Mannequin Challenge in the TL

img_3319As I’m sitting here preparing for my next class, I can hear laughter coming from the neighboring classroom. I can tell that they are talking about their mannequin challenge. Estela Schmalz had this idea before Thanksgiving break. She said we could bring this trend into our classrooms for a fun, target language-filled activity. I’ll briefly summarize what we did with our groups below.

Part 1- Gather many  popular Mannequin Challenges that have been done. Show them to the class either silently or with an instrumental version of the Black Beetles song. Have students talk about what people are doing. There is so much good vocabulary that can come from this!

Here are some of the links we used:

You can spend a day, talking & writing about the videos you chose to show. While, honestly, this is not the most fun part of this sequence, it’s great for brining in a variety of vocabulary and prepping students for the next step. Estela also included some freeze games for students to practice making exaggerated or fun poses and to become comfortable.

Part 2- On the second day, we came in ready to discuss our own ideas. I had students pair up and brainstorm ideas that they then presented to the class. We listed the ideas on the board and the class voted. Often we did a preliminary vote and then a final vote between the two most popular ideas. This was a great chance for negotiation of meaning, for students to give their opinions and to ask for new words to express themselves.

Once an idea was established, we chose a camera person and a director. Then students set up their scene, talking in the TL together. I really stepped back during this part and let them work it out.

Then we recorded our video! A few classes wanted to second or third try because they couldn’t stay still. The language to ask me for that was great!

Part 3- We watched our video and the ones made by other classes. We described them out loud with different pairs. Then with most classes, I had students write a sentences about each student in the video. Here are the sentences one group ended up with:

Nuestro desafío de maniquí

  • Nam y Tyler se sientan con las mochilas.
  • Emily escribe en la pizarra. Tiene un marcador negro.
  • Hudson está encima del balde de reciclaje.
  • Taylor y Rian se sientan encima del mueble, sacan un selfie con su teléfono.
  • Aphroditi lanza marcadores a Robyn.
  • Robyn se defiende. Tiene miedo.
  • Hannah y Sophia se pelean por el juguete.
  • Finnbar está sentado en una caja.
  • Nathan amenaza a Sean.
  • Sean es un víctima.
  • Chris esconde detrás de Sean y Nathan.
  • Andrew usa la computadora de Profe.
  • Profe ataca a Andrew con su café.
  • Morgan cierra la puerta.
  • Jidelys no puede entrar la clase. 
  • Adhiti graba el video.
  • Joshua se sienta debajo de la mesa.

for this video:

I didn’t have a lot of time to get this post together, but typed it up because I wanted to share some ideas with you. I recommend this type of activity because it can be used at any proficiency level by adjusting expectations for language.

  • 1st year- Look to build new vocabulary
  • 2nd year- Try to work toward sentences in descriptions (will be mix of fragments and sentences)
  • 3rd year- work on more accurate sentences to describe the videos.

This type of activity is key because it creates a shared experience which provides a context for authentic communication and conversations that the students want to have. Try it out and let us know how it goes!