In my previous post, I suggested ways to make use of students’ cell phones as part of their language practice. I have one more idea I’d like to offer in connection to my most recent YouTube lesson on punctuation. In the lesson, I cover punctuation for direct speech. I think the key to correctly punctuating such statements is to identify the reporting clause. Then they can focus on where the quotation marks, commas, and final sentence punctuation go.
I recommend brief controlled practice to review word order and punctuation. You might also call attention to a limited set of reporting verbs and strengthen students’ ability to choose one accurately by calling attention to the manner or purpose expressed by the verbs. See Making the Right call_handout
When students are ready for communicative practice, ask them to get into pairs. Each pair needs one smartphone with the Voice Memo app or other sound recorder.
- Have a grab bag of topics prepared in advance: on slips of paper, write topics that are of interest to your students, such as weekend plans, hobbies, favorite restaurant, or a good vacation spot.
- Each pair will get a topic card and be asked to prepare 4-6 lines of conversation on the given topic.
- The dialog will then be recorded via a smartphone. (Video is also possible, but audio is likely easier to manage in a group setting.)
- Each pair should send their file to another pair. Partners will work together to transcribe the dialog. Require different reporting verbs to be used.
- The transcription can be shared with the authors the dialog for correction.