Giving students and opportunity to speak in class is so important to their development as language learners. Task and pairing cards are one of the best ways to do this. Task cards can get every student talking in the class, not just the eager ones that volunteer for your whole class discussions.
So what's the best way to set up your pairing cards? First, you need to write great questions. Target your vocabulary and structures but make sure your questions will interest your students. Boring questions equals bored students. You make like our other post about general question writing here.
I love using animal themed pairing cards like the ones in the picture below. Print them out on card stock so you can reuse them multiple times.
Choose if you want groups of two or three. The sheets are formatted for pair work with animals in sets of two: two penguins, two sloths, etc. I usually default to pair work but sometimes a group of three is nice for a conversation and offers a change-up in class. If you want groups of three or four, just print the animal sheets twice. Cut your cards in sets like below.
Explain that students are going to have a short conversation. Model the conversation with a student with sample question or two. Then, hand out the cards randomly to the students. Students then get up (movement is always good!) and find their matching animal pair to have the conversation.
If you want an extension to the activity, have students write their partner's answers on their own paper or on a board and share a few with the class.
Another extension activity is to have students write one or two of their own questions on the card before they find their partner and have them ask those too.
You can make your own cards for just about any topic, vocabulary set, or grammar item you want to practice. Or you can see the ones we've already made by following the link below! Our task cards cover essential grammar topics and vocabulary. They come with fun Spanish animal themes. Check them out and have fun in class! Click the picture below!