You can see it coming. No matter what you do, how much you extend your lesson plan, there it is. The dreaded extra time at the end of class. Every minute is precious and you don’t want to waste it, right? I’m not a math teacher but if a lesson in a 50 minute class period ends 5 minutes early, that is 10% of class being wasted, correct? Yikes!
Here are six time fillers for Spanish class that are easy to implement and will keep kids engaged and learning right up until the final bell.
1. READ A CHILDREN’S BOOK
I always tell students Spanish class is like kindergarten because we learn colors and the alphabet, we sing songs, we color, and we have story time! Books make a great time filler because they are a good chance for students to wind down before they head to their next class, you can literally grab a book off the shelf and start reading, and being read to is fantastic for their language development.
In addition to exposing students to wonderful books by authors from everywhere from Peru to Argentina, I also like to use books that are familiar with students. Here are a few of my bookshelf staples.
Buenas Noches, Luna (Goodnight Moon)
¿Eres Mi Mamá? (Are You My Mother?)
Oso pardo, oso pardo, ¿qué ves ahí? (Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?)
Donde Viven Los Monstruos (Where the Wild Things Are)
¿Dónde está la oveja verde? (Where Is the Green Sheep?)
2. LISTEN AND DRAW
Not sure what to play in class? Here is a blog post I wrote with a list of 20 Pandora Stations for the Spanish Classroom.
3. TASK CARDS
I always keep a set of task cards on my desk for whatever we are currently learning. If I find myself with time at the end of class, I like to grab the set and use them in a few different ways. Here are three:
a. Exit ticket: You can give students a sticky note, have them take out a piece of scratch paper, or pass out slips of paper. Project a few task cards either with a doc cam or through the computer and have students write their answers on their paper. Position yourself at the door to collect the papers and wish them a fabulous day as they leave. Exit tickets make a great formative assessment to gauge where your students are with the material so you can adjust your lesson plans for the following day if need be.
b. Rapid fire quiz for candy: Call out questions from the task cards or project the task card and have students volunteer answers. If participation is *ahem*lacking*ahem*, I use my index cards to call on students. I like to reward students with a small piece of candy if correct.
c. Mini whiteboards: Have students quickly grab what they need to do mini whiteboards. I usually ask the first person in the row to grab materials for everyone to cut down on congestion. Getting whiteboards shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds. Once students have a mini whiteboard, marker, and eraser (or a piece of tissue in a pinch), project task cards either with a doc cam or through the computer and have students write their answers on their whiteboards. Normally I would check each individual one but when we are trying to move quickly, I grab one student’s whiteboard that is correct and hold it up for the class to self check or tell the class the answer. You would be surprised at how many questions you can get through!
Find all 60+ of my task card sets HERE.
4. FISH BOWL
Quickly divide the class into two groups. Have one group make a large circle. Have each person in the second group go stand in front of someone in the circle, facing the person. You should have two circles now, one inside the other. Give each circle a name. I like to use countries, foods, or something else with a Latin flair. Have students greet the person across from them in Spanish. Then have the outer group ask the inner group a question about a topic. If it is the first week of Spanish 1, it might be ¿Cómo te llamas? and you might have to write a sentence frame for the question and answer on the board. If it is March and you have Spanish 2 students, the direction could be a little more open-ended such as ‘ask a question in the preterite tense’. Inner circle needs to answer in a complete sentence. Once that is done, both students need to say gracias to their partner and then wait for my signal to rotate. Once I ring the bell, the INNER circle moves one person to the right. Repeat the process of greeting, asking, answering, thanking, and rotating one person to the right until everyone is back where they started. Then, have the outer circle and inner circle switch places so now a new group is asking the question and a new group is answering. This is a quick process. Students are with their partner no more than 10-15 seconds at a time, depending on the question. A Fish Bowl is a great way to get students speaking A LOT of Spanish and in a short amount of time!
5. QUICK WRITE
Put up a picture and have students write about it for a few minutes. The New York Times has a wonderful collection of photos called A Year of Picture Prompts: Over 160 Images to Inspire Writing that are always thought-provoking. I am constantly being blown away by my students’ imaginations!
6. BALL TOSS
For a quick speaking activity, toss a Nerf ball or something else soft to a student in the class. I use a foam globe about the size of a baseball that I got at the dollar store. Ask that student a question. That student answers the question in a complete sentence, tosses the ball to another student, and asks that student a question. That student answers the question, tosses it to a new student, and so forth until every student has had the ball. The last student with the ball gets to toss the ball to me and ask me a question. It goes quickly and is great speaking practice!
Depending on level and the topic, I often use sentence frames on the board. For example, if we were learning ESTAR and emotions, this is what I would write on the board.
Yo estoy .
If you end up using any of these ideas in your classroom, I would love to hear about it! Please tag me on IG (@laprofeplotts) or let me know on Facebook! As always, if you loved this post, I would greatly appreciate you pinning it for me ↓ so others can enjoy it, too. Thanks, amigos!
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