When a school year ends, the last day of class and the anticipation of the next school year can be bittersweet for both teachers and students. I energize students in my Tagalog class by giving them culminating activities that generate enthusiasm.
Culminating activities can give world language teachers the chance to further determine how well students have learned the target language. Below are some strategies I’ve been using to bring excitement, fun, and a little more academic challenge to the culmination of our class. Other world language teachers can adapt the following activities, taking into consideration the culture and specific details of the language they teach.
Fun and Challenging End-of-Year Activities
The first thing I do to prepare my students is to announce a week before the end of class that there will be a group game (a culminating activity) on the last day of class. Class groups are already in place, and I make sure to retain a list of student groupings.
The activities are inspired by a set of traditional Filipino games called Laro ng Lahi (Game of the Race). The team spirit and the authentic Filipino vibe gave me the idea of devising a series of activities for my Tagalog class, minus the physical demands of the original Laro ng Lahi. I tweaked the series of culminating activities so that the lessons highlight the target world language skills in our class, and my students see that friendly competition can be a good source of fun and excitement, and a great learning experience at the same time.
Here are the different levels of the culminating activities:
First Level: The Eagle Eye. In the first level, each group of students emulates the keen and observant eyes of an eagle. The goal is to spot the correct phrase or word to fill in an incomplete sentence in the target language. Using Kahoot, students decide whether the sentences are written correctly. All members of the group join in, and their accumulated points are added to their overall score.
The top three “eagle-eyed players” (Matanglawin in Tagalog) are rewarded points. Essentially, the game allows students to revisit sentence patterns and word functions in the target language. I also get to refresh students’ knowledge of Tagalog numbers with the points they earned. The first-place winner receives 100 points (isangdaang puntos); the second-place winner, 80 points (walumpung puntos); and the third-place winner, 50 points (limampung puntos).
Second Level: The Stitcher. In the next level, the students organize and stitch together jumbled words or phrases in the target language to come up with sentences that make sense. The Tagalog name for this level is Ang Manghahabi. Each group chooses three players to play the game. The players view the jumbled sentences on a TV screen and wait for the signal phrase, Habi na! (Do the stitching now!), before they can verbally give their answers.
The group with the most correctly “stitched” sentences wins. Each group can earn as many as 500 points (limangdaang puntos). The activity is a continuation of the sentence patterns and phrases in Level 1 but is more challenging. This level also allows me to briefly introduce the rich weaving culture in the Philippines, especially the textiles that different Indigenous groups produce.
Third Level: The Language Sage. In this level, each group chooses two players to participate in the game. Players ask their partners categorical questions as they try to guess the featured word or term in the target language. The other team players offer clues by responding “oo” (yes), “hindi” (no), and “pwede” (can be) to the questions. The word is written on a piece of paper that’s placed on the forehead of the one who will make a guess. This is a time-pressure game, so players of each group have only one minute to guess the correct word in the target language. Players are only allowed to say Tagalog words throughout the game.
The key to winning is to correctly recall words and names from the target language, as the categories of words can include tao (person), bagay (object), hayop (animal), lugar (place), and pangyayari (event). The winning group can get a whopping 1,000 points (isanglibong puntos). The game itself was inspired by a Filipino TV game called Pinoy Henyo, a phrase that’s translated as “Filipino Sage” in English.
Fourth Level: The Treasure Hunter. For the last level, students play a treasure or scavenger hunt. They look for items they can name in the target language, choosing from their own things or items anywhere in the classroom, such as sapatos (shoe), lapis (pencil), and pera (money). The group with the most items found within the given time period wins the game.
If classes are virtual, I ask students to collect items available at home. Each successfully found item gives the group a total of 100 points (isangdaang puntos). When doing this synchronously, I also ask students to look for items or objects that are least expected to be asked for, such as a souvenir T-shirt from the Philippines (pasalubong na damit mula sa Pilipinas), noodles (pansit), fish paste (patis), or a Filipino-style ketchup.
After the series of activities, I declare the winning group and give certificates of recognition and a food souvenir. For the food reward, I often give a pack of sweet dried mangoes from the Philippines to all the participating groups. I also give extra credit to the group or groups that earned the most points. Utilizing cheers and claps can further build up students’ interest during the culminating activity.
Our world language students eagerly anticipate the novelty that culminating activities provide on the last day of class. Additionally, world language teachers can use the assessment opportunity that these activities provide to devise relevant activities for the next level of class involving the same students.