October 9, 2011

Improve Your Students’ Circumlocution Skills, Part 1

FLTEACH listserv users have been sharing ideas for building their students’ circumlocution skills. Here are some of their suggestions:

Tracy Waid of Mooresville High School in North Carolina suggests the following:

I did a quick circumlocution activity with my level 1 high schoolers that they seemed to enjoy and was quick and easy. I put a bunch of English words on slips that they had to get their partner's to say by explaining what it was (make sure you pick some hard ones!). I used a label template, copied it on card stock, making two different sets using 2 different colors. I had my first block cut them out and then I store them in sandwich baggies to reuse with other classes.

Put your students in pairs and give each pair one set of each color. Explain the task is to get their partner to say the word on the slip I did a few examples first - talking about things like what it looks like, what it's used for, etc. ex. A compass - this is something you use when you are camping (the partner says tent likely), no, it's something so you know where you are (a map?) no, it's round and metal and has north on it (compass!). We talk about how circumlocution gets easier once you have more vocabulary and how important it is to study your vocabulary

Partner one gets 3 minutes to see how many cards they can get their partner to say. Then they switch and the other person gives the clues from their stacks for 3 minutes. At the end of the 6 minutes the pair in the class that combined got the most words wins a prize (candy, bubbles, stickers, etc. - yes, even my high schoolers love this). Even though you only have 1 class winner pair, they still get to see who is better than the other within their individual pairs.

Waid, T. Re: [FLTEACH] Circumlocution. FLTEACH listserv (FLTEACH@LISTSERV.BUFFALO.EDU, 17 Sep 2011).

Another listserv user provides the following list of words and terms that are useful for circumlocution practice:

available – apology – workshop – trial - pun - adequate - smuggle - elucidate - restrictions - variable - meritorious - Thanksgiving - majestic - perilous - cause & effect - white out - merger - penalty box - lock out - play offs - gang violence - budget cut - hijack - antiquated - fender bender - convenience store - pantomime - fast forward - air turbulence - ATM - bagel - alimony - partnership - bland - skeleton key - mail forwarding - CD (bank) - pom-pom - personable - treacherous - derby (horses) - rejection - small talk - jackhammer - chain gang - meticulous - raccoon - sequins - to drop off - reserved seats - Mr. Potato Head - knot - subliminal - sprinkles - double agent - corkscrew - negligent - hard hat - detour - seriously - squeegee - Plymouth Rock - charades - heat wave - daylight savings time - apron - Drano - piñata - strings attached - Oscar - polar bear - lunch box - hot air balloon - pretzel

Ladd, R. Re: [FLTEACH] Circumlocution. FLTEACH listserv (FLTEACH@LISTSERV.BUFFALO.EDU, 17 Sep 2011).

Deb Blaz contributes:

Of course, you can always have them give clues for the regular unit vocabulary, but with my upper level kids I especially like to give aspects of US culture that they might actually HAVE to explain some day to someone...

For example, I used to have them explain what a brownie is. [Other culturally-embedded suggestions include] hay ride, Christian music, Prom, Homecoming, Groundhog Day, [and] learner's permit (for driving).

Blaz, D. Re: [FLTEACH] Circumlocution. FLTEACH listserv (FLTEACH@LISTSERV.BUFFALO.EDU, 17 Sep 2011).

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