The Partner Conversation is the foundation of our approach, but it is important to take students to the next level and help them to use language spontaneously. We have designed the Mixer to do just that. It is a set of cards with images or information from the Partner Conversation, and we have provided many of these in our Teacher’s Guides. Once the students have practiced and are relatively comfortable with the language in the dialogue, they are ready to practice using the Mixer.
There are quite a few ways that the Mixers can be used. The simplest way is to cut out enough cards for each of your students, distribute them, and have them mix and talk to as many people as possible using the information on the card. I usually write the key question on the board. Then I choose a student and model the interaction for the class, and at the end I make a point of showing that after the interaction, the two students should switch cards. I like to give the students a time limit, for example one or two minutes. You can also give a guideline asking the students to have a minimum number of interactions.
Many times, there will be two or more of the same card present in group of cards. In this case, you can have students interact until they find the person or people with the same card. We call this activity “Find your friend.” You can set this up as a competition – the first group to find each other wins. Once everyone has found their partner/group, you can have them perform the conversation for the class.
Here is a video of a "Find your friend" activity with a group of 1st graders.
There are MANY other ways you can use the Mixer pages from our curriculum. Here are a few ideas where you give each student/pair of students a whole set of cards:
1) Students arrange their cards in a pile. They can pick one card from the pile and identify the vocabulary word or practice asking and answering the question with their partner.
2) For vocabulary review, it is fun to give them a set of cards and have them lay them out on the desk in front of them. The teacher can call out the vocabulary word, and the students have to pick up the correct card. This activity is best with younger students.
3) The cards can be used to make bingo cards; the students turn the cards over when they are called until someone has a bingo.
4) They can be used as flash cards for individuals or student partners.
5) With mixers that feature objects, students can play “go fish” in the target language. Just make sure there are two copies of each card in each group’s pile.
Here are some ideas for using Mixer page without cutting it into cards:
1) Have students work with a partner and identify all of the items on the page.
2) Have them practice the conversation using each of the answers on the page. They can check of each box as they go.
3) Set up a race where everyone recites the items on the page out loud at the same time. Students raise their hands when they finish. The first student who finishes wins.
4) Set up a race with a timer. Call up one group to recite the items on the page and time them to see how long it takes them.
5) You can distribute it as a study sheet before a quiz.
6) Have students write out the items on sheet. They can check them by looking at the conversation in their books.
7) Students can number each item and then quiz their partner
8) Number the items as class. The teacher can choose two students randomly and ask them to perform the conversation using numbers the teacher assigns.
I am sure this is not an exhaustive list—we would love to hear if you have more ideas about how to use the mixer cards! Feel free to comment below with other ideas!