Activities That Work /
D. Foreign Language mini-topics

Synopsis prepared by Lee Risley

Back to Table of Contents:
D. Foreign Language mini-topics.
1. Art activities.
2. Clothing & body parts.
3. Colors, Numbers & Money.
4. Family.
5. For small kids. (Just for them?)
6. Geography and FL.
7. Idiom fun.
8. Learning directions.
9. Poetry activities.
10. Shopping.
11. Sponge activities.
12. Student newcasts.
13. Talking games.
14. Teaching culture.
15. Time expressions.
16. Weddings.

8. Learning directions.

95/03 From-> Kendall Mellem <>
Subject: Re: Activities That 'Work': navigation

One activity I've used with success follows. It requires a bit of
preparation the first time out, but gets easier each time. We have a
large, meandering building. I take a map of the school and write in
names for the hallways (Hauptstrasse, Mellemstrasse, etc.). I then put
up corresponding signs in the halls (out of reach of all but the
basketball team) and also a few Einbahnstrasse signs, and the like. Then
I have an exchange student tape record in German several short routes
around the "town", each on a different tape. ("At the intersection with
the Goethe Gasse turn left and continue to the bus stop." etc.) When I
want to test that the kids know how to follow directions, I send them out
two at a time, each with a different tape in a Walkman. From time to time
the tape instructs them to identify a landmark. (I forgot to mention that I
have pictures high on the walls of places the kids recognize from the text.)
I give them a time limit, so they have to come back within a reasonable
amount of time. They hand in to me the list of landmarks in correct order,
so that I can verify that they followed directions. They seem to like the
assignment, and I find it fun too.

Sometimes I let them help name the streets, which is also fun.

(Mrs.) Kendall Mellem


95/11 From-> "S. Bihari" <>
Subject: Re: Request for Elem/French ideas

Teach them simple directions: stand, stand up, sit, sit down, jump,
show, turn around, point at, touch, etc.

Also teach them things about the classroom. The door, window, chair,
desk, book, pen, pencil, blackboard, parts of the body - the list is

Once they are in possession of the above vocabulary, the commands are
myriad: Go to the door! Turn around! Sit on the desk! Jump! Touch the
window! Go to the chair and sit down!

Later on you may elaborate on the same theme. Jump 3 times! Go to the
blackboard; turn around and touch your nose!

I am sure you get the idea. They'll love it!

Bonne chance,


96/12 From->
Subject: Re: places and giving directions and houses

I have used masking tape on the carpet of my classroom to create a
"mini-city" and used children's toys as trees, monuments, pedestrians,
and used small boxes that I labeled as buildings. Students then take
take turns giving directions as other students "drive" small cars on our

Shari Kaulig


96/12 From->
Subject: Re: places and giving directions and houses

Using pictures or drawings of places on the student desks, you could
arrange the desks in a town format. The streets between the desks (city
blocks) would be the aisles and they could be labeled with masking tape
on the floor.

Then you could get your kids to practice directions by giving them oral
or written directions that they have to follow. Or they can even give
directions. One group could give directions to another. If they get to
the right place, the group gets a point. OR at the different places have
little items (ex. pen at the stationery store, toothbrush at the
pharmacy, etc.) and then giving a group a list of items, they must write
directions to get all these items and then go get them. Give them a time
limit - 5 min to write the directions and 3 minutes to get the items.
Then have the groups compete against the time.

Another idea to practice directions is to have the kids write directions
to some place or item in the school ( ie. the cafeteria, the clock in
the main hall, etc.). They are to write the directions without the final
destination clarified (you check them) and then they switch directions
with someone else and see if they can find the place.

To just practice the words for places, you could play charades where
they act out what they do in a place and the group has to name the
place. Or you bring in a bag of items and for each item you pull out of
the bag, they have to name the place where they would get it or find it.
(flower - florist, book - library/bookstore, car - street/ car dealer,

House vocabulary -- you can use some of those colorform kits they sell
in toy stores. You can have them design their ideal house and describe

You can have them design a silly house and describe it. You can play
pictionary and have them draw the items in the house to be guessed. Last
time I put them into groups and each group designed a room and labeled

Then we assembled the rooms into a house and this became my new bulletin
board. You could also name a room and have them act out what you do in
it (sleep - bedroom, eat - dining room, etc.)
Hope this helps.

Deby Doloff


96/12 From-> "Helen V. Jones" <>
Subject: Re: places and giving directions and houses

I just did this activity with my students: I asked for volunteers to
tell me how to get from the school to their houses. As they told me each
step, I drew on the board the streets they named, indicating turns,
crossing the bridge, turning at landmarks in the city, etc. Some kids
live at a distance so the board was full by the end of the activity. I
think it was a good activity because in addition I indicated on the
board the four cardinal points and this was an added dimension which the
textbook didn't include. So they had to say, *Go north on Malvern, turn
east on Broad Street, etc.*



96/12 From->
Subject: Re: places and giving directions and houses

An activity I have used successfully to teach directions is to have the
students guide one another through mazes. After doing one or two on
transparencies they are eager to do theirs as paired practice. I use
simple mazes from a Spanish version of the Disney vacation activities
book for children. MC Gruff, the crime fighting dog, also comes in a
Spanish version, they also like the maze from it.

After they know the names of places I also use a modified version of the
verb (dice game). The students get simple maps of a city with the names
of the places typed on them. They are provided with two lists, 'to' and
'from' a roll of the dice gives a variety of places to visit. Again this
is paired practice.

R. Henley


96/12 From-> Mary Young <>
Subject: Re: places and giving directions and houses

How about life-size CLUE game--put signs up around the classroom to
identify various rooms of the house, play in teams (4 maybe). I have
seen groups do a direction-giving activity with a "maze" made of chairs
(as anchors) and rope or twine (as walls). Someone in the team stands on
a chair and guides the "pion" (the player in the maze) around from room
to room. When s/he arrives the pion would ask the questions needed for
CLUE, teams consult, etc. For the dice, it would be fun to use a large
square (empty) box wrapped in paper and painted with dots like dice (did
someone on FLTEACH suggest this recently? It was a great idea, big
dice like that for class activities.)

I haven't tried this game--if you have room in the classroom, it could
be a fun way to accommodate active early adolescents and use the
vocabulary you've targeted.

Mary Young


96/12 From-> roland a levy phys fac/staff <>
Subject: Re: places and giving directions and houses

Dear Liz,
A fun activity, especially for 7th graders (I have used it with my high
school students, and they grumpily liked it) is to actually trace a
fictitious town with streets (give them cute Spanish native names, or
local names).

Let me backtrack - First, buy a cheap plastic table cloth liner, and
just trace the town or your neighborhood or a fictitious Latin American
town - label different spots as "the school, theatre, museum, square X,
specialty stores, or whatever was covered in the vocab. chapters.

Afterwards, you can actually spread the town on the floor, and do loads
of applications. You could practice directions , i.e. You leave your
home, cross the street, you stop at the grocery store, then you continue
to the right, etc... (you get the gist) -

You can make it like a guessing game - "You are in the mood of being
entertained, where would you go? students have to volunteer to say
outloud and actually walk "on the town" and give directions that they
are going to the movies, or the park, etc..

- I have seen a teacher in new jersey, draw a map of South America, and
kids ( 2 or 3) were called to play twister on it - I have traced a huge
car, and reviewed car parts in French on the car - and kids played
twister with it - they had a lot of fun. Good luck.

Viviane Levy
A.L. Regional High School
Clark, NJ


96/12 From-> rgurnish <>
Subject: Re: places and giving directions and houses

Here are a couple of ideas that I've used to help practice giving

1. Give each student a copy of a city map. Choose a place to start and
then give directions (turn left at X or cross so many streets etc.) have
the students use their pencils and draw on the map what you are telling
them to do.

2. With the same map, allow the students to give directions on how to go
from one place to another.

3. Have students tell how to get to various places in and around the
school from the school. ( I put the names of local places on index cards
and pass the index cards out, give them a few minutes and then they tell
how to get there.)

4. If you have lots of time, lots of cooperation and lots of well
behaved kids (you are very blessed), you could set up a scavenger hunt
throughout the school. Direct students to various spots in the building
and have people waiting there to give them a prize or the next clue. I
did this one year with a small class. There were a lot of student
teachers in the building at the time so many cooperating teachers were
stationed throughout the building. The kids had a riot. Unfortunately, I
cannot repeat that activity very often.

Hope these help.


9. Poetry activities.

97/04 From-> Irene Moon <>
Subject: Re: Poetry Activity

Hola Listeros,

Last week, Dee Friel sent us a poem and suggested it would be a good
translation activity while some of us were at conference. We had just
completed La Huella Africana en Latino America discussing such issues as
slavery (here & there), prejudice and identity. When I read the poems I
thought this is neat...a nice extension and finish to the unit.

So we worked together on the longer La vida no es.... and I provided a
"hint sheet"...students were encouraged to circumlocute phrases etc. It
also gave us an opportunity to discuss use of infinitives after prepositions,
various tenses, neat phrases like de proposito, se trata de etc. Students really
seemed to get "into" it.

After we went over it, they had the next segment "La Vida es" as HW
assignment. I never expected kids to be happy about this assignment, but
they were. It SPEAKS to teens about the materialist world in which we
live and so on. Today they wrote their own poem of 22 lines and this is
what the requirements were:

3 ideas from poem "La Vida No ES", summarized, stated in your own words
(2 lines each) = 6 lines

2 of your own ideas about La Vida no Es (can't have been mentioned by
poet) 2 lines each= 4 lines

3 ideas from poem "La Vida ES" summarized in your words (2 lines each) =
6 lines

3 of your own ideas about what Life REally is (2 lines each) = 6 lines

Today I did some proofreading etc. and I can't tell you how thoughtfully
these have been done and I'm amazed at their accuracy! We've also had some
wonderful discussions in Spanish about "Life"! I hope you'll try the activity, too.

Irene Moon

I'm copying the poems Dee gave us below.


- Life isn't about keeping score. - It's not about how many friends you
have or how accepted you are.
- Not about if you have plans this weekend - Or if you're alone.
- It isn't about who you're dating, who you used to date, how many people
 you've dated, or if you haven't been with anyone at all.
- It isn't about who you have kissed,
- It's not about sex.
- It isn't about who your family is or how much money they have
- Or what kind of car you drive.
- Or where you are sent to school.
- It's not about how beautiful or ugly you are.
- Or what clothes you wear, what shoes you have on, or what kind of
music you listen to.

