The dog broke it? You are smoking!
Today at the junior high a teacher gave me some dialogue prompts from when she taught French in England. They were in English and she suggested that I use them for her students for another class period, after I prepare some vocabulary and modify the prompts a bit. I've become accustomed to her giving me handouts and using them on the spot so I decided to use what she gave me.
The prompts were okay, but too "useful" and outdated. "You arrive at a hotel and the staff cannot find your reservation." "You are at a grocery store." "You are trying to rent a car but only have a 500 franc note." They were something like this. A bit longer, but stuff I couldn't whip up vocabulary for and I didn't think they would be interested in doing them. Mainly, I wouldn't be interested in watching them.
Instead, I decided to twist one around about staying at a friend's house. While your friend is out you play with his dog and it breaks an ornament. Explain to the friend what happened. I suggested that the friend doesn't believe your story.
To get them going I wrote additional vocabulary on the board.
Look what you've done!
I don't believe you!
My parents are going to freak out!
Look, it wasn't me.
I'm sorry, please forgive me.
Get out of my house!
What did you do?
I believe you, but now the dog must die.
Unfortunately, most of them used the last one. I was thinking about the ridiculous phrases I'd learned from my French and Japanese slang phrase books and wondered what, not too risqué, equivalent I could use. Their dialogues were short and fraught with laughing at their lines, but they were creative- some groups prepared and improvised a bit.
Some of my favorite lines:
· The dog broke it? You are smoking! (You must be high)
· My parents must freak out!
· Why you lie? I don't believe in you.
We had time for one more. I told them to do a dialogue in which they go camping but they didn't bring a tent, each thinking the other was supposed to bring it. And they had to make a place to sleep for the night out of materials in the area
· Where is the tent? You were supposed to bring her!
· Who do you take you for? Tarzan?
· It's a bear! Somersault up the tree! (They confused 'somersault' and 'climb': two separate words the group asked for)
I think dialogues are the best thing I can work with them on in class. It gets them talking, they have fun, and (most importantly) I'm not talking the whole time like normal. In fact I get to sit there and play 'dictionary' for most of the time. Though if a word is too complicated I tell them to simplify what they want to say so the whole class can understand each other. [This is where I demonstrate that I have no conclusion and just want to end the entry.]