The reality of information gap slapped me square in the face as I tried to chat with my señora in the small hatchback the first night I landed in Valladolid. Well, maybe “information gap” isn’t equated to the dopey, slack-jawed expression I gave everyone my first month or so in Spain, but it certainly is an important skill to teach in the language classroom. A few years ago (or several) I came across a packet of activities that I have drawn on from time to time. If I can’t find the originator I’ll publish it and hope to give credit where it’s due. Here’s a few pages I found that the Fresno College Spanish department had published online.
Using these as a template of sorts I have created some of my own. The key to a good activity, I’ve found is to:
Make it simple. I spent a couple of hours creating a possible dialogue between a pizza place and a customer. The kids’ feedback revealed that they were so frustrated they finally just blurted their orders in English.
Model it. Show kids what you expect of them during this time. Identify many of the no-no’s of the activity (i.e. showing each other their papers).
Get feedback. As with everything, if you sell it and the kids give it a shot, they will be honest about what works, doesn’t work.