- It's not about if your hair is blonde, red, black, or brown - Or if
your skin is too light or too dark.
- Not about what grades you get, how smart you are, how smart  everybody
else thinks you are, or how smart standardized tests say you are.
- It's not about what clubs you're in or how good you are at "your" sport.
- It's not about representing your whole being on a piece of paper and
seeing who will "accept the written you."

>>>>>>>>>LIFE IS...

- It's about who you make happy or unhappy purposefully.
- It's about keeping or betraying trust.
- It's about friendship, used as a sanctity or a weapon.
- It's about what you say and mean, maybe hurtful, maybe heartening.
- About starting rumors and contributing to petty gossip.
- It's about what judgments you pass and why.
- And who your judgments are spread to.
- It's about who you've ignored with full control and intention.
- It's about jealousy, fear, ignorance, and revenge.
- It's about carrying inner hate and love, letting it grow, and spreading it.
- It's about using your life to touch or poison other people's hearts in
such a way that could have never occurred alone.
- But most of all, life is about who you love and who you hurt.
- Only you choose the way those hearts are affected, and those choices
are what life's all about.

10. Shopping.

97/03 From-> Beverly Maass <>
Subject: Idea: Market Day

Several weeks ago my third year Spanish classes had a market day in
class where they had stores, brought junk to sell in the stores and had
fake pesos with which to barter and sell items. The activity was the hit
of the year, and it was quite easy to organize.

Before the actual day of the market we spent time practicing all the
numbers and counting pesos, which I had run off in different
denominations. I would give each pair of students a certain amount of
money, and they had to count it for me. Then I taught the students for
bargaining terms such as it's handmade, it's real leather, it's too
much, agreed. etc. Then I handed out small pictures of items on which a
price was listed. Each pair of students practiced bargaining exchanging
the role of clerk and customer. Next the classes divided into groups of
2 or 3 to create their stores and make a sign with their store name.
Each store was responsible for bringing the junk items or white
elephants that it would sell. This is what made the market day work.

Everything was junk that could be sold to others. The small class needed
about 12-14 items per store and the large class needed 18-20 per store.
After the signs were made, all of the articles for sale were priced.
The day of the market each store received about 10 pesos for working
cash, and each student received 1000 pesos to use in make the purchases.
Each student had to bargain for 5 different items at several different
stores. They had a great time. Afterwards everything was cleaned up and
all junk taken home. Many of the students were very pleased with their
purchases. Their homework was to write a composition about the market
day and they had to describe the different stores, what they purchased,
for how much, etc. In one class I had time to set up a store and got rid
of some of my own junk. I even played the roll of a difficult
storekeeper and cheated some of the customers. It was just part of the
fun. Of course, all this was done in Spanish. Any questions, email me.


11. Sponge activities.

97/11 From-> Megan Horn <>
Subject: Re: Sponge Activities

>I am currently in a methods of teaching foreign language class and we need
>to come up with some "sponge" activities for our class to do. If anyone has any
>little 5 minute ideas, could you please send them for us. Thank you very much!
>Catí and the rest of the class

Catí and the rest,

I'm only a student teacher, but I have found an activity that works for
my students, especially the Spanish I and II students. I write sentences
on the board (or on a transparency) that have errors in them. The errors
relate to whatever they have been learning about. For example, when
studying gustar:

Me gustan leer.

The students must correct the errors and then we review
the answers. I try to use the students' names in the sentences when
possible, different ones every time. They love it. It is very quick and
easy to do.



97/11 From-> Beverly Clinch <>
Subject: Re: Sponge Activities

Teaching "body" parts, TPR is a great sponge "breather". Expand the
parts every so often then after all are learned, play "Simon Says".
Takes about 6 weeks before "Simon" really works. Kids love it! and then
when you get to the body parts in the text they already know them, with
the exception of spelling.
In the "Archives" of FLTeach you'll find the days of the
week, months, question words etc.

Beverley J Clinch
Greenville, S.C.


97/11 From-> Dianna Janke <>
Subject: Re: Sponge Activities -Reply

Simple one -
Write a longish Spanish word on your board. See how many words can be
made from the letters in this word.

Write any Spanish word on the board. Think of words for each of the
letters in that word on the board.

q u e s o
u n x a c
e t a l h
a m i o
r e r



97/11 From-> Eliseo Pico <>
Subject: Re: Sponge ActivitiesMime-Version: 1.0

I do not know if your idea of "sponge activity" is related to what I
call "rompehielos" (icebreaker). This is what I have done on different

On the way to class from my home I notice something: in the street, in
the bus, on the metro, walking by. And I start like this: "Cuando venia
a clase me encontre'..." Some student may add something that he/she
noticed when coming to school. The first day people do not talk so much.
But as days go by they offer their views on what they have noticed.

I try to keep this activity no longer than 10 minutes. I have used this
technique with first year students (adults) studying Spanish as a FL. It
established good rapport teacher-students.

Eliseo Pico.


97/11 From-> Sue and Jim Orr <>
Subject: Sponge activities

I'm sure this is not original, but it's a quick activity my first year
students enjoy and could be adapted for other levels. I have a nerf
(sponge!) ball and I toss it to a student and say "un" - they need to
supply the next number and toss the ball on. You can complicate things
by counting by 2's, 3's, 5's etc. It works best if they have a goal - to
count to 100 by 5's without a dropped ball (keeps them from launching it
at one another) or a mistake. It really seems to encourage them to help
one another too. If one student seems to be left out of the action, I
call for a turn and include them.

There are some really good ideas for games that are easily adapted to
the FL classroom in the book "Games We Should Play in School". Sorry my
copy is at school so I don't have the author and other info handy - if
anyone's interested I'll get the information to post Monday.

Sue Orr


97/11 From->
Subject: Re: Sponge Activites (edited and expanded)

Let me be first to say that it would be my pleasure to help you and your
class with ideas for sponge activities. This is the beauty of this
listserve: to share ideas and, in particular, to help our future world
language teachers.

The favorite activities of this year's Spanish I class are:

1. Caramba (to review numbers)

Have the class stand up. Inform the class that they are going to count
(one student at a time) in the target language. However, there will be
specific numbers that cannot say and must, instead, say "Caramba". The
teacher chooses those numbers. For instance,

a. all odd numbers

b. all numbers divisble by 5

c. all numbers divisble by 3 and containing a 3 . (Example: uno, dos ,
Caramaba, cuatro, cinco, Caramba, siete, ocho, Caramba, diez, once,
Caramba, Caramba, catorce, etc.

If a student falters, either, forgetting the number, or not saying
Caramba, he/she must sit down. Last student standing wins a prize. (In
honor of Dia de los Muertos, I give out Pez dispensers w/ a figure of a
skull on top).

2. Whiteboards

There have been a lot of postings on this list. Check the archives and
you will find hundreds of ideas on what are white boards and how to use
them. With Spanish I , I dictate license plate numbers (letters and
numbers) to review the alphabet and numbers. The class then holds up
their white boards and I spot check for errors. I also like to have the
students draw on their white boards. For instance, I state the adjective
of emotion ( "Sorprendido, triste, contento, etc.) and they must draw
the face. When I teach the use of accent marks, I will dictate the word
and they must write it correctly with the appropriate accent.

Just some ideas.

If you need more, let me know. Do you know how to play Typewriter?

Un saludo cordial de...

George Watson

12. Student newcasts.

95/08 From-> "Catherine Bass" <>
Subject: fun activity: the 8 o'clock news

I have used this activity quite a few times and it is a lot of fun. It
can be used for any language (i use it for French) and it can be a good
exercise to review a few things like: making comparisons, talking about
the weather, descriptions, question formation, past tenses etc..

The news/le Journal de 20 heures

Students are divided into groups. Each group will have to prepare a
segment of the news or a commercial.
You can have different groups doing different commercials.

* the weather group
Usually, I have one group work on something related to the weather: the
weather person who can give his weather forecast but who also talks
about some weird weather-related phenomenon. For instance, snow on the
French Riviera in August, or very high temperatures in
Chamonix--mountains--in December.

Then, you need a reporter who will be reporting live from the place
where the phenomenon occurred. And of course, he will interview people
who live over there, ask for their opinions, reactions, etc...

you can have the news anchorpeople (???) ask questions to a weather
specialist (i like to have her/him interviewed via satellite, just
because it is kind of fun to ask students to imitate this kind of
"interviewing situation" in a language other than their own.

* the special report groups:
they will report on a strange phenomenon other than weather-related. For
instance, I ask my students to create an animal by putting together the
names of 2 existing animals: the vermeau (ver+chameau) / the wormel
(worm + camel)

In their report, they will tell that the animal was discovered in some
remote village of France, where it first got noticed because of the big
bumps appearing everywhere.
A few villagers will be interviewed to tell about their first reactions
and to talk about the problems created by these animals (accidents due
to the big bumps on the roads, etc...) I had students who pretended they
had broken arms and legs because they fell while riding their bikes when
one of these huge bumps erupted from nowhere. And the way they
described the whole thing, as well as their attempts to express fear or
outrage, or to use the French equivalent of "it was dreadful/horrible,
etc.." was just hilarious! But they did wonderful jobs!

You can have an animal specialist who will explain things about the
"wormels" (do they live and move in groups, what do they eat, how long
do they live, are they dangerous, are they fast, do they hibernate,

I always have a few victims and people who took "pictures" of the
'beast' My college students love to draw too.
The drawings representing the wormels can be quite interesting!

* the commercials
usually I have 2 or 3 groups work on those, depending on the size of the
These groups will use existing products and make a commercial for them.
They can sing, dance, present a skit, etc.. I have had a group do a
commercial for umbrellas (dancing while singing: "I'm singing in the
rain" in French; another group did a commercial for toothbrushes on a
rap tune --only one of them knowing how to rap. The performance was all
the more hilarious because not only did they have to pay attention to
what they were singing but they also had to concentrate on the gestures,
steps etc..

Commercials for laundry detergent have been very successful too in my

* special report: new invention
The students of this group create an object in the same way we created
the "wormel"
(combine 2 words; we have had people inventing the "radiaclette"
(radiateur + bicyclette) /radiacle (radiator+ bicycle) The inventors can
explain how they work, why they are such wonderful 'machines'; you can
have people who have tested them and they will explain what they think
about the product--they don't have to like it-- You can have other
scientists or experts talk about the dangers of the product, etc..

