I try to finish the classes on a high note so I usually do some fun activity, a game or a competition before the kids leave the class.
One of the regular activities with the 13-year-olds is the “Category” game.
Description of the “Category” game
I give the students a recently covered topic, such as weather, feelings or health, and they list as many words in that topic as they can in one minute.
At the end of the minute we check how many they’ve got against my list of 5-7. They can have a good word but if it’s not on my list, they get no points.
I usually use this to practise or review vocabulary.
As we were checking the solutions for body parts, it turned out they don’t know the names of the fingers yet. I can’t say they were too happy about learning them but it all changed when they discovered I don’t know them in Spanish.
“Meñique!” they said loudly, widely gesticulating their pinkies and correcting my pronounciation. I saw an opening.
“I tell you what,” I said, “for next class I’ll learn all the fingers in Spanish if you learn them in English.”
I didn’t think much of it but you should’ve seen the sudden change in their eyes. One pupil drew me a hand and wrote the names in Spanish. The others quietly wrote down the English names, practising it together. They all wanted to outdo me, I suppose, and it gave them a huge motivation.
Of course I had to make sure I delivered my part so I studied them carefully and we all won in the end. Not just by learning new words but also learning to respect each other for it.