If there's anything that teachers and students can agree on, it's that summer vacation is...what's the word? Amazing? Phenomenal? Relax?
But, as we all know, there's a price to pay. Our language students--at any level--get more than a little rusty. Those preterit and imperfect endings get mixed up, and commands get forgotten altogether. All those skills that we spent the last 9 months honing end up regressing and we spend the first couple of weeks in the fall building them back up again.
But, what if we could assign easy-to-do summer work to help keep our students' language skills sharp over the break? Some of us do that already--we assign workbook activities or short compositions to practice writing skills. But more often than not, unless students are meeting face-to-face with someone, their speaking skills don't receive as much attention as they should. But with Extempore, we can change that. Here's how:
- Simply create a summer class for your incoming students, something like "Incoming Mandarin Chinese 2" or "Incoming AP French".
- Set up a series of speaking and/or listening assessments spread out periodically over the summer months. Of course, it's up to you as the teacher to decide how frequently you'd like to assess them, but it's probably a good idea to set up the due dates (semi-)regularly so that the students are staying on top of their work.
- Consider how you'd like to assess your students and design your speaking prompts accordingly. Do you want them to remember and use what you covered in the most recent academic year? If so, you can either repeat or modify already existing prompts that you used during the school year. Or are you going to focus on general conversational skills? If so, don't be afraid to ask basic questions about free time activities, likes and dislikes, hobbies, or family. This serves all students, regardless of level. (Sometimes our upper-level learners forget how to talk about these more basic concepts because they're busy throughout the course of the year using advanced grammar and vocabulary to discuss literature and current events.)
- Many of us travel during the summer, whether it's lounging by the beach, visiting relatives, or doing service work. Extempore is a fantastic way to practice speaking skills by documenting travel or study abroad experiences.
Now, assigning summer work may not be for everyone. We all deserve to take time off from assigning and grading. But maybe you're tutoring a handful of motivated students over the summer, or maybe you're keen on getting a jump start on challenging your incoming AP class. And now, with Extempore, we can more feasibly and efficiently assign speaking practice over the summer.
Additionally, to kickstart the next semester for you, we have 29 speaking activities in an eBook that you can download for FREE. Just click the download link below!