* celebrity interview
I like to keep this "report" for the end of the news, students prepare a
short report on sports, or on a concert, etc... The students can
interview the sport celebrity who won a tennis tournament for instance,
and her/his opponent, people who came to watch the game, the parents of
the tennis player who, it goes without saying, may have a very distorted
view of what really happened--especially if their offspring lost-- The
tennis player can talk about her/his training schedule, future plans,
wedding plans, etc..

You can have all kinds of celebrities: Prince Charles and Lady Di have
been our guests (with the Queen); we have had Michael Jackson, Francois
Mitterand, Jean Marie Le Pen, French singers, Gerard Depardieu talking
about his life and his movies.

other ideas for possible groups (but I haven't tried them out yet)

a group reporting
on a robbery (French pastry store being robbed), with the detectives, a
possible culprit (American tourist crazy about French pastries), the
representative of the US consulate, the defense lawyer, the prosecutor,

a medical report: discovery of new medication that works wonders (for
instance a tablet that makes people talk faster--time is money--) then
you could have the person who discovered the new medication, people who
tried it and whose lives changed dramatically thanks to the discovery,
psychologists in favor or against it, doctors or speech therapists
giving their opinions, etc...

I like to ask my students to prepare for the videotaping within a very
specific time limit: 40 minutes. They are also given a time limit for
their performances, and are told that once the recording starts, we will
pretend it is live so we can't stop the recording at any point and
everybody has to be ready when their time comes. This has worked well
with my classes because under this kind of time pressure they really get
into it, don't waste time, and yet come up with some pretty creative and
crazy stuff.

the anchorpeople are in charge of organizing the sequence of reports.
They need to work with every group, decide the order of appearance of
each group, and make sure that they respect the time limits. They also
have to come up with questions to ask to the various reporters,
occasionally, and they need to announce every report and make a smooth
transition between each of those and the commercials.

The actual recording lasts about 15 minutes and then we always watch the
tape during the next class.

To make things easier, we usually decide on 2 or 3 sets:
- the set where the 2 anchorpersons will sit (add a table for
occasional guests)

- 2 sets that allow one group to be recorded while another
gets in place very quietly

I usually am the one behind the "camera" videotaping them. Basically,
all i need to do during the recording is from one set to the other.

I forgot to mention that having one news reporter for each group being
responsible for the group helps too.

et voila!

Good luck to those who try this one out!

Catherine Bass


95/08 From-> "Judi M. Forti" <>
Subject: Re: fun activity: the 8 o'clock news

I find that when students are producing videos it is very valuable to
offer them the option to prepare the video outside of class. On
presentation day the groups that choose this option come with the video
ready to show. They seem to put more effort into the finished product
and have a great time doing it. They have more time to revise their
production. In class they do the writing and planning for costumes, etc.
Class time is used more efficiently because the videos are ready to pop
in the machine. Some groups choose to act out their production and be
videotaped in class. The set up seems to eat up class time, but I don't
discourage them for choosing this route. Although kids in High School
initially dread the thought of being on video, the love watching
themselves in the end. As you say, they are much more enthusiastic about
videos the next time around.

Judi Forti


95/08 From-> "Marilyn V.J. Barrueta" <>
Subject: Re: fun activity: the 8 o'clock news

I do it both ways -- in and out of class. An advantage of out of class
is the variety of stage settings; a disadvantage (I have found) is that
in their eagerness they sometimes don't realize the limitations of the
usual camcorder -- one of which is the strength of the microphone. I
have had students bring in videos that they did outdoors, for example,
where the noise of the traffic virtually drowned out their speech. I
would suggest that such technical problems be pointed out before they
get started. After all, if you can't hear what they're saying for a FL



97/04 From-> Irene Moon <>
Subject: Student Newspapers in L2 (3 instruction pages)

Hola Listeros,
About 2 months ago I asked for some suggestions for having an advanced
class do a student newspaper for the underclassmen. I incorporated many of
your suggestions and what was neat, to me, was that it was a perfect way
for me to share some of the really neat cultural "stuff" that I've found
on the Listserv. I just printed it and asked them to turn into an article.

The students had one assignment that I chose for each based on ability,
one they worked on in a pair and one they chose themselves to work on
individually. I've included a list of topics, a chart (don't think lines came out)
and a rubric.

My kids loved doing this and the level 2's liked it, too. In fact, we have a bumper crop
going into Sp 3 next year. If you'd like a copy (I think it turned out about 8-10 pages)
send me a self addressed envelope and you'll have a sample for next year. See BELOW,

Irene Moon
Wadsworth Senior High School
Wadsworth, OH 44281
Nuestro Periodico Espanol

Below is a list of items to be researched and written for inclusion in
this singular edition. Since beginning and intermediate students will
receive the newspaper, all articles should be comprehensible for those
levels. Each article you write will be evaluated for content,
thoroughness of complying with the requirements and deadlines,
grammatical accuracy and creativity. In addition, each student /pair
will be evaluated regarding "on task" commitment.

These are the topics:
1. Horoscope1-2 sentences each zodiac symbol
2. Editorial (1 or 2) related to school issue
3. 2 Crossword Puzzles and/or word searches(related to Sp 2 and 3)
4. Movie Review of Evita
5. Several Classified ads (Personals, travel offers, garage sales)
6. Currency Converter (name at least 10 monetary units and give current
exchange values)
7. Weather in Spanish speaking countries (Argentina, Spain, Puerto
Rico, Columbia, Canary Islands, Bolivia etc...)
8. Things to do on Spring Break
9. Why Study a Foreign Language… see Sra. Luna's Homepage
10. The Legend of Tlaloc (Mexican God of Rain)
11. ProverbsÖdo a contest with the student who turns in the most
correct translations winning a prize)
12. Piropos (these are compliments to a girl… select from several and
13. Jokes &/or cartoons (Ck, w/ prfa., Hispanic or draw your own!)
14. Words we've borrowed from Arabic Languages
15. Easy Spanish Recipe that students can make at home
16. A poem or original poem
17. Bullfighting… description, top three matadores, length of season,
awards etc... either use research or article you rec'd earlier
18. An Advice Column (this could be done by asking Sp 2's and 3's to write
asking for advice or Sp 4's could invent the problem, situation and then
write the answer)
19. Write up about WHS Sports or 2-3 listings of Sports terms.
20. Wedding or Engagement announcement
21. A description of a well known student or teacher… but without divulging
who it is. Readers can guess for a prize.
22. A comic strip of 4-5 story blocks. This can be original or use
something from newspaper and supply Spanish in bubbles.
23. House for sale or Condo for rent, picture and description
24. Things to do during the month of February (see example)
25. Slang Expressions

Assignments and/ or choice selections.

Each student will have 3 articles for which he/she will be responsible,
as indicated below:

Name Assigned Ind. Choice Pr. Choice


Rubric and Evaluation:


Assigned Article:_________________________________
Pts. __________/20 (content & grammar)

Individual Article:________________________________
Pts. ___________/20 (content & grammar)

Paired Article/Activity:____________________________
Pts: ___________/15 each (content & grammar)

Pts:_____________/ (max 10 pts.)

Attention to Task in class:

Met all deadlines, requirements
Pts: ___________/15 pts

Special Commendation for___________________________
Pts: ___________/(optional, max. 10 pts)

Irene Moon

Total:___________________/ 100 pts.

13. Talking games.

96/02 From-> "JAMES E. BECKER" <>
Subject: Keep 'Em Talking in your classroom...

Keep "Em Talking... is a fun activity for any language and on any level
of instruction. Students need to be provided an opportunity to speak/to
use the target language in many ways. Keep 'Em Talking challenges the
student to speak the language while having fun doing so.

Objective: To speak the language without stopping for 30 seconds (1st
year). The student may not count, use any lists such as months, days of
the week, etc. They also may not use English nor pause for more than 5
seconds or they are "done".

Once all your students "pass" and accomplish this task, the next step of
to speak for one full minute. This becomes fun. Students on the lower
level(s), can say anything they like, just so it is in the target

In Second year, the challenge is to speak on a topic for one minute. In
Third year, they are not given any preparation time and in Fourth year,
they pull the topic out of a hat. Topics may include, the best gift I
ever received; something I really enjoy doing; ten things I did
yesterday on my way to school; the list is endless. You may also
incorporate various verb tenses such as the past, imperfect,
conditional, subjunctive as well.

There are many options and alternatives. Another is to have teams. To
start off with one half the class against the other half. Use a stop
watch. See if one team can speak for twenty minutes or better yet, don't
set a time and see what happens. I once had a first year student speak
French for twenty minutes without stopping. He was saying a wide variety
of things that were unrelated, but he WAS SPEAKING the language and he
was HAVING FUN! Try it and let me know what happens. Jim Becker e-mail:


96/03 From-> Stephanie Campbell <>
Subject: Another use for nerf or tennis balls in FL class

>>spend anywhere from 15 - 30 minutes doing "nerf vocab", where they
>>pick a partner and throw the ball back and forth to each other.

I borrowed a bunch of tennis balls from the PE department, and did the
following. I am trying to get my Spanish twos to be able to carry on a
conversation that involves more reaction to what the other person says
-- a sort of verbal volley, if you will. I had already introduced such
phrases as de veras? no me digas! que lastima, que interesante, que
coincidencia, yo tambien, etc. as well as question words such as por
que? con quien? etc.

Students put two desks together and treated a tennis ball kind of like a
"hot potato;" the speaker passed it to his/her interlocutor as soon as
he/she had finished speaking. The object was to keep the conversation
going for about two minutes until I had them switch partners. The ball
was a gimmick to keep the conversation from flagging. There sure was a
lot of talking going on, and they didn't really even have time to throw
the balls against the wall.

Stephanie Campbell


96/03 From-> roland a levy phys fac/staff <>
Subject: Re: Another nerf-like idea

Instead of a small bean-bag, I have used a "Koosh ball" in the class; it
comes in a great variety of colors (so you could have different color
combination for different languages).

I use it for any kind of "oral" quizzing - whether it is vocab.,
grammar, culture or personal-type questions. When it is related to a
specific new lesson, I also go back to the students who did not know the
answers. Kids love it - especially now that it is the softball/baseball
season. I teach in High school, so there is no age barrier. Bonne chance
- ca marche!!

Viviane Levy


96/04 From-> Sheryl Smith <>
Subject: Coosh-ball activity

>>4) am i the only teacher who has kids in the classroom, who if given any
>>ammunition--kooshballs included--will quickly launch or drill it at the nearest
>>"not so cool" kid or only send it to their friends, thus terrorizing or excluding
>>the majority of the class?

I use a coosh-ball for a combination stand-up drill, chain drill.
Everyone gets a turn and only once since when a student has participated
s/he sits down.

