Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sentence Card Games {For the Classroom or Small Group}

{Affiliate links used. Thanks for supporting this blog.}

When I used to teach at a local high school one of the favorite grammar games of my students were sentence cards. Basically, I would take a grammatical concept, come up with sentences to practice the concept and then create a card for each word in the sentences. If I was doing the game in the classroom the cards were actually sheets of regular-sized paper. If it was a small group lesson then I would use half index cards. I would make two sets of cards (make the sets different so they are easy to tell apart by either writing each set of cards in different colored Sharpies or using two different colors of paper). This way you can have two teams by splitting up your group in half. I would set up teams and then call out a sentence in English. The first team to create their sentence correctly won that round. I would keep points for each team to see who came out with the most points at the end.

Here's the process for setting all this up:
{Yes, this takes a bit of time, but I am telling you, this is one of the most popular activities I have done with language students and what I love about it is that they really have to use teamwork, teach each other, and learn sentence structure during the game.}

1. Decide what grammar point you want to practice. Negation, verb conjugation, and pronouns (directs, indirects, and reflexives) are great concepts with this game. Any concept that is dependent on word order works well, too.

2. Decide how many students you will have on a team. I normally took the size of my class and split it in half. Ideally, you will need at least two cards for each person on a team.

3. Make a list of words you want to use to create your sentences. You want words you can use over and over again. You also need a variety of words to make complete sentences. REMEMBER: You need enough words so that each student has at least two cards if you are doing this in a classroom setting. To give you an idea here is my list for a sentence card game with negation:

siempre, alguien, algo, alguno/a/os/as, no, nunca, nadie, nada, ningun/a, yo, nosotros, ella, patinamos, trabajo, trabaja, habla, hablamos, a, escribo, escribimos, carta, cartas, en el invierno, en el verano, tomo, toma, el sol, con

4. Using the list make up sentences in English. Make sure you use all your words in your list at least once. Here are sample sentences for the above list of  words.

We always speak to someone.
We never speak.
She never speaks to anyone.
I don't write any letters.
We never skate in the summer.
I work with someone.
She never sunbathes in the  winter.
We write some letters to someone.
Nobody speaks on the plane.

5. Make two sets of cards, each a different color. If you are doing this in a classroom setting each person on the team needs at least two cards. In a  small group setting (teams that are no bigger than five people) then the whole team has the cards set in front of them to work with. Call out a sentence in English. The students then need to create that sentence with their cards. In a classroom setting I would have students at their desks and they would have to run up to the front with their card and get in order with their other team members to create the sentence. They would hold their card in front of them so we could clearly see the sentence. Reward a point to the team that creates the grammatically correct sentence first.

I saved all cards and the sentences in English for the game from year to year so that I didn't have to reinvent the wheel. In a small group setting with half index cards I even laminate them so that I can get as much use out of them as possible. No sense in doing all your work over again!

Enjoy! Who knew grammar could be so much fun?!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Resources for Teaching Una Carta a Dios {Free Printable}

{Photo courtesy of Capgros}
{Affiliate links used. Thanks for supporting this blog.}

I love when students get advanced enough to read literature in Spanish. The short story, "Una Carta a Dios" by Gregorio Lopez y Fuentes, is one of the first stories I have my students read. It can be found on the web or in the reader, Album {which I highly recommend if you have students that are beginning to read literature. Please see this post.}. The story incorporates tragedy and humor with a surprising punchline at the end. It is the perfect story to start with because of its high interest story line. Album has great comprehension questions, literary analysis, and language exercises, but there are also activities and resources online.  Here's a look at a few...

Online Vocab Cards for the story

Here's the vocabulary list I use with my students...

A lesson plan for Una Carta a Dios

A short biography on Gregorio Lopez y Fuentes

Do you know of any other resources for this short story? I would love to hear from you!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ideas for Teaching Colors in Another Language

{Affiliate links used. Thanks for supporting this blog.}

Colors are one of the first things I start with when teaching Spanish to my new students. Here is a list of supplies and ideas for teaching colors in any language...


Colors Bean Bags

Monsters Stickers -For a variety of activities like this.

Color Dot Stickers- For this activity.

Demasiados Globos-This is the very first book I use with young kids to introduce colors.

Pinta ratones-I love this book on color mixing! I incorporate this activity with it.

Sali de paseo-Another great children's book.

Sharpie Accent Retractable Highlighters are great for older kids. I use them with picture pages and have the students follow my instructions like "Put a green circle on the house." I have also used these with more advanced students having them highlight the parts of speech in a Spanish paragraph. Each part of speech gets a different color.

Spot It! Numbers and Shapes-My students LOVE these games. The alphabet and the numbers game incorporate colors.


Se Venden Gorros-By reading this classic book you can review colors.  There are a few activity ideas at the end of the post.

Mystery Pictures-To review colors and numbers.

Shape Monsters are a fun activity for younger kids.

Color and Number Bingo

Copy Cats- A simple game for the younger set.

Mr. Potato Head can be used to review colors especially if you have different sets of accessories.

So what supplies and activities do you use to teach colors?