Monday, September 18, 2017

Clothespin Monsters and Language Learning

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I am always looking for new ways to teach Spanish vocabulary I have taught for years. It adds spice to my lessons and also keeps the teacher (me) engaged. Last week I came across this post on making little monsters and decided to make them in all the colors that I have taught my students. I also laminated them and used this glue (click here) which is incredibly durable. In the post, she suggests playing games with pom poms (find them here) with the monsters. I am using the monsters and the pom poms to review colors. Here's how I do it:

I lay out all the monsters on the table and then give instructions in Spanish like "El monstruo rojo come azul." One of my students then needs to find the red monster and use him to pick up a blue pom pom to deposit in a nearby cup. Once I have done this enough with students, I then ask them to "be the teacher" and give instructions to fellow classmates. 

Another activity is to have small disposable bathroom cups for each child. Lay out all your pom poms on a table. Each child gets a clothespin monster to use. Time them for thirty seconds or one minute and have them fill their small cups with as many pom poms as possible using only the monster to get them in the cup. When time is up, have them count the pom poms in their cups in the target language and tell you how many they got.

I also have doll clothes that I use for teaching which can also be used with these monsters. Give students instructions on which colored monster is going to eat which article of clothing. Have them deposit the clothes in another container that serves as the "stomach" for the monsters. Actually, these monsters can be used for all kinds of vocabulary in this same manner as long as you have something for the students to pick up with them. 

If you have any more ideas on how to use these monsters in a language classroom I would love to hear them! 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Word Pictures for Vocabulary Review

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Want a simple activity that incorporates creativity with vocabulary learning? How about trying word pictures with your students? Pictures are drawn entirely with words. For each part of the picture, students write the word for that part over and over again to form the shape of the item. For example, if you are drawing a dress then you would write the word "dress" to create the shape of the dress.

The best way to start these pictures is with a pencil. Have your students lightly outline their drawing. Then using fine tip pens (I used these.), have your students write the word over the pencil lines. They should pick words that correspond to each part of the picture. There is a little bit of poetic license, for the face in the picture I could use cara (face), cabeza (head), or chica (girl). When they are done they can erase the pencil lines. Let your students be creative!

They will also need to decide how much they will break down the picture with vocabulary words. I had the option on the picture below to write the words "trunk" and "leaves" for the tree, but just opted to write "tree" in Spanish instead.

This simple activity is a great way to reinforce the vocabulary your students are learning. You can do pictures for all different kinds of sets of words: weather, body parts, clothing, parts of a house, furniture, cities, foods, etc. Have fun being creative!!