I only use it for practicing questions and answers with personalized
information. And usually the students are interested in hearing what the
others have to say in answer to the question. I rarely have a problem
with a student who tries to throw it like a missile to pelt someone. It
usually only happens near the beginning of the year and when/if it does,
I stop the activity with the ball immediately.

However, they must continue the drill till everyone has participated. My
students seem to think it is more fun to use the ball than to simply
>speak< to each other and I don't do this activity every day, so I often get requests to have the ball activity and the peer pressure keeps the potential >jerks< in line. By the way, I have used bean bags, yarn balls, nerf balls, and other soft balls. I find the coosh-ball to be the best because it is easily thrown and aimed but yet it really soft. The students like having something in their hands when they respond and they often pull at the little rubbery strings without destroying the ball

Sheryl Smith


96/04 From-> Verdoner Daisy <>
Subject: Re: Coosh-ball activity

A really wonderful activity that I picked up at a recent conference is to
use an inflatable beach ball. With a permanent marker, divide the ball
into many sections. In each section, write a sentence starter (in the
TL, of course). Throw the ball to a student, and he/she has to make a
complete sentence with the starter under his right thumb. ( or whatever
you decided you want it to be). As in some of the other games I've been
reading about, only one catch per student until everyone has gone or sat

suggested starters ( difficulty increases with higher levels) 1. On a
nice day, I .......
2. My friends and I always ......
3. I never .......

I have several balls for different units. They are about .99 per ball at
K.B. toy stores, or Toys R Us.

The kids seem to enjoy it and ask for it often.

Daisy Verdoner, Boulder, Colo.


96/04 From-> Diane Hershberger <>
Subject: Re: Coosh-ball activity -Reply

In response to the message following mine:

Why buy/store so many different balls?? My room has no more space! Why
not label one ball with numbers only. Put the numbers and corresponding
starters on the board or overhead for whatever unit you're doing at the

Just an idea... I might try it myself. I've done something similar with
modals, but never with the ball.

Diane Hershberger


96/10 From-> "Jose A. Sendra" <>
Subject: Re: looking for advice

I'm not sure whether this will help or not but, Why not teach students
to express likes and dislikes. Me gusta, no me gusta. Have students
write two of each, then compile a list of students likes and dislikes.
Once done, put into spanish and practice each expresssion by repeating
only one word, then the whole expression: me gusta _____ or no me

As far as technology goes, I suppose you could clarisworks slideshow
feature and show students your likes or dislikes with clipart and the
expressions on the screen. sort of like a business presentation but in
your classroom. Including as many "senses" could be your way of reaching
the special needs students. Ie. have flashcards and use the board. Have
students take notes, have students listen and then repeat. Model perfect
language. etc.

Hope this helps.



96/10 From-> John Young <>
Subject: Re: Expressing Opinions

Once I prepared a set of cards for each group of 4 or 5 students like

About 10 cards had a prompt statement ("Say what you think about body
piercing") These were yellow.

About 60 cards were prepared bearing directions such as:

Agree strongly with what was just said.
Disagree strongly with what was just said. Express mild support for what
was just said. Express mild disagreement with what was just said.
Support the original statement
Disagree with the original statement.
Introduce a different point of view (in this example, a professional
body piercer, an MD who has to treat an infection a rock band
promoter, a fashion model, etc.)
"Libre arbitre" (like an opinion wild card) "Sans opinion" (a pass card)
etc. (multiple copies of each direction) --The actual expressions, such
as those Erica Rosch suggested, would be great on the cards instead of
the rather clinical directions I have above. I'm going to try this again
using the expressions themselves.

Play proceeds as follows:

The yellow cards are laid out in the center of the group. White cards
are dealt out, 5 to each player (more or less, of course, depending on
time and your goals for this activity).

Player to dealer's left draws a yellow card and says what s/he thinks
about whatever it says on the yellow card, placing the yellow card face
up on the table. Play continues with each person responding as directed
on a white card s/he is holding. Having responded, place the card face
up in front of you. After play has moved around the group once players
can use their cards to respond to others' comments in any order, placing
the card face up on his/her own stack. If someone repeats what anyone
has said play stops and the next person draws a yellow card for another
round. Play moves on to the next yellow card if a second person plays
the "sans opinion" option. After the round is over, each player
replenishes his/her hand in turn before the next yellow card is read.
Each round starts with everyone holding 5 white cards.

The object is to play as many cards as possible: the one with the
biggest stack wins. You can set a time limit or predetermine the number
of rounds they'll go.

The directions are not set in stone, so modifications are encouraged.

Let me know how you modify this. I'd like to recycle it.



96/12 From-> Eileen Johnson <>
Subject: Re: Battleship Game

I am not sure if I play the game correctly but we do do something
similar to it and when I tell the students it works like battleship. I
don't need to explain much further. This is one game that I can use
early on...... and can be adapted to many levels.

list of 20-25 vocab Jeu I
J'aime.... (students choose
____l'ecole five)
____le professeur ______________
____la voiture ______________
____le cahier _____________
____l'argent _____________
etc _____________

With a partner they try to guess what the other student likes //what
they have written down:
All questions and answers are in French.........or they don't win.

Tu aimes _____________? Oui, j'aime _____________
Non, je n'aime pas__________

They mark + or - depending if they have guessed well.

When they have had 5 hits they win...they have guessed what the their
partner likes.

The second game usually goes much smoother and they are set for the
year.. It takes about 15-20 min. max. to play. I usually award those
small candy bars to the winner the 1st time around// and to all the

Good Luck......Eileen


96/12 From-> Dee Friel <>
Subject: Re: House

Here is one more idea for teaching about the house. Have students draw a
floor plan on posterboard and then add in the furniture pieces. This can
be done individually or as a group (depending on the detail you want).
Take one of the posters and place in the center of the floor. Have
students sit around it. Then use a doll or some kind of marker to move
from the outside(1), through the door (2), to enter (3) the house (4).
You've covered 4 vocab words. Now move the doll into a room. Ask the
students what activities go on in this room. For example, in the
kitchen: eat, prepare food, drink, clean, sweep (the floor), etc. List
the vocab on the board. Have a student make up a sentence (in present
tense) using one of the vocab words. Ask another student to use the same
sentence, but talk about it as though it were yesterday (past tense),
and select another student to talk about it happening tomorrow (future).
If the class is too large to sit around one poster, this can be done as
small group work. Another way is to merely choose a room and select a
student to perform (like charades) an activity done in this room. Other
students must guess the activity. Select someone to make up a sentence
using this vocab word and the name of the student who performed the

Dee Friel


96/12 From-> Helga Hilson <hilsonh@EDMONDS.WEDNET.EDU>
Subject: Re: House

Hi - don't know all that was offered re: house here but I do a very
extensive unit that involves dividing the class into families (in the
beginning of the year), including picking professions, family members
etc., then we start learning about past tense (in German),we learn about
chores and everyday activities and start keeping journals (both these
parts were inspired by the booklet "German for the learner centered
classroom" put out by OSPI Washington several years ago). They also
learn all the vocab of a house and its furniture and then built a house
(one per each family) out of cardboard and furnish it for their semester
project. Then they have to take me around their house and (randomly)
take turns explaining were what is and especially about their room.
Included are also chores they need to do. We work about 6-8 weeks on
this in total. They really love it - it's hands on and relevant to their
daily lifes. Helga

Helga Hilson


97/01 From->  Pete Jones <>
Subject: Mon ami imaginaire and classbuilding

I hope that you will enjoy this class building activity which is called
"Mon Ami Imaginaire". My wife, Barbara, who also teaches French, learned
about this one on a course many years ago, but where it comes from and
who invented it, we do not know. So we give credit to that person.

I hope that you and your students will find this a fun one to "play"
with. Our students do.

This is a somewhat long description, so you may wish to print it out.
Please let me know how it worked for you in the language classroom. The
example is in French which is the subject I teach but it can be adapted
to any language.

To begin the activity, I usually model what I expect the students to do.

I will stand at the front of the class and put my arm around some fresh
air which is "Mon Ami Imaginaire". I will then introduce this friend in
French to the class by saying: " Je vous présente mon ami imaginaire.
Elle s'appelle Sophia. Elle a les yeux bruns et les cheveux noirs. Elle
habite en Italie et elle est actrice. Elle est très grande et elle
aime regarder les films au cinéma. Sa nourriture favorite est le
poulet rôti et elle adore le vin blanc."

I will then invite the students to give back to me the full description
of "Mon Ami Imaginaire".

Once this is done, I ask the students to create their own ami imaginaire
- they must include a name, real or fictional, and four or five details.
I ask them to practice inside their heads the description until they are
completely comfortable with it.

Now the fun part begins! Have the students stand up and relocate
themselves anywhere in the class. They have to find another student to
talk to and then present to that student the ami imaginaire which they
have just created. They must ensure that the student to whom they have
just presented their ami imaginaire can remember ALL the details. Once
done, the student to whom they have described their friend in turn
describes her/his ami imaginaire - again ensuring that all the details
are remembered.

Once this part of the activity is completed, have the students move
again - but this time they are ALL carrying around a totally new ami
imaginaire! - the very one their classmate just introduced them to. They
now have to present this new friend to a different classmate and vice

You can have the students rotate four or five times exchanging friends.

After the fourth or fifth rotation, stop the activity, seat the students
and ask student X for the name of the ORIGINAL ami imaginaire which
she/he created. Let's say that the name of that ami imaginaire was
Vincent. Ask who was the last person in the class to be introduced to
Vincent and have that student, in French, describe Vincent - it is
really neat to hear how close or far away the description of Vincent was
from the original by double checking the facts with the student who
first created Vincent.

I hope that this is an activity which your students will enjoy.
Everybody is up and speaking French and you can enjoy the activity as a
teacher by eavesdropping the exchanges. It certainly makes for a student
centred class.

If you have an uneven number of students - well, you can include
yourself in the activity by creating a new friend.

You can also have fun by having the students create a "magic box" into
which they can place four or five objects. They present their "magic
box" to classmates and receive a magic box in return which they then
present to other classmates just like "Mon Ami Imaginaire".



home page -


97/04 From-> Gini Pohlman <>
Subject: speaking activities

Remember last year about this time we shared the circumlocution
activities? I pulled them up from my files because I am teaching a 9
week conversation class. They were such fun and got the students really
involved. How about YOUR favorite speaking activity? I could use some
fresh ideas and would be glad to compile a list for all if you send
them to me ( however, I think the entire list
would like to see and experiment with any ideas.

