Mystery Skype

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Recently I’ve been tweeting about looking for a mystery skype partner for my Spanish classes.  This week three of my five Spanish classes participated in a Mystery Skype with our pen pals (thanks @missklusman!)  If you’re not sure what a Mystery Skype is, here’s the run down:

-From what I understand it is very popular with elementary classes

-The object is to determine where the class you are Skyping with is from.  We found city and state.  You may only use yes/no questions

How does this relate to the language classroom?  We Skyped entirely in Spanish.  Each class had one greeter who introduced the class without saying where they were from.  My classes followed the simple greeting, “Hola, buenos días.  Me llamo ________.  Mucho gusto y buena suerte.”.  After that we played rock paper scissors to decide who asked the first question.

Our “think tank” came up with questions to narrow down where our opponents were from.  These were phrased in the target language, for example “¿Están norte de Kansas?” (Are you all north of Kansas).  The other classroom would answer “sí” or “no”.  Based on the answer, our “map keepers” would draw on a map of the US to narrow down areas the opponent could be from and to help the think tank come up with the next question.  Once we’d asked our questions, a new group of students went up to respond to the other class’s question.

Students were very engaged the entire time!  They got to work on listening skills (questions from the other class), speaking skills (asking our questions), introductions and small talk (introducing themselves and making some small talk while waiting for the next question), vocabulary (north, south, east, west, border, near, next to, coast, etc).  I’m not even going to go into the geography, reasoning and interpersonal skills the students used!  It was fun to see what the kids remembered and came up with during the small talk time!

I provided a small word bank for reference as a safety net for students to ease their anxiety.  Ten minutes into the process they weren’t even looking at it anymore!  I also provided US maps and once we’d narrowed it down to the state students pulled up Google maps on laptops and iPod touches to find the city.

It was a really fun activity and it was great to see students working in the target language and feeling successful.  I had some quiet kids really step up and talk and some that aren’t usually engaged, engaged and participating.  The students can’t wait to do it again and neither can I!

If you’re interested in participating or have questions, look me up on Twitter, @lisajmch

You can also Google “Mystery Skype” and find some good resources and examples!

Until Next Time,

Maestra McH

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