A Good Start: 147 Warm-Up Activities for Spanish Class (Un Buen Comienzo) by Rebekah Stathakis provides foreign language teachers with 147 games and activities they can use to begin each class. This tip fosters simple vocabulary and memory skills!
You will need copies of the game rules and sets of vocabulary pictures. The vocabulary picture sets should include five to ten pictures from the chapter vocabulary. Each picture should be on its own set of paper and represent one vocabulary word. The papers can be index cards, half sheets of paper, or full sheets. Make sure that you can't see the pictures through the paper (if you flip over the paper, you shouldn't be able to see the drawing).
Students can play this game with partners or small groups.
Students may need to see this game modeled once or twice in order to fully understand the directions. Also, you may want to copy the rules sheet so that students can refer to it as they play instead of looking up to read the rules off an overhead projector or the board. Consider reviewing the directions the day before so that as students come into class they can start playing immediately.
You can have pictures of the vocabulary already prepared or can have students create the pictures as a homework assignment the night before. The vocabulary pictures can be on full-size sheets of paper or on smaller papers (index cards tend to work well.) If students create the pictures using pen or marker, they may be able to see through the papers. In that case, you will need to provide cardstock or other paper as backing. If not, students will see through the papers and will not be using their memories!
Variations and Additional Activities
Instead of having students play this game with partners, consider playing the game as a whole class. Place five or six vocabulary cards face up on the board. Ask a student what each picture is and make sure they know the words in your target language. Then, flip over the cards. Slowly move some of the cards to change the order they are in. Ask all of the students to write a list of the five cards in order. Flip over the cards one at a time. Students earn a point for each of the cards they correctly identified. After each round, increase the number of cards you use for the game.
Ask a student to be the "teacher" when playing this game as a whole class. The student can go over the words, flip over the cards, and shuffle some of the cards.
- Select four vocabulary pictures and place them on your desk in a line face up.
- Flip each card over so that the picture side is not visible.
- Watch closely as one of you moves the cards (you will change what order the cards are in). Try to remember what was on each card and where the cards are now.
- The player who did not move the cards begins playing. S/he says what s/he thinks is on the card and flips it over. If the player was correct, then s/he wins that card. If not, the second player can say what is actually on the card and then the second player wins the card. If the first player answered correctly, s/he continues playing until s/he misses a card.
- Continue taking turns until all four cards have been turned back over. Once all of the cards are facing up, begin again by turning the cards over and rotating their positions again. You can rotate as many or as few times as you would like!
- You earn a point for each card that you win. Keep track of your points because at the end of the allotted time, the player with the most points wins!
Read more from Rebekah Stathakis, an Eye On Education guest blogger!