Inside: How to get your Spanish class moving to increase engagement and motivation.
Hola friends! It is Allison from Mis Clases Locas. One of my big goals is to get every single students up and moving at some point in every class. I even just presented on this topic at IWLA this past weekend. This is such a priority, that my room is set up deskless, which is gives us so much room for activities. If you are interested in learning more about how this works, check out my Deskless class FAQ. Our students sit ALL DAY LONG. I do not know about you, but I can not stand sitting all day for PD, and that is what we do to our students each day. I have found that getting students up and moving increases engagement as well as student motivation. Here are some of my favorite ways to get your Spanish class moving.
Quizlet Live has become my go to time filler with and extra 10-15 minutes at the end of class. I rarely create anything myself and just search the chapter of the novel we are reading or unit of study and find either vocabulary, or questions in Spanish. But to keep it fresh and also gets students up and moving I love the variation of Quizlet Live Relay Race. Students all sign in like normal, but I recommend using computers if you have them, or having students using phones to shut of their lock screen. Students set up all computers on a table and then stand a few steps back from the table or on the other side. One member at a time runs up to the computers to answer the question for the whole group. Like a relay race, once they return the next team member has a chance to answer the next question and so forth until everyone is done. You can see more details in this post.
All you need for Running Dictation is 8-10 sentences typed up in Spanish and printed over a book chapter or story. These can be taped up all around a room, or better yet in a hallway or large common area or gym. There are many variations to the activity, but here is what I do. Students are broken into teams of 3-4 students and the “jobs” rotate after each turn. The jobs are as follows:
- Runner – Goes to read the information and verbally recites it to the writer. They may need to take multiple trips to fully relay the information.
- Writer – Writes down what the runner says
- Artist – Draws what the writer wrote (to show comprehension)
- Editor/Cheerleader – optional job for those who have 4 members
Anytime you have four characters or four ways to feel about something that can be posted in the corners of your room, you can do 4 Corners Just make simple signs to post in each corner of the room. The teacher read a statement and the students move to the corner that best matches it. So if they are who said it quotes, you move to the character that the quote applied to. It could also be four emotions posted or, I like, I like a lot, I do not like, I do not like a lot to practice the phrase me gusta. If you want to mix it up, you can bring in 4 Corners with a twist.
This can also be simplified with just two options standing up and moving to each side of the room for true/false statements or yes/no personal questions. It is another no prep way to get antsy students up and active during what otherwise would just be a seated discussion.
Way back in 2014 my class and I coined the term baile viernes to refer to starting class on Friday with a dance in Spanish. (Yes I know it is not correct, but it is the name that stuck). All I do is play a Just Dance or Zumba video from my giant Youtube playlist that is projected on my screen during passing time. If the class is into it, we may do one more dance when the bell rings and everyone is there. The whole thing takes 3 minutes of class and gets out the Friday wiggles. Besides just baile viernes, here are 5 ways to use dance in any class.
My go to activity for the first day with a new group of students is to play name game speedball. Basically students stand in a circle and introduce themselves, toss the ball to someone else in the circle, and this repeats until everyone has gone. Then one students times the class as they repeat the same pattern with introductions. Besides the first day this same activity could be done with any statement, such as I like, I went to, I am going to, or retelling a part of a book or story in Spanish. Anytime students get to toss a ball, they are in heaven.
The idea for this activity came from the teachers guide of the book Fiesta Fatal. You can see the full game description here. In short teams of students all have the answers to a set of questions the teacher reads. Each student has a few of the answers on small cards and listens for the corresponding question to be read. When they hear their question, they run with the correct card to race to be the first one to slap their card on the front table. This could be done to mix up a variety of boring comprehension questions, while getting students up as well.
This is a team building activity that I did as a camp counselor, but brought to my Spanish classroom last year. Each student gets a paper plate or piece of card stock taped to their backs. All students walk around with a pen or small marker and write positive things about each other in Spanish. It is a great moral booster and I had students put these in their lockers or hang them up at home to look at when they are having a bad day. You can read all about setting up this positive activity here.
I found out about this activity from Mira Canion at a presentation she did at CSCTFL. It is an activity that you could do with any level of language learner, with different levels of prompts. Students write about themselves, walk around and share, and reflect. It encourages students to find commonalities, listen to other people and talk with ten of their classmates, while walking around the room. You can learn about the full activity here.
This classic seek and sign people hunt papers could be used for any topic to get students up and asking and answering questions with each other. I love to do these the first day of school or after a break to give students a chance to move, as well as share about what they did while they were gone. I have done them in every level, with different amounts of supports, such as providing the I form response. Additionally, I like to have students extend the activity by writing about what they learned about others. Here is a newer post with ways to mix up Find Someone Who.