Activities That Work /
G. For the Teachers

Synopsis prepared by Lee Risley

Back to Table of Contents:
G. For the Teachers.
1. Blocks/Algebraic rods.
2. Bulletin boards.
3. Card games in FL.
4. Constructing activities from a contemporary book. (Example)
5. Game rules.
6. Integration of activities.
7. Learning centers.
8. Pictures (How to, what to, etc.).
9. Postcards.
10. Pro & Con of game-playing.
11. Resources.
12. Review for tests.
13. Slow but nice students.
14. Types (Lists) of activities. (Lots of ideas here!)
15. World Wide Web / Internet
16. Miscellaneous.

12. Review for tests.

97/03 From->
Subject: Re: Game techniques for classroom exercises

A game all my students enjoy is what they call the "Cesta Game". You
need a trash can and a tennis ball. I divide the class into two teams,
and alternate asking for a translation of vocab, or have the students
answer a question in Spanish. If they answer correctly they throw the
tennis ball into the trash can from a designated spot., and earn a point
for their team.
Only 1 person is allowed to answer and if that person on team 1 cannot
answer then I ask a person on team 2, back and forth, student by

This is a wonderful game to use during review for tests, and inevitably
the question that no one can answer during this game is the one they
remember the most for their tests.

Laura Long


97/03 From-> Clifton <>
Subject: Re: Need Ideas for Returning to Work

One fun review activity is the "Carrousel" (idea from Dr. Richard Beaton
of Griffin, GA). This exercise enables all students to participate,
contribute and help.

Arrange 5 posters around your classroom. Label each one with one topic,
broad (Verbs) or narrow (Reflexive Verbs), as you desire. At least three
of these topics should be directed toward topics you want them to
review, one or two will be for fun (Summer / Atlanta Braves / True Love,

Divide your class into 5 groups and assign them to a poster. Each group
should have a different color marker for their "scribe". The scribe will
write down what the group dictates (encourage them to whisper) about
their topic. They may write "rules", sentences as examples, lists,
whatever. Encourage them to keep responses in L2. No one may begin
writing until you give the signal to begin. I play music, along the idea
of musical chairs. Decide ahead of time how much time you want them to
have . . . 1 to 1 1/2 min. works well. When the music ends they move
quickly to the next poster, keeping the same marker but changing the
scribe, if they wish. Again, at the signal, they begin writing.

After all groups have visited all posters, students turn in their
markers and return to their seats. Review begins then! You may conduct
the review or have someone from each group take one poster and explain
it. Of course, the "first" group has contributed much more to the
posters than the last groups. This is a fun way to review . . . and a
great way for students to learn from each other and laugh together.

If you get particularly good posters from this exercise you could have
them laminated for use again. Mine, however, are usually pretty messy
since the students race against the clock.

Jennie Clifton


97/04 From-> Susan <>
Subject: Connect the squares - game from Mexico

This is a game that can review almost anything i.e., vocab, spelling, fill
in the sentence, use the correct verb, review of a reading. The themes
are limitless depending on your class and what is being studied.

Each student or team is given a sheet of paper. On this paper there are
numbers from 1 to say . These numbers are all over the paper in random
order. Some are circled. The object of this game is for students to make
squares. To do this, students pick a number and if answered correctly
they circle it. Once two numbers in a row are circled, they can draw a
line between the two. Each group is aiming to make a square. When this
square is done, the group puts their name in it.

Each student or group is given a list of questions that will be
answered. The number for each question corresponds to the number on the
game board. You can also have this list on the board or on an overhead
to save paper.

If you do not follow these instructions please email me privately at



97/11 From-> "Marilyn V.J. Barrueta" <>
Subject: Re: Any good review games?

Lauren -- Have you thought of asking your students to come up with
games? You could have individuals, pairs, or small groups draw a topic
you want reviewed, then be responsible for working out a game that
addresses it. I think sometimes we think everything is incumbent upon us
to provide -- and the kids have a lot of creativity we don't always tap
into. Besides, the best way to learn is to....


13. Slow but nice students.

97/10 From-> Ron Takalo <>
Subject: Re: Help!! Activities for "slow but nice" Spanish students

Dear Coqui:

One activity that was fun for me was the following -

Prepared ahead of time - need a tape recorder, Spanish music (your
choice - for this group, maybe something by Selena or Jon Secada, etc.)

