Have you ever noticed that video games always have a running clock? Why? Fast is rewarded. Time keeps us engaged.
Remember the old game of Operation… with the clunky timer ticking away as you were trying to keep your hand steady and pull out the small plastic pieces without touching the sides. Why do we subject ourselves to the stress of timing?
Well… because we thrive on it! And so will your students!
Think about how long each activity will take. As you look over your lesson plans, visualize how you want to move them from one step to the next. Can you interject whole class repetition so that they continue to be practicing their vocabulary and pronunciation? Add a crisp clap-clap that they repeat to indicate that you are moving to the next step?
Timing and pacing are key ingredients to concocting the fun factor in your classroom. Build it into your instruction by playing with the timing of your delivery. Know there are times to be quiet and let your students think, other times to keep them on their toes and call on them spontaneously, and other times to compete with a ticking clock. Ask yourself: How are you varying the timing of your instruction to keep students engaged and having fun? Ask yourself: What part of my lesson can I change up to create more fun today? So, think carefully about the pacing of your delivery.
Also, think about the timing of your students. Could I time them on conjugating tener into the present tense? Do I have a timer handy to track 3 minutes when I give them time to write out their grammar sentences? Do I speed up, slow down my own speech to surprise my students? You create the environment, so be thoughtful. Plan well. You can drive your student participation by thinking critically about how you are using timing and pacing in your instruction.
Remember, students frequent gaming and are accustomed to the ticking clock. Don’t miss what game makers have been using successfully for decades — the sense of urgency and timing to engage us. We can take note and incorporate this strategy to ensure that we are creating the FUN factor to highly engaging our students in learning Spanish!