I tried the Jason Fritze idea of having kids sit in quiet groups of four, glued to their New Houdini books, writing questions and answers. Each had two half pieces of paper, and they began the activity by simply writing two questions on two different pieces of paper. When they were finished with writing a question, they signed it and put it into the middle of the group. When they finished writing questions, they picked up a paper and wrote an answer to the question, signing their names. Then they’d write another question on the same paper, sign that, and put it into the middle.
A couple of the kids had very devious questions, and they brought them up to show me! “Who drove Brandon’s car,” for example.
I was able to hold a meeting with a student while they all worked, and aside from shushing them a few times, it was really a fun activity. I will do that in every class!
I also was able to remember another trick: I had an Embedded Reading for my advanced kids, but I realized that I’d made the first version simple enough for the intermediates. We did the first version of that reading today, complete with acting, in the lower-level class. It was nice to be able to use something in a number of groups. I think I should even be able to use it with the beginners, if I cut it down and add pictures to make a “pre-first-version” copy.
The two biggest pieces for me to remember in these ER activities (after having picked a piece that I think is valuable and cutting it down appropriately so that there are some interesting tweaks to learn in successive versions) are that the different readings should look different in some way (maybe add pictures or change the text) and that the activities for each one are different: act the first one, translate the second, and focus on grammar popups or questions on the third.