Procedure: think of as many relatively easy questions they can answer
(e.g., como estas, que dia es hoy, etc.). Have one question for everyone
in class, although it is O.K. to repeat a question. THEN, play some
music in the background, then interrupt the music by calling a student's
name and asking a question as noted above (remember, you are tape
recording this). Say the answer to yourself twice, then say LO SIENTO
which signals that the student took too long to answer the question. It
makes them think quickly. Then resume the music for a short time, then
interrupt with another name and question, until all have had a chance.
You can give them extra credit for answering, or a prize, or just do it
for the fun of it.

Feel free to write to me if I didn't explain this clearly. If you like
this activity, I have several others I use to use in junior high and
high school when I taught at that level.

Ron Takalo


97/10 From-> Cherice Montgomery <>
Subject: Slow but nice

>I have a class of 11 boys (juniors and seniors) and 1 girl in my last
>class of the day. They are a wonderful bunch of students with great
>personalities but with very little grasp of the Spanish language. It
>is a third year class which meets every other day for a year for one
>half credit. We are boring ourselves silly with verbs and vocabulary
>from a book that I was instructed to use. I need fun (not extremely
>academic) activities that I can share with them to enthuse without
>making Spanish difficult


Try illustrated children's books (picture books). I have been using them
with GREAT success at both lower and upper levels. You can sneak in so
much grammar and vocabulary through them (and through the pre/post
reading activities you use). As their language ability grows, you can
increase the sophistication of the books/stories. Fables and proverbs
can be fun too, as can fairy tales.

Pen pals? Let them each draw the name of a secret pal and correspond,
bring treats, whatever. I use a posterboard with library pockets for
mailboxes. They are responsible for a certain number of letters per

Community service projects--teaching basic concepts and culture to
elementary students, reading poetry to Spanish-speaking rest home or
community center at Valentine's Day, singing Christmas carols in Spanish
at resthomes and hospitals, etc.

Learning centers jazz up even the most boring of lessons. Break up the
material and try to approach it using a different sense or skill--if
reading is the goal, then instead of having them write answers to
questions, have them illustrate scenes to demonstrate comprehension, for

If you have specific topics you intend/need to cover, contact me
off-list and I'll be happy to address them.

Cherice Montgomery


97/10 From-> Ron Takalo <>
Subject: Re: Students who have difficulty in writing

Anyway, one good way is to make it a game. Send several students to the
board, seated in a chair with chalk (or marker, etc.) You say a word,
and the first person who stands up, spells the word, and sits down first
gets a point. After two or three points (which they note on the board:
III) they get to return to their own chair and pick the next

I find that making a game out of it takes the drudgery out of it, and
adds friendly competition.

Ron Takalo

14. Types (Lists) of activities. (Lots of ideas here!)

95/03 From-> Joyce L Szewczynski <>
Subject: Re: Suggestions anyone?

These are FUN activities. I've done some of these when I've taught ESL
here to a group of high school students from Spain.

1. A scavenger hunt. Pick what you want the students to hunt for so that
is requires they speak to people.
2. A task. Have them find out (by going to a telefonica) when is the
cheapest time to call home.
3. Go to a book store and have them find out how much it will cost to
send 3 books home.
4. Call airlines and get info about flights to X.
5. Prepared with a recipe, have students go shopping for the ingredients.
6. Have students "ease drop" on people waiting in line and report back
on what they heard, understood, didn't understand, etc.
7. How about getting them permission to sit in on secondary school
classes (if school is in session).

Joyce L Szewczynski


95/03 From-> Bob Hall <>
Subject: Re: Off-campus info search

How about some sort of scavenger hunt?
Preparing some sort of interview that the student must complete with (x)
number of Spaniards. To verify the veracity of the 'report back' the
interviewee could be asked to sign off as having participated in the
Having the students design a 'hypothetical' dinner party in a Spanish
restaurant. To complete the task they would have to visit one/many local
restaurants to inquire about arrangements, costs, etc. Naturally, there
would have to be some 'report back'.
Have these students do a short 'survey' of the musical/literary tastes
of young people of their age. This could require a trip to
bookstores/music shops, self introductions to young people to discuss
the topic selected.
Design a typically Spanish meal that the students must shop for. or
Have the students determine the least expensive way of going from their
host city to another city in Spain (maybe even other parts of Europe).
They would have to provide a report of the most cost effective way of
making the trip.
Assigning students to visit some place in the host city (museo,
cine, etc) keeping track of the various streets, modes of transport, turns
etc. Once complete they could be asked to explain to their fellow
travelers how to get to the place that they visited.

Bob Hall


95/09 From -> Patricia Calkins <>
Subject: activities that work

When I want my students to perform a dialog from the book--so that they
can practice pronunciation or whatever--I like to have them do the first
one taking on the persona of famous people: Lady Di and Prince Charles
having tea [with their lawyers present], spies trading secret
information and the like. I think I also mentioned that my students this
year came up with Beavis and Butthead, which had the whole class
screaming with excitement.

