Mystery Person {Game in Spanish}

This game can be used while teaching your clothing unit and later as a way to warm up or wrap up the class. I am sure there are different ways to play this game, but this is how I play it with my students.

1. One person leaves the room.
2. The rest of the class decides on a “persona misteriosa.”
3. The student who was outside comes back to the room.
4. The class asks as a whole group “¿quién es la persona misteriosa?”
5. The student who is back in the classroom starts making sentences (orally) to try to figure out who the mystery person is. For example, “La persona misteriosa tiene la camiseta de color azul.” The student can use the cards to create the sentences.

6. The class responds by saying, for example “Sí, sí tiene las camiseta de color azul” or “Sí, sí tiene la camiseta azul.”
7. The game continues until he/she finds the  mystery person.
8. A variation could be to limit the times the student guesses.
If you use a different version of this game, I would love to hear it! Please share it in the comments.

Click HERE to download your free cards to play this game!
Have fun!

Routines to Take Your Spanish Class “Out of Routine”

Yes! The title sounds a little bit redundant, but we all have our own “ritualitos” (little rituals) that we do in every class. 
I  have been teaching for over 17 years now, and my experience is mostly in the United States as a Spanish teacher in a FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary School) program. Back when I was a PreK/First grade teacher in Colombia, I rarely felt that I was getting into a routine, which I equated with a rut or “getting bored” of doing the same things in class over and over. And while teaching in a world language program means you need to have a lot of repetition to help your students retain the language, this doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing every class!
When teaching in a world language program at the elementary level, we have to make sure we provide a sense of routine in the class to create a safe space for the children. I strongly believe in teaching in the target language as much as you can, which means having to use the language a lot and at the proficiency level of your students. This can sometimes limit the amount of activities you can do to vary your routine.

Here is a list of routines I do in my class. Please feel free to add more in the comments below! I would love to hear yours!

I always start my class with the “Plan de la clase” which tells my students what will be happening in class. I go over it with them and keep it very simple. This also can eliminate the stress in some of the anxious students who need to know what will be happening in class.

This is an example of how it might look depending on the grade level. The message below is for a second grade class, and I see them only twice a week for a 40-minute period each time. You can decide how to have the class read it. You can have one volunteer read the message or the whole class may read it together.

Plan de la clase
1. Saludos: ¡Hola! ¿Qué tal?
2. El calendario
3. Canción: La familia sapo
4. ¡Vamos a jugar!: Pasa la bola
5. Describe a tu familia: ¿Cómo es tu familia?
6. Tiquete de salida

Since greetings are a key aspect of world language classes, here are some ideas to greet your students:

1. Try to change the greetings. One day you can use ¿Como estás? and then the other day “¿Qué tal?”.
2. You can pass a ball to students in class and ask the question yourself.
You can give turns to the children to respond and then pass the ball to the next person, and the child who responded will take a turn asking.

3. You can divide the class in pairs where one student asks then the other responds and vice versa.
4. You can divide the class into teams, one side answers and the other responds.

5. You can use puppets and let your students improvise their greetings for the class.

6. Play music in the classroom, have your students dance to the music, stop the music and choose a volunteer to greet the class. For example, “clase, ¿cómo estás?”

7. Place a picture of a famous person or movie character with information about themselves (see picture below). You can read this information to your students, then give turns for them to introduce themselves to the character or famous person by sharing the same information. See more here

Another option is creating a short video using Morpho Booth. Warning! Some of your young students might think that this is creepy. My third graders love it!

8. Place a simple picture that your students will have to use to complete their face. They can take turns doing this. Download the picture here!
9. Start with a Zumba or dancing routine to get everyone into the Spanish mood.
10. Use “brain breaks” during the routine or any time you see your students need help focusing and tuning again into class.
11. Read the days of the week with a feeling for each day. Find the picture here!
12. Make your calendar interactive. If you have an interactive board or a projector, a computer connected to the internet, take advantage of it and add a cultural/geographic aspect comparing seasons, temperatures and weather to your calendar. My students always love guessing what the temperature could be like in Colombia or any other Spanish-speaking country. See video below!

To add a more adventurous part, take a trip to any of the Spanish-speaking countries using Google Earth! Also check out my “Facebook Corner” for more ideas on routines for Spanish class!
Have fun!

