ABSTRACT In spite of recent efforts by foreign language educators to design activities which develop com municative competence, and by sociolinguists to identify the component elements of communication events, the foreign language teaching profession remains in need of a functional definition of communication on which to base performance objectives, and a system for designing and selecting appropriate learning activities. This article presents an approach to providing students with communication practice by relating course material to the common purposes of language use, and outlines a system for classifying communication activities in order to insure realistic, varied practice. Examples are given in Spanish.