Tricia Calkins


Subject: Help! -Reply

Some of the hands-on activities which a number of FLTEACHers have
described in the past could be really useful. Some of those activities
include color-coding cards; matching cards with subjects, verbs, verb
endings in different colors; writing sentences with a word per card and
having students in pairs put the cards in a logical order.

Do you do boardwork with the students? Mine have felt it to be useful.
Four kids at the board, the rest writing the same thing at their place.
Correct one item on the board; others correct from that. Change students
after several sentences. If students have two pieces of colored chalk,
they can underline one tense in one color and the other with the second
color. For some students, the color coding helps them to remember.

Verb relays when students take turns at the board writing out a
conjugation can be fun. Give a short sentence to conjugate using both
past tenses in context makes it more challenging. If a student makes an
error, the next student up to the board can write the next sentence down
or can correct a previous sentence. I don't allow talking or hints.
Sometimes, I also have students at their desks write out the same thing
as those on the board. It helps them to focus and to stay on task. You
can give the kids a Hershey kiss, M&Ms or a Jolly Rancher if their team

Some don't approve of giving candy, coupons, and stuff like that to
students since we should develop the idea that the desire to learn should
be intrinsic and not extrinsic. I feel that if it is done on a periodic
basis and just for fun, it can help to develop a positive learning

Several of these ideas were described to teachers in my district by a
college professor last year. It worked for her, hope it does for you.

Jean Teel
International Language Specialist
Shawnee Mission Schools


97/02 From-> susan <>
Subject: Games for the language classroom

I just spent 4 months in Mexico studying Spanish. Having already taught
German for four years and seeing that now living in Arizona the need for
German teachers was nill, I decided to add to my German and French
certification with Spanish.

I would like to share with you all some of the games and activities that
we as students participated with in hopes that you might use them in any
of the target languages you all teach.

This game can be played at any level. Each student makes a grid on a
piece of paper five spaces across and 4 spaces down. Across the top have
students put in the topics proper names, states and countries, flowers
fruits and food, verbs and animals. You could use any topic that is
being studied or reviewed in class of course. Then ask someone to say
stop while you say the alphabet in your head. When they say stop, you
call out a letter. With this letter each student has a time limit to
fill in each space with a word beginning with the letter picked. At the
end of each round you give 20 points to someone who is the only one who
has a word and ten to the rest if the word is used more than once.

This can be played at the end of a class with minimal preparation.

As I remember the different activities that I enjoyed participating in
the different Spanish classes, I will post them to the list.



97/02 From-> Irene Moon <>
Subject: Springtime Activity Ideas

Hola Listeros,

Was just going thru some old idea notes and thought these might be kind
of neat to try with your classes since we're all looking for special
springtime activities.

March 2nd is the birthday of Dr. Seuss!
Might try reading a Dr. Seuss book to your class (in the TL) and since
he uses lots of rhyming words, build a unit from that. Or make a
Birthday card for DR. Seuss using some of his vocab. This could be a
launching pad for a word study.

St. Patrick's Day
Put students into grps and have them make lists of everything they can
think of that is green! OR have students write a story about a
leprechaun who was lucky. You could give them specific words, idioms to
incorporate or you could say that they should try to use the word
"green" as often as possible. You could also, in advance, have students
cut out pictures of anything green and then create sentences to use with
the pictures, playing the "Matamoscas" game. These activities would be
excellent ways to review adj agreement and work on sentence structure,
connectives etc.

March 21st is 1st Day of Spring
Have students/ or you could if you wish, draw a graph as follows:
across top, either list countries or days of week a down side, list
degrees or other weather conditions Using the internet, students can
graph the weather in several Spanish speaking countries, or, if you
prefer, your own area. Then you can prepare a questionnaire asking
"Which day was the warmest? etc...

Easter Egg Idea
In pairs, have students select a comic from your local newspaper & cut
it out, omitting the last or 2 last frames. They can either paraphrase
in the TL what has happened and include with the incomplete comic strip
in a plastic egg...or they can leave conversation balloons in English.
Each pair draws an egg and write a new ending to the comic in the TL.
They can share or turn in. Just a quick activity; you might even want to
supply the cartoons, comics yourself. Perhaps later they could be used
as 5 min. sponges at end, beginning of class.

Opening Day of Baseball
This could also be an internet activity by having students read thru
some of the online Spanish publications, newspapers like Miami Herald
etc. They could look for lists of baseball related terms, do a summary
of Spanish speaking players and teams they represent. Make a list of
Baseball Newspaper Headlines etc.