Celebrating Valentine’s Day in Spanish Class

As Valentine’s day approaches, we are looking for activities and ideas to use with our students. There are few moments in the classroom to use phrases like this one and Valentine’s day is giving us a great opportunity to put language into context. This short and simple song will help your students learn two simple phrases that they can use at school with their friends or at home with their families.

Te quiero,
Te quiero,
Tú eres mi corazón.
Te quiero,
Te quiero,
Tú eres mi corazón.

After teaching the song your students can practice colors with this fun freebie that includes a memory game and coloring pages.  Download the free game and coloring pages HERE!

¡Feliz Día de San Valentín!

8 Fun Outdoor Games to Play in Spanish Class

Teaching in a place where winters can be long, makes me and my students appreciate every single minute we can have outside. Now that Spring has finally arrived in Boston, I have made a commitment to use the first five to ten minutes outside playing with my students as a warm up for class. We not only get some time outside, but we also get to use the language in context while having fun – a great way to get it to stick. Some of the game are also traditional, so this is a good way to bring a cultural element into class, too. 

Here is a list that includes some of the games I have been teaching my students. Click on the links to learn about each game. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the fresh air!

1. El lobo
2. Color, Colorcito
3. Teléfono Roto
4. El Pato
5. El Ratón y el gato
6. Ponle las gafas al sol
7. El Paracaídas
8. Rayuela

Have fun playing outside!
Fun For Spanish Teachers

La Manzana Envenenada {Game}

Here is a game I played with my first graders today. They loved it! Last week I had the opportunity to spend time with a wonderful teacher. She shared some awesome games with me, and this is one of them.

For the “la manzana envenenada”game you will need to print pictures of apples of different colors. I laminated mine and added a tiny magnet on the back. You 
will need a tree. You could make one with paper or draw one on your board.

How does the game work?

You will need a volunteer to leave the room. While the student is out, everyone left in the room has to agree on which apple will be poisoned.
The student comes back to the room, and the class should ask, chanting in unison:

“¿Cuál es la manzana envenenada?”

The student should ask the class while collecting each apple:
“¿La manzana __________?”
This student takes as many turns as necessary before selecting the poisoned apple.
When the student selects the poisoned apple, the class yells:
“¡estás envenenado/a!”

Then the student is out of the game. Count the apples that the student collected before finding the poisoned apple. Write his or her name on the board and the number of apples collected. Do the same for every student that takes a turn. Invite another volunteer and start the game again.
You can give turns to as many students as you like.
At the end you can compare and see who collected the most or the least apples.

Click on the picture  below to print your apples!

Have fun!
Fun For Spanish Teachers

¿Quién Se Comió la Empanada de la Abuela? – Game to Reinforce Vocabulary About Family Members

This game has been motivating my second graders a lot lately. We did a unit on family members, we talked about the diversity in families, and they then described their own immediate families orally and in a small written project.

I modified the well known game called “Who Stole the Cookie for the Cookie Jar?” to support this unit. Instead of a cookie, I printed a picture of an empanada. This added a small cultural twist to the game (and made me hungry for Colombian comfort food…).

I told my students the story of abuelita, who made just one empanada and that someone in the family had eaten it without her permission. I added a detective to this version.

I printed a picture of a detective and gave it to one student. I also gave printed pictures of different family members to the rest of my students. I got them from my “La Familia” set that I have in my TpT store. When you play it, you can also print pictures of family members from other sources.

I gave each student in the room one picture to represent a family member, and I made sure to include pets such as a cat and dog.

Before playing the game, I made sure to go over the lines of the chant. We chanted every line and also helped the detective say his/her line.

How to play the game?

Once you have assigned the different pictures of family members to the students, choose one student to be the detective. The detective will have to leave the classroom. While the detective is outside the room, give a student with the picture of a family member the picture of the empanada. Everyone in the room has to pretend to have the empanada in their hands.

The detective comes back to the classroom and will have three opportunities to guess who has the empanada.

The class chants:
¿Quién se comió la empanada de mi abuela? (two times)
The detective answers:
¿El papá se comió la empanada de la abuela? (two times) Usually the class helps the detective chant.
Depending on who has the empanada the class will answer:
“El papá no se comió la empanada de la abuela.”
“El papá sí se comió la empanada de la abuela.”

Remember that the detective has three turns to guess. You can play this game for a long time in class and get everyone using some language skills that they’ve learned in your class.

Have fun playing the game!

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