Quick tips to add more classroom speaking time, minute by minute

Good communicative activities can take up a lot of class time, so it’s helpful to think of little ways to increase how many minutes students spend speaking in the target language each lesson.

These following ideas will add minutes of speaking time that add up in class, and they ensure students stay focused on the target language during transition times.

1: Warm Up Activities

Get your students in the habit of focusing on a short discussion question as soon as they walk in the classroom. I write mine on the board, and they know to begin thinking about it or discussing it as soon as they arrive. This is a great way to reactivate vocabulary or grammatical structures from the previous lesson.

2: Transition Activities

For each chapter or unit, prepare a list of quick discussion topics or very short activities that you can pull out as-needed in class. I use these for transitioning between activities, particularly if I need to set up some technology. I’ve also found them helpful for moments when a student has an involved question that requires attention. I never use all of them, but I’m glad to have them on hand for occasions that focus would generally begin to wander.

3: Oral Conjugation Practice

This is a great one to make fun with a conjugation ball or other props (soft ones!) that students can toss around the room to conjugate new verbs. This is a useful transition activity, but can also be used on a regular basis in class to practice conjugations quickly. Just one minute each class period offers students a lot of quick verb practice!