Irene Moon


97/03 From-> Janice Brosius <>
Subject: Re: Les Cinq Amis - a lesson idea for the French class

Here are some more ideas:

-Have the students leave ALL their materials on the floor unless there
are specific things they need to use at any particular time. -Having the
kids in ready-made groups is wonderful for any group projects,
cooperative learning, even simply for having them correct each other's

-Do lots of group activities; even pair work is easy if they just turn
to the person next to them.

-You have the perfect opportunity for activities and projects using
paper (butcher paper, construction paper, drawing paper, any kind) and
pens, felt pens, crayons, etc. Let your imagination go! -For security
during tests, I made dividers out of cardboard boxes. I created a bunch
of three-sided dividers (sort of like a study carrel), which I had the
students use during tests. It is not necessary for every student to have
one, so long as there is cardboard between each student and his/her
neighbor. YES, this posed a tremendous supervision problem during tests,
you need to be able to move around the room easily. I know that some
students were able to sneak looks at other students' papers, since I
couldn't see every student with the carrels on the tables. I found I
needed to create tests that tested their communication or free-writing
skills, or to devise more than one version of tests.

-Another possibility. especially if you're doing a lot of oral work, is
to push the tables to the sides of the room, and seat the students on
the stools in a circle, or in smaller circles. This offers TREMENDOUS
flexibility, and keeps their attention focused on the oral part of the

Stan Oberg


97/03 From-> TAMERA HOLTER <>
Subject: Game techniques for classroom exercises

Hola listeros,
As a college student who will soon (hopefully) be teaching my own class,
I'm interested in ideas for activities in the classroom. While working
with cooperating teachers, I have been introduced to some wonderful
ideas (using the game format from "Clue" to learn vocab for furniture,
rooms in a house, and members of the family, "Battleship" to learn the
alphabet, "Butcher" [a twist on Hangman] for various lists of vocab.,

I would sincerely appreciate any other games/exercises anyone has had
success with because the games really work their magic - the students
hardly realize it's a drill! Great learning experiences and all the
students get involved!

As a side note, I want to thank everyone for their insights - they have
been very beneficial to me, as a future teacher. I'm very grateful for
this service!

Tamera Holter


97/03 From-> Anne Fontaine <>
Subject: Re: Game techniques for classroom exercises

Pictionary works well too. Have two teams, one drawer from each team,
use the board. The artists choose a word from a basket or hat and then
draw. The team which guesses first with the best pronunciation wins the
point. Bonne chance!



97/03 From-> Mary Young <>
Subject: Re: Need Ideas for Returning to Work


Congratulations on starting back--but I hope you'll pay attention to
what your body tells you and not overdo. The last thing you (or your
students) would want now is a relapse of any kind. OK, the "doctor" is

Surely there is a way to do both, re-establish rapport while moving on
with the curriculum. What topics do you address next? Maybe we can come
up with some curriculum-related ways to get reacquainted.

Maybe a People-Hunt type of activity:

Let's imagine you're starting a unit on foods. Have a set of 10 or more
personal preference questions on an overhead--What is your favorite
cheese? Where would you most like to have a special meal? Who would you
invite to a picnic? If money were no object, what would you most like to
serve at your wedding? etc., only related to the new unit. Give them
time to write answers, then collect them.

Set them to work on something else and you (or have a student) write
prompts from their answers like this (on an overhead again):

Whose favorite cheese is Havarti? Who would most like to dine at Maxim's
in Paris? Who would invite David Lee Roth, Howard Stern and Dennis
Rodman to a picnic? etc. Use as many as you like. It's nice to have each
person in the class represented.

The object: Put them in groups of 4 - 6 depending on class size and your
management preference. They will figure out who each entry on the new
overhead applies to.

Since it's a language class they can write complete sentences:
Gerry's favorite cheese is Havarti.
Roland would most like to dine at Maxim's. etc.

They start out by filling in the names of the people in their own group
where they know they should go. Then they have to get the rest. I
designate one group member as the spy She is the only one of the team
allowed to leave her seat. She can go to another team and ask Yes/No
questions to get more info for her team's list: The person who likes
Havarti, does he have brown hair? Is the person who would like to dine
at Maxim's a Senior?...

Another person is each team is scribe.
A third person is the spokesperson. He answers the questions from other
teams' spies. He may consult with team members on the answers, of

The winning team is the one with the most correct answers at the end of
the time.

You can set this in motion and kind of let it happen for a few minutes.

When you're debriefing afterward you can let students ask for more
information on the answers (Why Howard Stern? Where do you buy Havarti?
What tastes good with Havarti? What would you feed Dennis Rodman?)

