Since we loop with our students, they already know our expectations, but it's still important to remind them, and there are always new students. This year, I put all my policies into Quizlet (which you can modify!) and gave the students 5 minutes to read over them. (Suggestion, have them use the flashcard feature, but select "start with both" so they see the whole thing at once.) After 5 minutes, I started the game. I had planned to play 3-4 times because it's fast paced, but they begged me to keep playing, so we played for about 15 minutes. They were so incredibly engaged and I didn't need to do a thing! It worked so well that I did it with my first year students as well, and I'm willing to bet that I won't have to remind them of things nearly as much as with previous groups where we just read through rules the boring way. Let me know what you think if you try it out as well!
There's nothing scarier for a new teacher than when you finish a lesson, look at the clock, and realize you still have 15 minutes left and nothing left to do. Here are some time-filler games that require no preparation and are both fun and educational!
1. ¡Adios!: Students form a line shoulder to shoulder. The teacher provides a word and the students have to spell it one letter at a time. (TIP: I type the word on my Smart Board as they say each letter for those visual learners). If we are spelling HOLA, the students go down the line and say (in Spanish) H-O-L-A. The next person says the definition in English, the person after that says ¡Adios! (or any "magic" word you want) and the following person is out for no reason at all. You are also out if you get your letter or definition wrong. Sometimes I let the people who get out (for no reason at all) choose the next word or type to keep them engaged.
2. Yo....¡Yo también!: I learned this as an ice-breaker game during staff development and modified it for my class. All the students sit on their desks and one student makes a true statement about themselves. If another student has that in common with them, they raise their hand and call out ¡Yo también! (Me too!) and say a new statement about themselves. After they participate, they sit in their seat and the goal is to get everyone to say something and show that we are all connected in some way.
3. Circumlocution riddles: Have students create definitions in Spanish for their current vocabulary list and share them with the class as riddles. Increase the complexity of the game by letting them pick any word they can define in Spanish. Whoever solves the riddle can make up the next one!
Ex: Es una fruta roja. (una manzana)
Es para escribir. (un lápiz)
You can use these posters previewed below to help teach them the basics of circumlocution.
4. Quizlet Live: I've written two other blog posts about this game and why I think it's the coolest thing since sliced bread, but this is the ultimate no planning required time filler!
5. Duolingo: I love this app too because you can use it for full class practice or let kids go off and do their own thing. It's an awesome time filler! Check out this blog post all about it!
"We heard Spanish is awesome today!" said several students in my afternoon class on the day I introduced Quizlet live. I even had coworkers coming up to me all week asking me to show them this new game their kids are all buzzing about! So naturally, I wanted to share it here as well!
Quizlet live allows you to take any set of flashcards with 12 or more terms and turn them into a fast-paced, competition among your students. All you need to do is sign up for a free teacher account, select the study deck you want, and click on the new "live" button. It could be a set you've created, or one of the millions of sets already in their database.