Our main goal as language teachers is to help students communicate! We want them speaking more Spanish, but we know that output takes a while to develop, so we have to give them all sorts of tools. In my spanish classroom, I have an entire bulletin board dedicated to the idea: We just have to make ourselves understood and we do that with circumlocution!
Speech Recognition SoundWriter is a VERY useful, free tool for struggling writers Within a Google Doc, a student launches this free extension that will turn their speech into text. AND, it works in multiple languages!!! I have only tried it with one student, but it was very helpful for him to spit out his initial ideas without worrying about the perfectionism of writing. I taught him to go back and read what he dictated and edit, explaining that writing should sound more formal than speech. He was so happy with how easily it worked and relieved that he was able to finish his work so quickly!
Everyone loves birthdays! Well, teenagers, love their birthdays, at least ;-). You may have to check your school policy, but in my class we celebrate everyone's birthday by singing "Feliz Cumpleaños" and I let them wear the birthday sombrero (pictured below).
Today we did our second all-school scavenger hunt, entitled "What if our school was an airport?" and it was a blast! I told students that their grandma had come to visit with a suitcase full of goodies for them, but the airline misplaced her luggage, and they had to help her find it!