This activity can be used at anytime during class to give your students three to five minutes to brainstorm and write on any topic given.
The powerpoint I have provided is a very simplified version of what I use throughout an entire year of curriculum with my 8th-11th grade students, but shows you how the activity works, and gives you the power to create a Zona of your own.
I use this as mostly a warm-up activity at the beginning of class to see what students remember from the previous day (in Spanish) or to get them thinking about a new topic that we are going to address that day in class.
Students in my classroom have notebooks (laptops and tech work too!) which they pick up from a designated spot at the beginning of the period, and begin to write on the given topic once they settle in. After three to five minutes of preparation, I ask my students to close their notebooks and have a one minute conversation with a partner in Spanish to reinforce what they wrote, and to give me time to circulate and spot check student speaking and listening skills.
I use this as a graded activity as well, and will either assess students informally on any given day, or have them prepare a specific topic and then will take a formal recording of them speaking on the topic in our language lab setting.