Today I played a conversation game in my French III class that was a big hit, and more importantly, got everyone speaking French and having a good time while doing it. This game is good for upper-level students. The directions take a while to explain, but it's worth it! I wish I could remember where I got this idea...it was passed on to me by another teacher somewhere along the way :).
Students are to imagine that they are strangers stranded at an airport due to a snowstorm, and are to have a conversation based on this premise. Only one person is allowed to speak at a time. Students take turns asking each other where they are from, what they do for a living, and so on. Each student is allowed to invent his own identity. The more creative they get with this, the more fun everyone has! Before the conversation begins, each student is given a secret index card which tells them their role in the game. There are 2 spies, 2 policemen and 3 chatterboxes. The chatterboxes are to try to change the topic of conversation as often as possible. The policemen are trying to figure out who the spies are and arrest them. The spies are trying to work a particular line into the conversation before the policemen arrest them. The spies' cards say something like: You are a spy. You will say "I ski often in the Alps". The other spy will say "I like snails". The spies are trying to work these lines into the conversation in a natural way. If a policeman suspects someone of being a spy, he stands up and says "I arrest you". If he is correct, the game ends. If not, the game continues until the spies are able to say their lines, or until the other policeman arrests a spy.
Some of the identities the students came up with this time were: Elf, Bella, Bertha and Molly. There was a lot of laughter, and students were engaged in speaking French for the whole game. Explaining the directions and playing one round took a whole class period. I think my students felt good that they were able to carry on these conversations without having previously written a script. This is a great activity to use when students are tired and need a change in their routine. I recommend giving it a try!