a tabata timer running! If you’re unfamiliar with a tabata timer, tabata is a style of workout that involves high-intensity exercise for a period of time, followed by a brief period of rest. In the classroom, I use a tabata timer to show periods of work and a brief period of time to transition to a new partner.  The traditional tabata timer is 20 seconds on, followed by 10 seconds off, but I find that to be too fast for Speed Date Translate. This timer uses 40 seconds of work and 10 seconds of transition time and it works really well for students to read and rotate! When the timer beeps, students move to a new partner and pick up where they left off!

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You Need:

Any reading selection (copies for each student or projected on the screen)
A timer that buzzes loudly (Youtube, or a phone app)
*It also makes life easier if you happen to have an even number of students, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t. Just make sure you’re clear about how the group of 3 should work!

How It Works:

This usually works best if students are familiar with Volleyball or Ping Pong Translation. The basic gist is that Partner 1 reads a sentence in Spanish, then Partner 2 translates the sentence to English. Then, Partner 2 reads the next sentence in Spanish and Partner 1 translates. They continue the pattern until the alarm buzzes. Then, they rotate. When they get to their new partner, they need to quickly compare where they left off in the reading. They should pick up at the spot closer to the beginning.

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You can continue this for as long as you like, or as long as there’s interest! I usually do about 10-12 rotations, or just enough so each pair meets once. I usually like to set out my rotations ahead of time, so students know where or how to move. You can also easily do this in two large lines or circles in your classroom if you have enough space. One row or circle would just move one place over.

Any questions? Comments?

There! Speed Date Translate is definitely one of my favorite low-prep reading activities to use, but I think it can be kind of tricky to explain, so if that didn’t make sense, feel free to drop a comment here or come say hi on my Instagram to get some clarification!

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