Sometimes you come across ideas that are so amazing, you have to share them, even if they are not your own. This is one of those occasions.
I have had the pleasure of having an amazing person observe my classes the past few months. She is studying to be a French teacher as well and has needed some practicum hours. From time to time she has taught a lesson to one of my classes. Yesterday, her task was to come up with something to practice question words and question formation with my French 2s. Oh boy did she deliver.
In the activity, students were all given a description of the "incident" along with some important vocabulary words. In this incident, poor Jean-Pierre was killed right before he was going to propose to his girlfriend at her birthday party. He was found strangled about 20 minutes after leaving the party to get the engagement ring. The students were also given a list of 4 suspects. Each suspect had a short description of how he/she knew the victim and also revealed a potential motive for each person.
Four students were chosen to be the suspects. They were each given a special longer description of their character. The description was specific with details about where they were at certain times of the party, their occupations, their relationship with the victim, etc. None of the suspects knew who was the killer (not even the killer himself).
Once everyone was given their papers, they split off. The suspects took that time to really analyze their character and know the information. The rest of the students had to come up with various questions they would ask the different suspects in order to figure out who was "le coupable".
This activity worked SO well. The students were so engaged and really got into it. By asking questions, they were able to figure out who the guilty party was. They also were able to stay in the target language for most of the lesson, which is always a huge plus.
This is definitely an activity I will be adopting for future classes.