Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ten Ways to Use Picture Dictionaries in a Language Classroom

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Picture dictionaries are a great jumping off point for conversations in the target language you are teaching.  I love using the types of dictionaries that have "scenes" that you can use to talk about many different topics.  The dictionaries I have listed here are {at the time of this posting} out of print {at least the Spanish versions are...other languages are available}, but they are readily available on the used market through Amazon and other sites.

Picture dictionaries with scenes can be used in a variety of ways.  Here is a list of ideas:

{NOTE: All of these activities are done in the target language...on both the teacher and student side.}

1. Ask where certain items are in the target language and the student points them out.

2. Counting items on the page.

3. Show them a scene and they have to describe it in the target language.

4.  Practice prepositions by describing where things are located.  I normally do this by giving the student(s) two items in Spanish.  They then have to tell me how the first item is positioned in regards to the second item.  For example:  El gato esta encima de la mesa.

5. Call out an item and the students give you an adjective for it.

6. Have the students describe the actions going on in the scene.

7. Discuss the emotions of the people in the scene.

8. For pages with lots of food pictures on them call out a color and the students tell you the foods that are that color.

9. Also, for food pages, call out an adjective like sweet or salty and have students list foods that fit that description.

10. Call out a letter of the alphabet and see if students can list any items on the page that start with that letter.


Let's Learn Spanish-Picture Dictionary-I love this dictionary particularly for its opposite page {see above}.  With this page I ask questions like, "Where is the fast mouse?"  "the tall mouse?", etc.


First Thousand Words in Spanish-This dictionary is the one I have used the longest in my teaching.  Scenes in the middle with vocabulary around the sides.


Everyday Words in Spanish-Most of my younger students love this book with claymation type characters. Once again there are scenes with vocabulary on the sides.

You can probably find another million ways to use these books.  I would love to hear your ideas!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Vocabulary Games



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Here is a quick game to make to teach/review some of the words related to Christmas and winter.  I use these pictures to make cards by printing them and cutting them out and taping them to half index cards.  By printing out one set you have enough cards to play memory, but if you make two copies of the file...Christmas vocabulary cards you can do Go Fish with sets of four cards for each vocab word.

For memory I have the students say the word in Spanish for each card they pick up.  For Go Fish you use the vocabulary to play the game by asking "Tienes el regalo" or whatever picture you are looking for.  To say "Go Fish" I use "Pesca" with my students.

Here is the list of the words used for these cards:



El árbol de Navidad

La nieve

El muñeco de nieve

Las luces

La vela

El adorno

La estrella

El regalo

These games are super easy to set up and play.  The concept can go for any set of vocabulary.  It is just a matter of making the cards!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Dice in Language Learning

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I love making language learning into a game if possible. Even if the activity we are doing isn't really a game, dice give a hands-on experience to what we are practicing in the language.  There are several types of dice that I use when teaching.


Dice Within Dice are great for practicing sentence constructions, verb conjugations, and adjective/noun agreement.  On my whiteboard I will normally make two lists.

COLOR
1. Uds.
2. yo
3. Carla y yo
4. ella
5. tu
6. Ud.

BLANCO
1. decir la verdad
2. hacer la tarea
3. pedir la comida
4. encontrar un gato en la calle
5. salir con amigos
6. perder los libros

Students takes turns rolling their "Die within a Die" and creating a sentence.  For example, if a student rolled a "2" for the colored die and a "4" for the white die, the sentence she would need to come up with would be "Yo encuentro un gato en la calle."

One way to mix this activity up a bit is for the teacher to participate.  I roll the dice and then say the sentence, but I don't always do it correctly.  It is the students' job to figure out if the sentence is "correcto" or "incorrecto".

This method could be done with lots of types of sentences.  Here are some ideas:

-Subjects and adjectives {Ella es flaca.}  Great for practicing noun/adjective agreement.

-Subjects and items we know.  {Ella sabe bailar.   or  Yo conozco a la profesora.}  This is great for practicing the difference between saber and conocer.

-Subjects and adjectives-some that take ser and other estar.  {Nosotros estamos aburridos.   or  Uds. son altos.}

-Even more complex sentences can be done if you give the students three dice (or one die within a die and a single separate die).  For example...
Subjects-objects-recipients of the objects {Yo le doy la bici a Ricardo.}  Or use double object pronouns...{Yo se la doy.}

-Also with three dice:  Subject-preposition-place  {Yo estoy a la derecha de la silla.}

-With four dice or two dice within dice...
subject-verb that takes subjunctive-subject-second verb  {Yo quiero que Carlos haga la cama.}


Number Dice are great for practicing saying the numbers out of order.  It is great when a student can learn to count in Spanish or another language, but the true test is when they can see the number and tell you what it is.  Sure, students for awhile might have to "count up" to tell you the number, but the more they practice the easier it gets.  I use one to four of these dice and have them roll them all at once. Then they have to line them up and tell me what number they have. Great for older students needing to practice higher numbers.

Another option is to have a group of number dice on the table and then call out a number that the student then has to create with the dice.


Math Operation Dice along with regular dice can be used to do math problems in the target language.