My biggest classroom challenge is to get my students to speak Spanish and stay in the target language during class. I have enlisted the help of "billetes mágicos" to keep my students in the target language as much as possible. I found these coupons in Vamos a Charlar by Carlex, but you can certainly create your own very easily. I xeroxed and handed out 3 of these coupons to each student. Whenever the students have a conversational activity I ask them to pull out their billetes and require them to only use Spanish until we switch back to "English-is-allowed" mode. If their partner or someone who is sitting next to them slips into Enlgish the student can take a billete away. At the end of the week, I give the students with the most billetes an extra credit point.
Somethings I have figured out:
-If both students have been using the target language well & have the same number of billetes, they both will be rewarded with an extra point.
-If a student's partner is not taking away the billete, because a) he is not paying attention to the English usage, or b) he doesn't want to take his friend's billete away, I TAKE it away & give it to another student who is doing a great job in class that day.
-If a student looses all her billetes, and keeps talking in English because she "doesn't have any more to loose", then I tell her that I will need to start taking participation points off, and typically this stops the English usage.
-I incorporte my daily conversational activity early in the period, and try and keep a Spanish-only class until the bell rings.
-If I finish my lesson early, I love to hear my students chatting about whatever in Spanish until the bell rings. It's true evidence of authentic language use.
-The first week was rough for me & my kids. I am on week three, and I hear very little complaining now.
-Some of my kids say that they find themselves talking in Spanish after the bell rings or in the next class, before they realize that they can use English again.
-I make the kids put their name on the billetes, so I can see where they end up. It will also help if anyone gets an idea to xerox some on their own. I will be able to track them down to the original owner.
-At the end of the week the billetes go back to the original owner & we start fresh. If the student misplaces the billetes, they can't get the extra credit point. I will issue new billetes, but will keep an eye out to see if they are found the following week.
If you have other ideas or suggestions that keep kids in the target language, please share!