Something that I found most overwhelming about transitioning to comprehensible input (CI) is that there are so many different strategies. How do you know where to start, or what to choose? Let’s start with this: you researching methods is a great place to start, and you’re doing a fantastic job!
A strategy that worked for me was to pick one method, and try it until I felt comfortable and confident. As I became more familiar with methods, I added new ones until I had several to use in my planning. This had the bonus of reducing my plan and prep time. It also makes it easier to spend more time in Spanish in my classroom, even at level one. When you use a few activities routinely, you get better at them, and the students know what to expect. It may get to a point where you can name the activity and students will remember expectations and transition as needed!
Comprehensible Input Activities in Spanish Class
Here are seven strategies you can implement in your classroom and use routinely to save time and engage your students! Click on the links in each activity to get more in-depth info on each one.
1. Movie Talk is what I routinely refer to as my “gateway activity” that got me into CI. Use selected scenes, shorts, or screen grabs to provide images for your students that you narrate in the target language. I love that using a movie or YouTube video provides the plot and removes any stress of creating a story.
2. Read Out Loud – You read, they read, we all read, reading is great! It’s low energy, low-stress, and a great confidence booster for students to read and understand a text in their target language. The linked post has a few ideas for variants.
3. Speed Date Translate – Read out loud, plus movement. Students read and translate with a partner, rotating partners at a set time. If each partner stops at a different spot, they have to go back and re-read parts of the story so they’re together. Win!
4. The Most Important Sentence is another activity that involves a lot of re-reading. However, this time it includes some re-writing and some analysis. Students are given a story and are challenged to narrow down the text to determine which is the most important sentence.
Dictation (Classic // Running) – Whichever variation you choose is great practice! Students get to hear the structures multiple times and write the language they hear. It’s also a great chance for them to monitor their own accuracy and spelling in a low-stress way.
6. Picture Talk is actually something I use so frequently it’s one of my weekly routines. It is very, very similar to Movie Talk, except you focus on one or two images instead of a movie. It’s a great way to relate to students as you share silly images you found on the internet.
7. True/False is one of the simplest activities there is, but that’s no reason to hate on it! Students create their own true or false statements about a reading selection, trade, and answer. I love that this gives students a chance to “create” sentences, while being provided with a lot of structure. Simply by adding a “no”or changing a name or adjective they begin to understand and play with meaning. There are also a few short extensions or games you can play with this activity!
There! Those seven strategies are my most used CI activities in my classroom. Have you used any of these activities? Am I missing any of your favorites? Drop a comment below, or visit me on Instagram!