Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Adding Fun to Vocabulary Learning

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When you teach a language you are always looking for ways to add some fun to learning the endless amount of words that a student needs in order to communicate. A few weeks ago I bought a Magnetic Write-on Wipe-off Die and have been using it in my summer classes. The die is not quite five inches across and has dry erase surfaces that are also magnetic. Since I have been doing a bug unit this summer I decided to take the cards from a game I have, Bug Out , and use those along with the die to practice our vocabulary.

I wrote a Spanish word on each side of the die...they were all the names of insects that were represented on some of the cards.  Obviously as you can see from the picture there were more types of insects than I was able to put on the die. That is ok. It just means that students have to sort through to find what they are looking for. On one side I did put the word "insecto" so that they could pick up anyone that was a true insect. To play the game, I laid out all the cards.  The first student rolled the die and read the word.  He then tried to find the insect that corresponded with the word in Spanish.  Then we went to the next player. If a student rolled a word that no longer had a card then we just moved on to the next player. I timed the game to only last five minutes.  At the end of the game, the students counted {in Spanish, of course!} their cards to see who had the most.

This simple game can be used with any set of vocabulary as long as you have picture cards for the words you are working on. The write-on die has the potential for a plethora of uses! I am going to be on the lookout for other ways to incorporate it into my lessons.

A little more information on the die...I have read reviews that the magnetic part {supposedly you can attach magnetic pictures to the white spaces} doesn't work that great. I don't really plan to use the dice that way, but thought I would mention it. Also, as you play with the die, you have the potential to wipe off the words if you touch the white parts.  I have taught my students to handle the die on the colored areas.  It seems to work well.

Here are some links for different picture cards to use with this type of game {click on the image}...

{The caterpillar game would be a great way to review the vocabulary from that book.}

Monday, June 16, 2014

Spot the Differences {Activity for Language Learning}

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I recently picked up this Spot the Difference Card Game for a local toy store.  I am so excited to use these cards with my more advanced students!  This is meant to be a game where you compete with your opponents to find the most differences in the two pictures on the card.  However, they are EXCELLENT pictures for discussing in a target language what the differences are. There are three levels of cards:

40 challenges {20 cards with pictures on each side} with five differences
40 challenges {20 cards with pictures on each side} with ten differences
40 challenges {20 cards with pictures on each side} with fifteen differences

That's 120 spot the differences pictures!!

There are all kinds of scenes that will allow you to work with students on different topics.  Here is a list of a few of the topics...

Knights and Dragons
Outer Space
Doctor's Office

And that is just a sample of the cards!

I plan to use these in private lessons and also in small groups where students attempt to describe to their partners what the differences are in Spanish. A great way to encourage speaking skills! These could also be used with students that finish work early in a larger classroom setting.  They can pick a card or two and write down the differences that they see. I can't wait to use them this fall!

UPDATE: I have been using these with my students and have noticed that the more they use them the better their fluency! These cards are going to be a staple with my intermediate and advanced students. Such an easy way to get them talking with so little prep from the teacher!

Another way to use these cards is when you are teaching prepositions. I pull out these cards and call out two items on the card. The students then have to tell me where the two objects are in relation to each other {like above, under, to the right, etc.}

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Insect Unit in Spanish

This summer I am working with several students to teach them more about insects and creepy crawlies in Spanish. I am using several resources: books, units from Teachers pay Teachers, and some of my own ideas.

Here are some great books that I own and have used with my students...

Mi Pequena Enciclopedia Larousse Los Insectos-I LOVE this little book filled with information on different insects.  Great for younger kids, but also for upper elementary that are learning Spanish.

La oruga muy hambrienta-A classic

La Mariquita Lara-Simple story of a ladybug that loses her spots.  Early elementary.

¡Montones de mariquitas!-Great book for teaching kids to count by 5's using the spots on ladybugs.

Correle, correle ciempies! -A book from the same series as Montones de Marquitas.  This one uses a centipede and teaches counting by 10's.

Super Catarina Y Los Super Insectos-Longer book for upper elementary

                      {Sidewalk Chalk Critters}


One of the activities I do with my students is play Memory with these cards. After we have played and they are somewhat familiar with the words, I have the students draw the critter I call out in Spanish (from the Memory game we just played) with sidewalk chalk.

Here is a prior post of mine with ideas for activities with ladybugs.  You will also find links on this post to units in Spanish on ladybugs at Teachers pay Teachers.

These insect hundreds chart mystery pictures are a cool activity! I use these sheets by calling out the numbers and colors in Spanish so that my students can color in the picture.

This game reviews numbers, colors, shapes, and size.  It could be modified to play it in Spanish.  Click on the picture for the link.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Ideas to teach the days of the week in Spanish