Teaching Spanish to tweens and teens is rewarding, but it’s also hard work. As an aspiring Spanish language instructor, you can look for innovative ways to engage your students’ attention. Games are one effective strategy, since students love to have fun while they learn. Here are some fun games to try in your classroom!
Stop the Car
Párame el carro is a fun game for Spanish learners. Each student takes a piece of paper, flips it horizontally and divides it into columns. You can customize the labels for the columns to suit your current lesson plans, but they’re typically given these labels: Name, Last name, Thing, Fruit, Color, Animal, City, Country and Total.
Of course, have your students label the columns in Spanish. The game consists of multiple rounds. At each round, you’ll give the students a letter of the alphabet. They must fill out their columns with words that start with that letter and that fit into each category. Each word is worth 50 points. Whichever student finishes first calls out, “¡párame el carro!” Students then add up their points and start another round.
Solve a Crime
Tell your class that they’re going to help solve a fictitious crime. Divide students into pairs, then assign one to be the policeman and the other to be the witness. The policeman must stand at the front of the class, facing away from the chalkboard. Post a picture of a person—the “suspect”—on the board for the witness to look at. The policeman will ask the witness questions (in Spanish, of course!) about the description of the suspect. Continue the activity until all of the pairs of students have had a conversation, using a different picture for each.
Find Someone Who…
Teachers often use activities that require movement as a way to engage kinesthetic learners. “Encontrar a alguien que” activities fit the bill. Create a list of sentences that all start with “Encontrar a alguien que.” Some examples are to find people who watched TV last night (vio la televisión anoche), went to the dance this past weekend (fue a bailar el fin de semana) or doesn’t like pizza (no le gusta la pizza).
Type these sentences on a handout to be printed and distributed to your class. Students must stand up and move around, asking each other questions in Spanish. Once they identify a person who meets the criteria for a sentence, the students can write the name next to it. The first person who finds a name for each sentence wins the game.
Take My Order
Divide your class into groups of three to five. Assign one person in each group to be the “waiter.” The “customers” must try to order a dish in Spanish as the waiter writes down the order. To make this activity more engaging, you could even print out pictures of dishes and compile them in a menu. Or, print out a real menu from a restaurant’s website. Look for a menu in English so that the students can practice translating it.
You can set the foundation to pursue a rewarding career as a Spanish language educator. Grand Canyon University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish degree program, with curriculum standards that align with those of the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages. Use the Request More Information button to get started!