Students need structured opportunities to move and talk during the period in order to maintain their focus on the lesson. However, just giving students "fun" things to do that get them moving or talking does not guarantee that they will learn anything! When a master teacher uses an interactive activity, they first carefully consider several things:

1) Purpose - What do I want students to be able to do with their language when they finish participating in this activity? Are there other activities that would accomplish this purpose equally well or better than this one?

2) Time - How does the amount of time that students will spend completing the activity compare with the benefits they will gain from participating in it? Are the benefits worth the time they will “cost?”

3) Congruence - What kind of thinking, talking, and working will the activity require students to engage in? How well do these features of the activity match up with my purpose(s) for using it?

4) Developmental Appropriateness - How well do the features of this activity match the age, interests, needs, and personality of this class? Will they exacerbate problems that already exist in the classroom?

5) Demands of the Activity - Will it be possible for students to complete the activity even if they don’t understand the grammatical concepts or language functions they are supposed to be practicing? (If so, the activity will need to be adjusted or abandoned in favor of a more suitable one!)

6) Evaluation - How am I going to know whether or not students have learned anything from participating in the activity?

7) Accountability - How will I make sure that students are accountable for their own work even though they are working in groups? How will I assess their learning without focusing so much of their attention on a grade that they ignore the opportunities to learn that are inherent in the activity in favor of simply completing it? How will I signal to students that they are getting too loud? How will I ensure that students remain engaged and stay on task?

8) Scaffolding - How will I structure the activity for students to ensure that they experience success with it? (In other words, are there specific understandings, skills, or materials that students will need in order to complete the activity? Do I need to pre-teach any of that? What kinds of support will I need to provide for students before, during, and after the activity?)

9) Feedback - How will I ensure that students receive the feedback they need during the activity so that they will have the information they need to continue to improve their performance?

10) Implied Messages - What implied messages is this activity likely to send to students about my class, the content, the world, and themselves? Are those really the messages I want them to take away from their work in this class? If not, is it possible to adapt the activity, or should I think about planning something else instead?

Here are some strategies for transforming worksheets into interactive activities:

This is a great SMARTboard template to use for this activity Tic Tac Toe Template - lhekking lhekking

See also: Closure Activities