This site explains briefly the ConFluency Card Game. The activity was developed to encourage natural, fast-paced, student-centered conversation in EFL classes. It is played in groups of 3-4 people, and is suitable for classes up to 40 students.
For complete information, go to www.conversationalfluency.com.

About the Activity

There are 3 sets of ConFluency Cards. ConFluency Card Set One begins with turn-taking. Turn-taking is natural to conversation and common to card games. Students respond naturally to the question and answer pattern used in Card Set One. Set One also begins teaching Life-Long Language Learning Skills.
Card Set Two builds on the skills in Card Set One, and introduces patterns that allow the student to express opinions and ideas, and to agree and disagree.
Card Set Three continues to build on the earlier patterns, and introduces a variety of conversation strategies that are common to everyday native speech. Card Set 3 is especially flexible, allowing teachers to include conversation strategies suitable for their students' vocabulary, need or language-focus.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Strategies for Teaching the ConFluency Card Game

There are 3 sets of ConFluency Cards. Each set has a different language focus (click to download the cards in English & Japanese):
  • Set 1- Questions and Answers;
  • Set 2- (Set 1 +) Sentences, Negatives & Commands;
  • Set 3 (in English)- (Sets 1 & 2 +) Conversation Strategies (small words and phrases that make conversation smoother, easier and more natural, like ‘Uh-huh’, ‘Let me think...’, ‘By the way...’, ‘Really? Cool!’, etc.)

There are 4 activities teachers should consider before playing the ConFluency Card Game in the classroom:
Introducing the cards;
Previewing the students’ conversations;
Testing students’ accuracy in card usage, and;
Practicing card skills, using support activities.

Introducing any card set takes about 15 minutes of class time (click here for a print of the rules, or see the webpage for all related info & downloads). It’s best to have the remaining time (30-35 minutes) for the students to Preview and play with the new card set; the practice time will help them to better remember how to use the new cards. The card skills in Set 2 are basically the same as those in Set 1, except the focus is on sentences, not Q & A. So, Set 1 takes the most time, and practice, for the students to learn. There are prepared rule sheets (Set 1, Set 2) in English and Japanese to give to the students when introducing a new card set.
Previewing the students’ conversation before the card game is very important and avoids time-wasting dead air in the conversations. Letting the students fill-in blanks on a Conversation Primer helps them to ‘own’ the conversation and talk about things of interest to themselves. Importantly, it also let’s the teacher focus the content of the students’ conversations. This activity can be done as homework (to save class time). Or, in the classroom, if the students fill-in blanks on the Conversation Primer, the activity takes 5-10 minutes.
The ConFluency Card Game encourages the fast-pace of natural conversation. It is strongly suggested that teachers choose content for the Conversation Primer that students have studied and practiced several times (ie., review material). This will best insure students’ success with the card game, accuracy in speaking, and progress toward conversational fluency.
To prepare a ‘Conversation Primer’ before class (click here for an example), write questions and sentences with blanks in a way that force students to use the grammar (or other focus) you want to target, but in a way that gives the students some freedom of content choice:

For Card Set 1-

  • 2 or 3 Yes/No Questions, some or all with A + 1 Answers (Will you OOO tomorrow?-> Yes, I will. A+1 - I will OOO tomorrow.);
  • 2 or 3 Wh- Questions, some or all with A + 1 Answers (What time do you usually OOO? -> I usually OOO at O:XX. A + 1 -But sometimes I OOO at X:OO. )

For Card Sets 2 & 3-

about 5-6 Sentences:

  • 1 or 2 followed by a Yes/No Question (I like OO. -> Do you like OO?);
  • 1 or 2 followed by a Wh- Question (I like OO. -> What XX do you like?);
  • 1 or 2 followed by a Negative (I can OO. -> I can’t OO.) and/or a Command (I can play OO. -> Play OO!)

For Card Set 3 (or advanced students)-

  • Advanced students can do all-class Brainstorming on the blackboard. Click for more about Brainstorming.

Testing student accuracy in using the cards is also important. It is most easily done by playing CROSSFIRE before playing the card game. Playing CROSSFIRE for 10 minutes before using the ConFluency Cards is usually sufficient. See here for more information about how to play CROSSFIRE.

Practicing the ConFluency Card Game skills can be done most simply and often using a Q-Card, or Janken Conversation Rounds activity. Both of these activities are excellent on-going review activities, and can be done in about 5 minutes. There are other activities that teach and practice the same card skills, as well. For more information, see Conversation Skills, More Activities and Q-Cards.

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