Group Translation Competition

One way to liven up choral translation when reading a text is to split the class into groups and have them compete against each other to translate the sentences correctly. Group 1 has the opportunity to translate the first sentence. If they are correct they get a point, and if they are incorrect, another group can steal for the point. Then it is group 2’s turn to translate, and so on until all the groups have gone and the text is translated in full. You can also offer a bonus point each round if groups do not speak out of turn and are focused.

Source: Carrie Toth, Somewhere to Share

Alien Drawing

This is a activity to either introduce or assess the structures “had” and “was”. Start by giving each student a piece of white paper. Then tell the students in the target language that you saw an alien last night and ask them to draw it as you describe it. You can say things like “He HAD a head. It WASN’T a circle. It WAS a square. He HAD a lot of eyes.” This way students get lots of repetitions of the two structures and while enjoying themselves as well.

Source: Carrie Toth, Somewhere to Share

Sentence Strips

This activity is a good way to get students to reread the same story several times in a more enjoyable way. Prepare the game by taking several sentences from a story and putting the sentences out of order on a piece of paper. Have the students cut the sentences into strips. Once everyone has done this, give them the signal to start. They must then put the sentences in the correct order. When they are finished they check with the person next to them to see if they have put the sentences in the same order. If so, they stand up, but it not they must work together to come up with the same answers. After everyone has finished, you can read through the sentence strips together to make sure everyone has them in the correct order.

You can stop there, or extend the game by writing a new sentence on the board. Then students must move their strips apart to make space where they think the most logical place for the new sentence is. After you have done a few of these sentences, give students 3 strips each of pink paper and have them write their own sentences on them and insert them at the appropriate place in the story. Finally, have them take those 3 sentences out and swap with another student, then place the new sentences into their story.

Source: Cynthia Hitz, TPRS with Spanish 1

Emotions Analysis

This activity is good for getting more reps and also for helping students to practice their critical thinking skills. It works better as a class discussion as opposed to an assessment. Basically, after reading a story, take 10 events from the story. Then choose a character that is associated with each event and decide on four emotions that describe how the characters feel about those events. Read a sentence that best describes the moment you have chosen and have students choose which emotion they think best fits what the character is feeling at that moment. Have students write their answers on individual whiteboards or have them answer by holding up their fingers to show their choice (ie. 3 fingers means emotion number 3).

Source: Martina Bex, Lesson Plans for CI/TPRS Classrooms


A story retell can be done at any point during a story and it has several purposes. It not only gives the teacher a break from providing input, but it also gives the students more processing time and lets them have a little bit of a break. By listening to the students retell the story, it is also easier to see where they are struggling. It is a great comprehension check too, as they have to be able to really understand the story to retell it. Some ideas for retells are:

  • students simply take turns retelling the story to a partner
  • one partner gets a copy of the written story and the other student retells as much of the story as possible without looking (if they do get into trouble, the partner can then prompt them with the next part of the story)
  • everyone tells the story to their hand all at the same time
  • the class dictates the story to the teacher

Source: Michele Whaley, moreTPRS