My contribution: When I teach the directions right, left, turn, straight
ahead, stop, turn around etc. I divide the class into pairs. One person
from each pair leaves the room. The remaining students create a maze
with the desks, the more intricate the better. Then we blindfold our
partners. They are to take only ONE step for each direction given. And
we talk them through the maze. One follows the other so many people are
in the maze at one time. They have a real need to give explicit
directions and to use their new vocabulary. They seem to have a lot of
fun but are listening and speaking at the same time , no yawning during
this activity. Afterwards we switch, change the maze to a new
configuration and the other person goes through the maze.

Gini Pohlman


97/04 From->
Subject: Re: speaking activities


Thanks for the maze idea! This is reminiscent of John Rassias at
Dartmouth College. I'm going to share it with my colleagues on Monday.
One of my favorite speaking activities for practicing sustained narration
is something I do in Spanish III to V to review movie plots. I divide
the class into groups of four. Each group is to choose a film which all
four have seen ( either current or classic). Each member of the group is
then assigned a letter (A,B,C,D). When I say GO, student A must begin to
narrate the plot of the film. I allow one minute for this. I then say
"Student B" and that person must pick up the narration where student A
left off. Again, I allow one minute for narration. We do this until all
four members have narrated a segment of the film. After this practice is
completed, I send a group to the front of the room and ask them to
narrate the film without mentioning the names of any character or actor.
I use the same A=B-C-D format as we practiced previously. At the end of
the narration the class must guess the title of the film .

There are lots of variations to this exercise. To make it more
interesting and challenging, particularly in an honors class, I use the
same format as before except that I will change the combination of
letters (C,B.A,D for example) when the group narrates in front of the
class. In this way each student must narrate a different segment from
the one they practiced in their group. If they know this beforehand, it
puts the burden on them to listen carefully when they are in the
practice mode.

What I like about this activity is that involves everyone in listening
and speaking as well as brainstorming vocabulary as a group. In level V,
I insist that the narration be in the past.

I have found this activity to be particularly successful with seniors
fourth term. They love talking about movies they've seen.

George Watson


97/04  From -> Monica Dahlberg <dahlm@ETA.K12.MN.US>
Subject: Re: speaking activities

 The "Spy Game" is, by far, my students' favorite speaking activity.
Warning: it might take a while to explain.

The premise is that 7 strangers are stranded at the airport during a
snow storm. Two of them are police officers, two are spies, and the
other three are people who like to talk a lot. The object is for the two
spies to find each other before the police arrest them.

Each player draws a character card that is written in the TL. The police
card and the "chatterbox" card simply tell the player that that is who
they are. The spy cards are as follows:

CARD #1- You are a spy. You will say, "I often ski in the Alps". The
other spy will say, "There are three large trees in my garden". CARD #2-
You are a spy. You will say, "There are three large trees in my garden".
The other spy will say, "I often ski in the Alps".

In order to find each other, each spy must say the line in normal
conversation (it can't just be blurted out). Only one person at a time
may talk. The "chatterboxes" should try to change the subject as often
as they can. When one of the police suspects someone of being a spy,
they say "I arrest you". If they are correct, the game ends. If they are
wrong, the game continues until the other police officer makes a guess.
If the two spies both say their lines before they have been arrested,
the game is over and they win.

Hopefully the instructions are clear enough. I do this activity in both
my third and fourth years. If they do it well, it will take 15-20
minutes of conversation before the game is over. The first time they
play it, they may not be very good. My students beg for this game, and
they have gotten very good at developing characters. We have had some
very interesting ones. I now have the kids make up the spy cards, and
they do a better job than I do. We had to add a rule that you must look
at your card for one minute, because it became obvious that the people
studying their cards were the spies.

Monica Dahlberg


97/04 From-> Liudmila Kostiukevich <lvk@USM.MD>
Subject: Re: speaking activities

I teach classes of oral translation to postuniversity students. One of
the activities I like to use with a kind of retelling is presentation of
a story.

I give like two or three students (depending on the story) a copy of
some text of an English-speaking writer. They read it at home, write out
words, interesting expressions and phrases. Next class when they come
they write those finds on the blackboard and then present the story from
the part of one of the characters or even a person who does not act in
the text (like a neigbour or psychoanalyst of a character). Other
students translate their speeches. After presentation is over, I ask
some of the students who were not to prepare the text at home to present
the story on the spot from the position of some other character. This give
my students possibility not only to enrich their vocabulary, but to
develop spontaneous speech and comprehension skills. Hope this helps.

L. Kostiukevich


97/04 From-> Sandra Howard <>
Subject: oral activity

 This is a great activity because it requires no teacher prep and
students think it's fun! Put your students into even numbered groups &
have each group form inside & outside circles. Students face each other.
Teacher gives a topic & student in inside circle talks for 1 min (or
anytime teacher determines, less for beginning levels, longer for AP).
Then student in outside circle talks on same topic for same amount of
time. Then outside circle moves one person to the right & teacher gives
another topic & students talk for same amount of time. Move again etc.
When back to original partner, teacher repeats topic & students have 20
(30?) seconds to repeat what they remember their partner said about
given topic. (Amazingly they all manage to remember something their
partners said) Topics can be real general like movies, love, school,
French class, sports, vacation, parents, friends etc. or they could be
specific dealing with novels or themes studied in class. Groups of 8-10
work well, having 4-5 different topics. You can have two or three groups
of circles going at once depending on the size of your classes. It is
noisy, but fun. All teacher does is supply topics & keep time & enjoy
noise of students communicating in target language. The restricted time
allows kids to stay in foreign language. They don't feel overwhelmed &
there is rarely any language breakdown. Enjoy!

Sandra R. Howard


97/04 From-> Mary Young <>
Subject: Re: speaking activity/circumlocution

Ideas were requested for circumlocution activities.

Barbara Snyder has one she calls UFO (Unknown Foreign Objects). She cuts
out pictures--of anything--from magazines and glues them to 3x5 cards.
(These are not vocabulary words or things they should know how to say in
the L2.) She gives a set of cards to a team. Their job is to draw a card
in turn, describe the object pictured in the target language, until
someone can guess the word in English. The guesser gets the card. Play
continues around the group. The player with the most cards in the end

If you hate to have them use any English you can take it one more step,
although this means a lot of work for someone: Xerox the pictures and do
a couple of things with them.

(1) Cut them apart and have a second set of pictures face up on the
table and let them point to the picture being described. This does run
the risk of the description becoming "clue"-oriented (the one with two
hands and a cat) instead of function-oriented (It's used for cooking
meat outside).

(2) Another option is to compile the xeroxed copies onto a grid like a
full-page LOTO game, and run off copies for each student to mark as they
play. The grid could include the L2 term under the picture, too, so it
can become a vocabulary building activity.

(3) Run off one grid per team and play a variation of tic-tac-toe. If
you guess three in a row on the grid, you win.

(4) Still using one grid per team, you can make this a variation of GO
(Chinese board game), where if you can "bookend" my squares, you get all
the squares in between. ( a line of squares on the grid looks like this:

( 1 ) Me - Me - Me - Me - ( 2 ) ( 3 ) ( 4 )

If you guess (1) and (2), you can claim all the "Me's" in between,
ending up owning 6 in a row. It's pretty exasperating, but keeps the
game moving. You can't rest on your laurels. Go is designed for two
players, but it might work with 3 or 4 players, too. I've never tried

It would be fun to give them a bag of M&M's, have them sort out by
color, give each student all of one color to use as playing pieces. Then
when you bookend someone, you have a built-in prize.



97/04 From-> Mary Young <>
Subject: Re: Paris Unit

 >HI! Does anyone have any good ideas for hands on activities when
>teaching about Paris? I plan on doing a unit in the next couple of
>weeks. It seems everything I think of involves me doing all of the
>talking and thinking!! Please help! Thanks!

Hi, Susan--

Are we talking about French I? Can you turn your room into a
"geographically correct" map of Paris. Select 6 or 8 monuments or sites
touristiques around the city, have students in groups research them and
create a game or activity for that place. Then set up the
student-created games at the appropriate locations in the room. Have the
groups move from one site to the next, playing the game there. I used
this set-up and had one person from the previous group remain to explain
the game to the next group. I did all the games on that one, but in
other classes I've had kids make up the games.

The games had to give opportunities to speak French and be playable by 6
people. That was the only rule. Some cannibalized old board games and
made up questions in French, some invented new games with a variety of
props. You could require that the game include specific kinds of
information appropriate to the site.

My kids really enjoyed the variety of this activity.

Another thing I did once was to photocopy B/W pictures of places in
Paris and use them for card games in groups. In addition, they were
asked to write the little caption you find on the back of US postcards.
Another time I had them write a message home on the back telling about
what they were "seeing" on their visit to Paris. James May mentioned an
activity like this in September, but they were using real postcards he
had collected--what a great motivator!

Good luck.



97/04 From-> Sherry Borgren <>
Subject: Re: Paris Unit

I've done a unit on Paris in which student groups create maps on butcher
paper, including famous monuments, metro stops etc. and then present the
maps to the class in French (or English depending on the level) by
taking us on a "walking tour" of where we might go on a typical day.
I've also made butcher paper outline maps, with a few places marked (by
using the overhead projector) and then played games where students have
to run up to the board and add a monument, historical place, etc. in
approximately the right place. I've also made shower curtain maps (of
Paris and of France) with place cards made of cardboard that stick onto
the map with those velcro circles)

I've also had kids do a project assuming that their parents gave them a
whole lot of money for graduation because of their diligent perseverance
in French and that they were in Paris. Using all my travel guides, they
had to write me a letter describing their experiences. I've had
wonderful letters. They always stay in luxurious hotels, often the girls
find love on the Left Bank, the guys hang out in cafes. This project
encourages them to imagine being there. They use the pictures to put
themselves inthe location and describe walking down the street and
almost running into the man in the green outfit who is washing the
street. I had a girl this year who went into quite a lot of amazing
detail describing standing in front of the main entrance to Notre Dame
and her reaction to the creatures staring back at her. Oh, these letters
are usually in English though I require a few paragraphs in French.

I have a few more ideas too, but I just woke up, so I've got to have my
tea first!

>HI! Does anyone have any good ideas for hands on activities when teaching
>about Paris? I plan on doing a unit in the next couple of weeks. It seems everything
>I think of involves me doing all of the talking and thinking!! Please help! Thanks!


97/04 From-> Sandra Howard <>
Subject: Paris activities

Bonjour les colleagues,

I spend a couple weeks on Paris in my high school French 3 class, and
here are some of the activities I do.

