The rules of the game are very simple. Each group will get set on the side of the “field” (cancha) that corresponds to their players. Invite one volunteer from each group to come to the middle. You can use flash cards or a bag filled with objects to represent vocabulary that you have previously explored in class. Show a card or object and ask a question related to it. For example: “¿Qué es? or ¿De qué color es la vaca?”
I love teaching this unit in my classes. I especially love teaching names of fruits that are endemic to Latin America, mostly from Colombia, the country where I am from.
In preparation for this activity you will need to create a monster prop, similar to the one in the picture below, which is very simple to make – with no sewing involved. I used felt fabric of different colors, glue, staples and wiggly eyes. Make sure to put a space in the mouth so the children can feed the monster. The monster I made is big, and my students enjoy its visit to class. I use a hanger to carry it from classroom to classroom. You will also need plastic fruits or pictures of different fruits, depending on the ones you would like to introduce.
I use a magic box or bag and introduce the name of each fruit with the sign. I review each fruit by asking the children to show me the sign while saying the name in Spanish. Then we go over each fruit and describe it by colors and sizes. I will also ask my students questions like “¿te gusta comer manzana?” and then have them respond back to me by saying “sí, me gusta”, “no, no me gusta”, or “me encanta.”Since my students are young and many don’t have experience in the language, I ask questions in a way that models the answers so they feel confident about it:
Me: ¿Qué es?
Es una manzana.
Student: Es una manzana.
After students have learned the vocabulary, I use other activities to complement and assess the topic. Here are some examples:
- Place a fruit into a bag or box. Ask a student to follow commands: Encuentra la manzana, pásale la manzana a Peter.
- Give a fruit (picture or plastic) to every student. You need to have a flash card or picture of each fruit. Ask “¿dónde está la manzana?” The student who has the fruit must answer “¡Aquí está la manzana!” (Don’t forget to model the question and the answer).
- Check for TPR gestures for each fruit showing the sign you taught for each fruit.
- Ask students to draw pictures of the fruit you name. Erasable white boards are great for this activity!
- Charades: A student makes a TPR gesture and the rest of the class has to guess it.
- Teach a song: Las Frutas
Tell a Story: El Monstruo Comelón
This is where the monster you made comes alive. Tell the story while feeding the monster.
El monstruo se come un banano.El monstruo se come una piña.El monstruo se come una pera.(Do the same for each fruit you have decided to include in your unit)¡El monstruo se engordó!
Ask questions after telling the story:¿El monstruo come piña o pan?
¿Qué come el monstruo?
¿Te gusta comer piña?
¿El monstruo se engordó o se durmió?
¿Qué le pasó al monstruo?
Act it out!
Play with the story before you let students act the story out. Pick some students to retell the story.
You will need a narrator, and to make it more fun and interactive, you can give a play microphone to the narrator.
Choose other students to put the fruits inside the monster’s mouth. They should say the word aloud and make the appropriate TPR gesture.
Over the years, teaching Spanish to different age levels, I have learned many games from my students and other colleagues. Here is a list of some of the favorites my students and I enjoy playing in class.
6. CHARADES: A student makes a TPR movement, and the rest of the class has to guess it. Variation: Pick a student, show a flashcard to the class, and hide it from the student, then the class makes the TPR movement and the child has to guess it.
14.A LINE OF NUMBERS:. Using masking tape, make a line on the floor and place numbers from 1 to 5 in a line. Have two students stand on either side of number 1 facing each other. Show a flashcard. If both students identify it at the same time they both get to move to the next number. If only one of the students gives the answer only he/she will move to the next number. The student who gets to number 5 first wins the game.
15. FUTBOL (SOCCER): Make a fútbol chart out of construction paper and print out 12 fútbol balls. Divide the class into two teams (to make it more fun you could name the groups by using names of Spanish speaking countries). Each group will get the score on the opposite side of the field. Show a picture card or ask a question and the team that gets to answer first gets a point (place one of the fútbol balls on the opposite side –remember that in fútbol you score on the other side of the field). If both teams answer the questions at the same time they both get points. When the teacher is placing points (balls) on the field, the whole class chants “gol, gooooooooool!” Whoever gets the most points wins.
Place different flashcards on a table or the floor. Describe one of the flashcards. For example: It’s a big animal, its colors are black and white and it says “moo”. After the description, have one of your students tap or slap the right card using a fly swatter.
Place 3 to 5 flashcards on a table or on the floor. Look at them with your students and name each of them. Have one of your students close his/her eyes while you hide one of the cards. Have your student open his/her eyes to guess the name of the card that is missing.
The jumping game
Place a line of flashcards on a table or the floor. Call out some of the vocabulary placed on the line and have one of your students jump next to the correct card.
Show one side of the card and have your students give you the word in the other language.
Arrange a set of flashcards in a pile. Take the first several flash cards and create a sentence. Have your students take another flashcard to continue with the story. Continue with the same procedure until all the flashcards in the pile are gone.