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The last week of classes one of my students said that he was going to tell his AP Spanish teacher from high school about Extempore. I asked why and he explained that she had students record themselves talking about different topics in preparation for the AP Exam. He said that submitting recordings on Extempore was way easier for students than saving an audio file and then emailing it to the teacher. I answered that receiving and grading students’ recordings on Extempore was also “way easier” for me as a teacher!
I’m not sure whether he actually talked to his former high school teacher, but his comment got me thinking about how Extempore could be used as a conversation builder for the AP Exam or for any other type of official assessment that has fluency as a grading criterion. Here are three simulated conversations that you can try as fluency building activities.
As an instructor you can record yourself asking five or six different questions that are common in first time introductions. For example, what is your name, how old are you, where do you live, where do you go to school, and what is your favorite thing about school. Record each question in a separate file. Then upload them as questions of a single assessment in Extempore. Your students then need to answer each question. For fluency building, limit the time that students have to review the questions (that is, to listen to each of your recordings before they answer) and prevent them from re-recording their answers.
Simulated Job Interview
Another activity that works well with this design is a job interview. Give them first a job description (as a reading exercise) and have them work on an imaginary resume (as a writing exercise). To make it fun, make them apply for an uncommon job, like lion tamer or water slide tester. Record yourself asking four or five questions that are typical in a job interview (why do you think you are the best candidate for this job, why do you want to work for us, where do you see yourself in five years, how would you act in a challenging situation in this job) and then upload them to Extempore as part of the same assessment. To add some fun, have students listen to answers from others and vote for the best candidate.
Simulated Celebrity Date
Have students imagine that they are going to participate in a TV contest to have a date with their favorite celebrity (you need to decide who the celebrity in question is according to your students’ age, cultural background, etc.). Part of the selection process is to answer a few questions about themselves. The questions can be as “normal” or as “crazy” as you want. Let’s pretend we also want to practice the conditional sentences. So our questions can be: What three things would you take with you to a desert island? If you could change something from the past, what would it be? If you won a million dollars, what would you do? If you saw I had spinach in my teeth during our first date, what would you do? Again, to build fluency with more spontaneous responses, limit the time that your students have to listen to the questions and to record their responses.
We have plenty more activities for you, so be sure to check out our other blog posts. If you can’t wait, we have a FREE download with 29 speaking activities in an eBook. You can download by clicking the link below!