1) Numbered Heads: this is a cooperative learning activity that works
with any type of reading material. It guarantees student participation.
After students have read an article I wrote about Paris (I used the
Amsco descriptions as a model), I put them in groups of 4, each person
has a number 1-4 in each group. I call out a question in French (the
reading is in French) such as what is Paris' nickname, how many
arrondissements are there, what is the jewel of gothic architecture,
what is the cradle of Paris, what is the main street of the Latin
quarter, where do you go to see impressionist paintings etc etc the st
consult in each group & they make sure that everyone in the group can
answer the question; then I say all number 3s raise your hands. Person 3
in each group raises hand and I call on one of them. I ask new question,
students consult, then I tell another number to raise their hands etc.
This is not a competition. Groups don't get points. But it assures that
teacher is not the only one working.

2) 4 corners: this is another cooperative learning exercise. Designate
each corner of the room to be a different place in Paris. You can pick 4
different museums, 4 different churches or 4 unrelated monuments. Tell
students to get up and go to the corner of the place they prefer to
visit. Once there they tell someone why they chose that place. Then
often leads to language break down in level 3, but I let it go because
I'm interested in teaching Paris here.

3) In the beginning of the unit I play Joe Dassin's Aux Champs Elysees &
distribute the lyrics. Then everyday when students are entering class, I
have it playing. Believe me, they learn it & sing along by the end!

4) Putting the monuments on the map. I move the overhead so it projects
onto my white board. I put on a transparency of Paris & draw the Seine &
the islands with a blue pen on the board. On 3x5 cards I have drawings
of several of famous places. A former student who is artistic drew them
for me. You could use photos pasted onto 3x5 cards or real post cards if
you have them. I tape the Eiffel tower onto the white board in the right
spot. Then I turn off the overhead (this is prepared before students
enter class) & students are given a 3x5 card each (I have small classes)
that they have to tape onto the white board. They may consult their map.
After all cards are up, I turn on the overhead & we all look to see how
closely our map matches the real one.

5) As a culminating activity students prepare a 2 person dialogue they
present to class (or if I'm pushed for time, they tape themselves & I
listen to tapes later). They pretend to be a Parisian & a tourist seated
at separate tables at a cafe. Tourist has map & looks puzzled. Parisian
leans over & starts conversation (not very culturally authentic, I know.
You could require the American to ask a question :-)) They talk, tourist
asks questions about how to get to some place etc. Parisian answers;
asks questions about tourist's interests etc. It ends with Parisian
offering to take American around. Their directions are to impress me
with their knowledge of Paris & its tourist attractions. I base the
grade on that, plus of course how they express themselves globally.

This year I'm going to do an activity I found on the net (I think it
came from AATF's winning internet exercise contest). Students have web
sites & must plan a week's visit, hotel, restaurants, transportation
from airport etc. I'm using it in lieu of dialogue & final test I
usually give.

If you would like the reading (& its exercises) I could send it to you
easily. I can just copy it into an email. So if you're interested, just
send me your email address.

Enjoy these activities. They work well for my students and me. Sandra

Sandra R. Howard


97/04 From-> Linda Thalman <>
Subject: Paris (& any City) Activities

The topic of city projects, titled Paris Activities, lends itself to a
whole host of ideas for teaching -- be it Paris, Istanbul, Madrid or

A few ideas I've used and wish I'd used:

1) Students research and prepare a 1,2, 3 (your limit) travel brochure
on the city.
Depending on the level it is useful to give the minimum "requirements":
x number of topics, words, graphics

2) Students research famous people from city X and write a biography. One
of many alternatives: they are the person and write about their life in
city X.

3) Students prepare a questionnaire about city X and do a survey (in the
target language), interviewing at least (x number) of students. This
works wonderfully with 9-12 year olds in my experience.

Example: for lower levels:

Where did you stay?
How long did you stay?
What did you visit?
What did you eat?
What did you drink?
What did you like most?

4) Students write a paragraph about City X and dictate it to a partner.
Then vice versa. (Here in France, dictation is standard practice ....
don't know if that is OK elsewhere).

5) Students write a paragraph about City X and put it on the board,
overhead or computer, but leave out every 7th word. The class works
together to find the missing words (and probably point out all the typos
and "bad" grammar at the same time!)

6) Maps & Directions -- if you can't get "real" maps, have students draw
maps and do your "usual" start at point X and get me to point Y -- this
is pair work, but the twist is, student A gives the directions from one
famous monument (Eiffel Tower to point B, say Republique) and student B
has to follow the directions and to "win", says where she/he ended up.
(put either a time limit or a number on how many lefts, rights, straight
aheads on this on you'll end up with chaos!)

I've more, but will stop here.

>From near Paris and having an exquisitely beautiful Spring,

Linda Thalman WebFrance International
Volterre-Fr English & French Language Resources


97/07 From-> Donna Moore <>
Subject: Thank you for all the ideas

I'm Donna Moore and I am a high school Spanish teacher. I have been
reading and enjoying all the discussions and ideas presented here on the
list. I just wanted to thank everyone for sharing experiences and lesson

I am the only foreign language person in the school and at times it
feels very lonely. I live in a rural area and don't have much
opportunity to use my expertise outside of the classroom. Now that I'm on
the list I feel energized and excited, kind of the same feeling that
happens when I attend a foreign language teachers conference or

One thing I do is to invite a Spanish speaking person to join my Level
III class for conversation. I am fortunate to have a volunteer (he is
from Mexico City originally) who comes to class a couple of times a
month. Sometimes the students have each written questions in advance to
help generate conversation. Sometimes they have all read a story or
article. There are many conversation starters. Holidays and customs are
very popular topics. I hope this will give someone a usable idea or two.
Thanks again.

Donna Moore


97/11 From-> Vicky Loney <>
Subject: Re: Black, Poison Box Help

Real quick:

1) You put some silly task in the box such as, "walk like a chicken from
the door to the file cabinet"

2) You ask students questions. If a student gets it right, you go on to
the next student. If a student gets it wrong, that student gets the box
(but may not open it) and you go on to the next student.

3) The game goes on in this manner with the box being passed along to
each student who answers your questions incorrectly. The student left
holding the box when time runs out, must open and do what is written on
the little slip.

Do not tell students how much time you are allotting for each round
because they will begin to incorporate stall tactics so that they are
not stuck with the box.

I've played this with high school and middle school students. They all
love it and ask for it whenever I mention that we will be playing a
review game.

Vicky Loney


97/11 From-> Claudette Moran <jcmoran@MA.ULTRANET.COM>
Subject: Re: Black, Poison Box Help

I got this idea off the list last May. My students loved it too.
However, I have the box pass from student to student as they answer a
question. (Or, I come around to them menacingly swaying the box in
front of them as they try to answer a question). The student answering
the question when my alarm rings (I bought a cooking timer from
Lechter's) is the one who picks a command from the box and performs it.
Instead of a "poison" box, I have various sizes and colors of question
marks all over a white box. They never know what is inside. Could be
"Beg the teacher for a piece of candy" or "Tonight, you have no written
homework", etc.! Of course, all slips in the box are in the TL. The
student has to read it aloud to the class then perform the action.

I have played several rounds varying the time on my timer. The kids love
this activity.

Claudette Moran


97/11 From-> Mary E Young <>
Subject: Re: Black, Poison Box Help

On Sun, 2 Nov 1997 19:12:27 -0800 Beverly Maass <>
>Could those of you who use the "black box" idea in your classes, please give
>a few suggestions as to what you have written on the slips of paper?
>I'm not very imaginative. Thanks.

Great idea, Beverly. Mine are at school (in my box), but I can remember
a few:

--Write your name in the air with your elbow.

--Make the noise of a barnyard animal.

--Sing a song in French

--Recite a poem/3-line dialog in French (based on what we have worked on)

--Hop to the door and back to your seat

--Name 5 French cities in 5 seconds

--Name 5 French foods in 5 seconds

--Name 5 Francophone countries in 5 seconds

That's all I can remember. I had students come up with ideas which I
then edited. I hope to see some good ones on the list.



97/11 From-> Jim Sullivan <>
Subject: black box "prizes"

I might get in trouble for this one - perhaps I got the idea off of this
list - but I think I thought of it myself. A very "popular" prize in my
classes has been to have the "winner" write his or her name on the chalk
board -holding the chalk in their mouth. Another was to walk to the
principal's office, say hello, and return, with both fingers in their
ears. The last time I played, the tension was really thick. Their
answers were also precise and carefully thought out. The "prizes" this
time were key chains from Spain, and a half dollar. The winners were
absolutely delighted. They couldn't believe their good fortune.

Adelante. Jim


97/11 From-> Susan Shelby <>
Subject: poison box explanation

The Boite de Poison was mine...once again, for the requests I'm getting,
here's an explanation:

To play:
get a box, paint it black with a skull and crossbones. Inside the box, you
put little strips of paper with "punishments" (See bottom for examples).
Set a timer (don't let the kids see how long it's set for) and START! Ask a
student a question, if they get it right, move to the next student. If
they get it wrong, they hold the box. Keep going around from student to
student. They pass the box from one wrong answer to the other, so you
only get to hold the box if you're wrong. When the timer goes off, they
open the box, take out a slip of paper, and do whatever it says!

I play this game at least once a week with all my classes...they beg me
to play it! I simply go around the room from one person to another. I
usually do it with something that moves quickly...numbers, letters of the
alphabet, conjugating verbs, clothing, etc. Something that doesn't take much
prompting from me. I have the kids raise their hands and take the "oath"
to play and play right. A few times you get the jerks who mess up on
purpose: the punishment is that they just don't play anymore. These
idiots WANT to do the punishment! Sometimes you get someone who just
won't do it, but they get so much peer pressure, they end up caving. I
make all my kids do it....shy and all. They kind of know when they walk
in my classroom that "anything goes"!

Some examples:
Sing La Marseillaise
Sing the Barney Song in French
Act out a goodbye scene in French between any two stuffed animals in the
Dance like Michael Jackson for the class Do ballet around the whole

Their absolute favorite........I let three people lose, then make them
all leave the classroom, arm in arm, skipping down the hall while singing
"We're off to see the wizard".

They really eat it up!

Susan Shelby


97/11 From-> George Beyer <>
Subject: Re: poison box explanation

Loved Susan Shelby's Poison Box idea. Am going to use it with 7th
graders tomorrow.

Am also going to change it: Each time a kid is correct, he/she must
throw it to me. I, then toss it back to same kid who then sends it to a
classmate. If the timer goes off while I have it, then I must dip into
the poison. Have found that the more stupid things I do, the more the
kids pay attention and the more they learn.

Thanks, Susan, for the idea.

Geo Beyer Bigfork, Montana


97/11 From-> Verdoner Daisy <>
Subject: Re: The Black Box

I just wanted to say that I tried "La Caja Negra" today in all my
levels, and the kids LOVED it.. They were all going to try to miss so
that they could get the box, but when it was their turn they would
forget to miss.. Anyway, we had a lot of fun with it.
I included some things as...go to the principal and say...
..ask the secretary for...
Every one in the school seems to be participating! Not to mention the
kids... Great review for vocabulary, verb forms, anything!

Thanks to the originator!!!!!


14. Teaching culture.

95/03-> From: Susan Navey-Davis
Subject: One More Activity That Works

Here's another "activity that works" well for me. I like it because it
has a cultural focus in addition to being communicative. It lends itself
to many variations.

I travel as often as I can and I collect postcards, other photos and a
great deal of realia. I use those items in my class in a variety of
activities related to the theme "Imaginary Voyages." The activities can
be written or oral, done individually or in groups, very basic or quite

The simplest form of the activity is to divide students into groups of
three or four. Give each group a stack of postcards/photos/realia (and a
map if possible) from an area of the target culture. Each group also
receives some written instructions about the task to be completed. Here
are some possibilities:

1. You are in Spain (etc) and are writing a letter to your dear Spanish
teacher who is in the US. Based on the items you have, write a letter
describing what you have done on your trip so far (focus on present
perfect tense or on preterit/imperfect, depending on how you prepare the
instructions). You must mention credible activities and reasonable
travel plans/itineraries for the country you are visiting.

2. One group member is a travel agent and the others are potential
travelers to the target country. Discuss (and/or write) a possible
itinerary for a trip to that country and activities to do while there.
Ask and answer questions about your likes and dislikes and then relate
them to the items about the target country to plan an enjoyable and
feasible itinerary.

3. Group members are told to look at the realia, etc. and discuss
possible places to visit and things to do on a trip. The assignment for
homework that night is for each individual to write something based on
the discussion/observation. It may be:

a. What he/she would like to do on a trip to the target country (focus
on the conditional tense).
b. Recommendations for a friend who plans to visit the country
(subjunctive/indicative moods).
c. What he/she would do if it were possible to make such a trip and
under what conditions he/she would or would not do certain activities
(using the conditional and past subjunctive in contrary-to- fact
d. What he/she will do in the future when and if the opportunity to
travel arises (focus on future tense and, in Spanish, subjunctive in
adverb clauses).

Brief class presentations can be given by members of the various groups.
They can even "compete" to see how many people they can convince to
visit the area they represent. A discussion of preferences and reasons
for those preferences can follow the presentations. The next quiz could
include personal questions or a short composition about travel
preferences, wishes and/or recommendations.

As you can see, the variations are numerous. My intent is to stimulate
interest in the target culture while encouraging students to
communicate. I have had success with this at all levels and have seen
students learn more about metros, museum hours, the different types of
accommodations and restaurants than they would ever remember if I simply
told them about such things. Examining the realia and photos is, in my
opinion, a valid activity in itself, but combining it with communication
makes it an even more productive part of my class.

Buen viaje / Bon voyage!

Susan Navey-Davis


95/09 From -> Madeline Bishop <>
Subject: another activity that works/any language (I think)

Here are two activities for beginning classes that work well together the
first week or so of school in any language. Together they enable you to
start the students toward a good pronunciation and to motivate them
through creative imaging. The first involves training them in the
pronunciation of some essentials and testing the pronunciation; the
second activity involves class collaboration to identify contributions
of the French to our world.

The oral test is a pronunciation test. It's a half-sheet of paper with
the alphabet, numbers to 10, basic greetings, days of the week, and for
French "le, la, li, lo, lu" to practice vowel sounds. We go over this
each day (10 minutes) for about 7 days, and they practice with partners,
too. Naturally, we do all the other things you do at the beginning (TPR
and organizational stuff.)

Three days before you need a "quiet day" for testing, give this
assignment (it's motivational): Write on a piece of paper, 10 facts you
know about the French culture. It could be in the area of food, sports,
history, art, geography, etc. Collect those lists two days before your
testing day. On the day before testing, hand out a legal size piece of
paper (the same shape as your blackboard) and have kids reproduce a
"Mindmap" which you will construct together on the blackboard. Take the
whole period to do this. I put the word France in the center of the
board, then put categories around the word France, then the kids suggest
specific facts they remember from their lists. Draw lines from the
general category to the specific facts. Example: France to food to cheese
to brie, or France to art to impressionism to Monet. I circle each item
so the whole board will look like circles connected to circles.
(Apologies to those of you who already know mindmapping.)

The next day in class, while I am testing/and correcting the
pronunciation of each individual student, the rest have to sit quietly
and write an imaginary diary about their first trip to France, including
as many specific facts as they can which reflect what their own
interests. This helps them focus on how much fun it would be to go the
country and to imagine themselves there. I give them a few names of
hotels so they can write "Today I woke up in the Hotel des Nations and I
realized I am finally in France!..." I make them write in pen, as they
would have to in France. (The quality of their writing in English helps
me evaluate who might have trouble with French spelling, who is
particularly creative, etc.) Sometimes these read like romance novels...
quite entertaining (or shocking!)

A note about testing a big class in one day: I am not the only tester. I
train a student in the class (le technician) to operate a tape recorder
(outside in the hall) to record 1/2 of the class. Next time I'll switch
and work personally with those students who had the tape recorder test.

Madeline Bishop


96/08 From-> Beverly Maass <>
Subject: Spanish jeopardy

Here is a game idea that was very successful with my L3 last year.
Several years ago I purchased a game called Spanish Cultural Trivia,
which included a game board and two boxes with hundreds of Spanish
cultural trivia questions about food, geography, etc. One box contained
cards with the questions in Spanish and the other was in English. Next I
had a student make a large Spanish Jeopardy board for me, similar to the
one on TV with varying money amounts. I picked out about half of the
cards from each category and had a student type the questions and
answers by categories so that I have a list of questions and answers
from food, geography, history, etc. I ran off copies of the questions
and answers for the L3 and passed them out ahead of time. The students
were divided into teams, the teams studied the info (out of class) and
several days later we played Spanish Jeopardy. As we played each round,
I would place cards behind the money amounts, with simple questions in
the $100 and harder questions for more money. They had a great time and
learned quite a bit about Spanish culture. I have since placed the
questions on the computer both in Spanish and English so that I can add
or delete any questions. The original game of Spanish Cultural Trivia
was bought from Teacher's Discovery.



97/06 From->         Irene Moon <>
Subject:      Immersion Jewelry Activity

This is an idea that Nilsa Sotomayer of FLTEACH, gave me and I did it in
my classroom, but she does it as an immersion activity.

She is getting ready to move to Columbia, S.A. and is very busy, but I'm
sure she wouldn't mind if I shared with you.

She sent me a packet of typical Taino Indian designs (from Puerto Rico).
Kids selected one to duplicate. I bought FIMO clay (available at Wall
Mart or craft stores like Pat Catan's or Michael's). These blocks of clay are
about 4" sq. Divide them in quarters and give each kid a piece about 1"

He/she kneads it until soft (you can also buy a softening agent, but really
not necessary. They shape it into a circle, triangle, whatever strikes
their fancy. By lightly pressing the paper onto the clay, the design
transfers...or they can use plastic tools (also available in same section
of craft store) to trace the design. Even meat or fruit skewers work fine
for this. The plastic tools cost $2. for 8.

The design must be embed deep so it shows up. Use a straw to punch a hole
in top of close to edge as possible, but without weakening the
piece of jewelry. This hole needs to accommodate a small jewelry ring,
available in either brass or stainless steel. (available in bags of 2
pieces for $2.)

You can purchase these little rings, key chain rings and satin cord, suede
cord etc. in the jewelry section of the craft store. A whole bag of key ring
circles (48 pieces I think) costs about $2.60.

At this point, after drying a short while, kids can attach a cord and wear
the pendant or attach a ring and they've got a key chain. I did one more
step than Nilsa. For $5 I bought a quick drying glaze. Coated front and
back twice, allowing to dry overnight. I thought they made them look very
nice and they also strengthened them. The glaze did 60 pieces. We were all
very impressed with the final product!

If you are interested, I can send you a set of the designs. Let me know.

Another activity my students liked at Valentine's day was making Papel
Picado banners. If you're interested in this, I can send you info on where
to order. It contains all different seasonal, cultural designs.

Irene Moon


97/06 From->         Irene Moon <>
Subject:      Re: Immersion Jewlery Activity

Pat Poquette says that the Taino Indian designs are in Teachers'
Companion. I didn't see them, but may have missed them, although we
subscribe. What i wanted to mention is that with the FIMO Clay you don't
have to fire in a kiln. That's what is nice. Everything is very self
contained and doable (except for glazing) in 30 mins more or less.

Nilsa suggested keeping the clay colors in "natural" colors like tans,
greens, coppers etc. That's what I went with, but I did buy some magenta,
blue, rose, peach clay and wound up taking them back. The kids all went
for the neutrals.

The Taino Indian designs I have include butterfly, mummy, bat, angel,
coqui (frog), bee...there are about 12-13. Nilsa sent me an entire book,
but said it was hard for her kids to decide so I narrowed the choice and
duplicated all and then let kids decide. The designs are very stylized
with curving lines etc.

I just checked the issues of last year's Sp Teachers' Companion and I've
got them all except for April and May.. I didn't see the designs, but if I
find the other issues, and they're in those, I'll copy for those who've
requested the others I mentioned.

Irene Moon


97/08 From->
Subject: Re: Need suggestions for "Concursos"

This is great idea that can be used at any level. Some "lists" which
come to mind are:

1. Latin baseball players and the position they play (en espanol)
2. members of the EC and their capital
3. words in Spanish derived form Arabic

4. New World foods "discovered" by the Spanish conquistadors
5. Hispanic place names in your state
6. famous Hispanics of Hollywood

7. Spanish words used in the names of American cars (ex. Tiburon)
8. animals of the Central American rain forest
9. Spanish words spoken by Speedy Gonzalez in his cartoons

10. feminine nouns which require the masculine definite article
11. tropical fruits found in Latin America
12. Spanish-speaking countries whose flag contains the color blue

13. titles of current telenovelas shown on Univision
14. soccer teams of Spain
15. the most widely spoken languages of the world

16. songs recorded in Spanish by Glora Estefan
17. boys names which begin with "J"
18. girls names which contain "Mari"

19. ajectives used with estar to express an emotional state
20. adjectives used with ser to express a personality type
21. adjectives used with ser to express a physical defect or deformity

22. transitive verbs which would require the "a personal" (ex. llamar,
ver, besar, etc.)
23. islands of the Caribbean
24. a science one could major in

25. islands which belong to Spain

For prizes I might give:

1. a Guatemalan belt (which I buy for $2. each in Costa Rica)
2. an onyx paperweight ($.99 each at a local outlet store)
3. a small box of turron (turrone italiano)
4. a handpainted Mexican bark bookmark

Just some thoughts. Thanks for the inspiration!

George Watson

15. Time expressions.

95/09 From -> Laura <>
Subject: Activity: Teaching Relative Time Vocab.

I'm sure this will work will all languages. I've tried it with Japanese
and it has really put students in charge of their own
learning--developed their skills at hypothesizing and seeing patterns
and relationships between vocabulary.


| Mahalo and Aloha! |
Laura Kimoto University of Hawaii at Hilo

Activity: Jigsaw Puzzle Size: individual or pairs

Objective: to Introduce vocabulary for relative time, by having students
look for patterns in vocabulary formation.

Language: two years ago, last year, this year, next year, two years from
now, every year...(same for months, weeks, days), plus two mornings /
evenings ago, yesterday morning... (teachers can adjust the amount of

(optional) teach students to recognize or say phrases such as top row,
second column from the left, etc. to indicate where they think words
belong on the grid.

Materials: a grid drawn on 8.5 x 11 paper, vocabulary written in each
square or rectangle. Make copies for each student, then cut up the grid.
Squares that are given to students should not be in order.

Procedures: Beforehand, teacher should mark on the 'answer sheet'
squares that she will give to students as hints. She should choose one
square per column and row. So, if there are 36 words being presented 6
rows by 6 columns, then the teacher should choose 6 words.

Visual example,
X is what teacher will provide location of to students before hand.







Then, add one more hint. I tend to give another word in the 'every'
column since those are easiest to figure out in Japanese. The figure
above shows the 7th hint in the rightmost column.

Now, give students their pieces to their puzzle. Have them order the
"every year, every month..." column first. After they have that done,
they should be able to place the other pieces in the correct place.
Students are usually able to see patterns emerging, and because
exceptions to the rule stick out, they remember those quite well.

I usually assign the rest of the grid to be done at home, but I've had a
hard time getting students to stop in between their thinking processes
to put things away! The next day, students would come in with their
pieces glued on a piece of paper. I could do a quick check. Students by
then know what each word means. To reinforce this new vocabulary, I'd do
the large group activity "When did you read War and Peace?" as described
in another message.

Another option: I use this same procedure to teach the Chinese
characters of these vocabulary words. I use a grid with the Chinese
characters of vocab written in. Give 7 hints. Students can draw
connections and see how Kanji can be used as affixes.


97/10From-> Rosie Wendt
Subject: Re: days of the week

>I will begin teaching the days of the week and the months of the year to my
>8th grade Spanish 1 students soon. Do any of you have any creative ideas for
>this? My mind seems to be blocking all creative thoughts for the time


I play a game that I've dubbed YA for lack of anything better to call it.
It works with anything in a sequence--days of the week, numbers, months,
and especially vocabulary pictures on the board or overhead. Have all
students stand. Each student must say 1, 2, or 3 items in the correct
order and with correct pronunciation. If he/she either doesn't know the
word or mispronounces it, he/she must sit down. After going around the
class once or twice, I usually up the ante, and students must say 2 and
then 3 consecutive words. If lots of students miss a particular word,
and the subsequent student doesn't know what word should be next, he/she
sits down also. (The exceptions to this rule are my deaf students who
can't follow as well; I'll tell them in English what word comes next.)
For a series with a definite ending point--days, months, numbers--I
often arbitrarily say whomever gets stuck with domingo, diciembre,
quince, or whatever automatically goes down. It makes it interesting
when there are only a few students left to see the strategy they use so
as not to get stuck with Sunday. To the chagrin of many people on this
list, I usually give the last one (or few if it's the end of the period)
a few extra credit points for staying up so long. Teaching middle school
students gives me a chance to use extra credit much more than when I
taught at the high school level where I never used it. If these
directions don't make sense, let me know, and I'll try to explain it
differently. Hope this helps.

Rosie Wendt


97/10 From->
Subject: Re: days of the week

I wrote a rhyme that works well with my elementary students. Perhaps you
can use it.

lunes - primer dia de escuela
martes - pinto acuarela
miercoles - salto la cuerda
jueves - toco la corneta
viernes - clase terminada
sabado - trabajo en casa
domingo - juego con amigos!

I teach this with motions and pictures. It also helps me introduce
verbal expressions which impacts positively later.

Deby Doloff

16. Weddings.

95/04 From-> Bob Hall <>
Subject: Re: Activities That 'Work'

How about a 'treasure hunt'? I've used this with many of my former
junior high school students and this year did it as a Spanish Club
activity. Ahead of time I scout the area that I plan on using for the
activity, the school building in the most recent use, to find places
where I can hide clues. I assemble the participants in one place and
hand them their 1st clue, totally done in the L2. In their first clue
will be L2 hints directing them to their next clue, which I have placed
around the building. Generally, I try to use teams of 4 so that I don't
end up spending 'zillions' of hours typing their clues. (I try to make
the hunt so that no two teams will be in the same place at the same
time). Anyway the teams follow the directions on their first clue to get
to the second clue and so on. I think we allotted the teams 45 minutes to
complete a 5 or 6 clue treasure hunt. The response from the students who
participated was very positive. The most recent one was a story line
that I developed about an avaricious king who hid an enormous treasure
in our school. To try to inspire the imagination of the students I put
all kinds of unusual happenings in, such as the appearance of monsters,
lurking and treacherous people who could impede the successful
completion of the hunt. This was a good reading, comprehension,
cooperative exercise. The winning team was rewarded with some really
neat 'roller ball' pens.

Bob Hall


95/08 From-> Jeffrey Stein <>
Subject: fun activities: le mariage

Each year, my French 2 students (after having studied family members,
dating & relationships, etc.) plan & put on a French civil wedding. It
usually takes 3 days of practicing the lines and movements. I ask the
students to dress up and some of them take it to extremes: This past
June, one "bride" wore her aunt's wedding gown. Mom came to take
pictures and got very emotional. Not bad PR!!

I always begin with "le ban de mariage" which is filled out by
volunteers and is posted on the outside of the door in advance of the
wedding. (Students always stop in the hall and look to see who is
getting married.):


Il y a PROJET de MARIAGE entre:

(Nom de famille, prenoms)

domicilie ____________________________________________
(en ville, rue, No)

ET ________________________________________________
(Nom de famille, prenoms)

domiciliee ___________________________________________
(en ville, rue, No)

Les personnes qui connaitraient quelque empechement a ce mariage sont
obligees en conscience, de nous en avertir.

Mariage a ISMS le 11 mai 1994 a 12h30

Because I left the text of the wedding locked in my classroom for the
summer, I will try to recite it here from memory:

Mayor: Mesdames, messieurs, nous y sommes pour joindre cet homme et
cette dame dans cette ceremonie de mariage. ___, est-ce que tu prends
____ pour mari?

Bride: Oui, je le prends.

Mayor: ___, est-ce que tu prends ____ pour femme?

Groom: Oui, je la prends.

Mayor: Les bagues, SVP. (Pause) Je vous prononce mari et femme unis
jusqua'ce que la mort vous separe. Tu puis embrasser ta femme. (The kiss
is faked!)
In addition, comments are made from the audience such as:

Maman: Oh cheri, notre bebe n'est plus bebe. Papa: Oui cherie, c'est
tres special.

G-ma: Quand est-ce qu'il y aura des enfants??

etc., etc.

The whole thing is video-taped and shown later in class. The ceremony
usually lasts about 5-10 minutes and is followed by a "reception"

The rule is that anyone who does not have a spoken part at the ceremony
must present a toast or make a SHORT speech at the reception.

Typically I invite parents, administration, and other language classes
to the ceremony. The kids get very nervous (they take the whole thing
very seriously) but really enjoy being "on stage" as well as seeing
themselves in the video.

Jeffrey Stein


97/10 From-> Irene Moon <>
Subject: Activity for Cristina's Wedding Article

Thanks, Aurora and others, who posted the El Pais article about
Cristina's marriage.

I created a transparency using the images from the article and did a 1
page reading comprehension activity for level 2. In addition, I thought
Advanced level kids could do that page and we'd discuss in Spanish in
Class, plus they will do a second page (as HW) which asks them to look
at the words/ charge of Monsenor Carlos regarding the couple's
responsibilities to Spain. I also will ask them to predict what some of
Spain's future problems might be based upon this charge.

Hope this may be of use to you.
Irene Moon

Activity follows:

Page 1:

La Boda Real: Cristina dice 'Sí'
el 5 de octubre de 1997

1. Who did the Princess of Spain marry?
2. Where were they married?__________________________________________
3. How many guest attended?____________
4. At what time did Cristina say her vows?_________When did the ceremony
5. Was the wedding televised?___________
6. What kind of a day did she have for her wedding? (use exact words)
7. In what kind of car did Cristina arrive at the church?____________
8. What were the bride's colors?__________________Who chose the music
for their special day?_________
9. Representatives from _______ European royal families attended the
wedding. Can you name some?

10. Describe Cristinaís dress. (english & spanish)

11. Who kissed whom? How often?

12. Who officiated and what languages were used during the ceremony?

13. Monseñor Carlos praised the young couple? Why? What had they
recently done?

14. Find 7-10 examples of the preterite tense; list in Spanish &

Page 2:

15. La homilía, dirigida a los novios, fue emotiva y llena de
reconocimiento para la Corona.Y a la vez, con mucho contenido social:
habló de la pobreza ante de los mas ricos del mundo……… página 3 de 4

Translate the above statement from the El Pais:

16. The Monsenor who conducted the wedding service of Cristina y Iñaki
spoke to them of their royal responsibilities, their duty to Spain.
Translate the appropriate phrases.

17. From his admonition to the royal couple, what problems might Spain
be anticipating?

Back to Activities That Work Table of Contents


Return to  [FLTEACH Main Page]


W3 page maintained by address & address
Copyright © 1998 Jean W. LeLoup & Robert Ponterio