Please find things to do that don't wear you out!

Tell us your topics. You know there are great ideas lurking out there...



97/08 From-> Connie Vargas <>
Subject: Flash Card activities

I recently put this list together to share with my 2 new beginning
teachers. I thought someone would appreciate me sharing it on the list
and I'm requesting additions, if any of you would add to my list.

Flash cards

Whole class: Flash the cards to yourself, giving a clue/definition and

ask the whole class to respond. Get response in the target language.

Half class:

Half the class is ready to guess, the other half keeps quiet. An artist
from the same side watches as the teacher flashes a vocab card. The
artist tries to draw it so his team will guess the word. One point per
word. Give a time limit of one minute.

Divide cards into equal piles for each group of 4 students. One of the
students takes the role of the teacher and gives the English equivalent
or definition of the word. The rest of the group guesses. Give a time
limit of one minute. Ring the bell and have the cards passed to the next
group. Continue until the groups receive their original packet of cards.
Give points.

Divide class into groups of no more than 6. Group chooses a captain. The
captain stands in front of teacher and watches as team gives clues. The
team gives clues for the word the teacher is holding over the captainís
head (so that it canít be seen by captain) Any words, antonyms,
synonyms, phrases, sentences or gestures are acceptable - NO parts of
the word or English may be used. Time limit of 1 minute.

Count points.

Variation: Instead of one group at a time in front of the class, have
groups do this activity simultaneously (much like the previous group
activity). One minute time limit. Pass cards to next group.

Class is divided in half. One volunteer from each half goes up to the
board with a flyswatter (plastic). The flash cards are posted in no
particular order on the board. Teacher calls out English or definition
or the word itself. Student who swats it first gets the point for his
half of the class.

Flashcards are posted in no particular order on the board. One student
volunteers to go up and give a sentence (tell a story at advanced
levels) using each word. As student uses the word, a point is given and
student checks off the word using a marker on the board. A limit of one
minute is given.

Flashcards are posted on the board in no particular order. A volunteer
comes up and acts one out. Students raise hands and guess which word is
being acted out.

>From various sources and compiled by Connie Vargas 8/97


97/09 From-> Dee Friel <>Subject: Re: Food unit help

Here are some suggestions:

The game is very simple. Each student is given a different food item. I
use plastic toy food. The student sits it in front of him on the desk.
Everyone must know the food item in the target language. Students sit in
a circle. One person starts "the rhythm" [explained later] and must say
his item and the item of another person. All students are participating
in the "rhythm". The next person must say his item and the item of
another student. He cannot use the person who just "sent the play" to
him. If a student misses, the food item is removed from the desk, but he
still continues with the "rhythm." When only a few students are left,
the "rhythm" speeds up. When only two are left, they must of course send
the play back to the person it came from, so the "rhythm" gets REALLY
fast. All students keep participating with the "rhythm" even though they
are officially "out of the game."

The "RHYTHM" goes like this:
Palms open, slap the desk twice.
Clap hands together twice.
Snap fingers with the right hand. As student snaps, he says his own
Snap fingers with the left hand. As as student snaps, he says item of
next person.
Rhythm repeats continuously. Students try to keep going. Person who must
speak, must do so within allowed time limits of snapping.

Hesitation means they are out of the game. I give some leniency,
esp. with jr. high kids. My students always want to "snap and clap" -- we
do it with a variety of vocab -- names, animals, etc. For these vocab
lists, you can have items or have students make little tri-fold "tents"
and write the word in big letters with a marker. Laminated items keep
very well from year to year.

MUSIC -- Get the Sing Dance Laugh and Eat Tacos tapes. One of them has a
fruits song on it. Students are given pictures of the food items
(magazines, handouts, etc.) and as we sing along, they try to hold up
the correct picture. It can also be done with plastic foods.

ART 1-- Make food mobiles of culturally appropriate foods. Draw still
life from a setting that has culturally authentic foods on it. One teacher
told me she brought in guava, papaya, mango, a variety of chiles, etc.
Kids drew still life and afterward in Spanish class got to sample the

ART/FACS/ETC -- Make a poster of 3 balanced meals using culturally
appropriate foods. List calories. Determine if foods meet guidelines of
food pyramid.

AG -- (Can you tell I teach in rural MO?) Study the varieties (more than
100) of potato found in Peru. Impact of potato on economy and diet.

Social Studies -- Going on the potato theme, study impact of New World
explorations on the diet of Europe. Most kids think tomatoes are native
to Italy and potatoes are native to Ireland. They have a tough time
believing they're not.

FACS/Cooking/Language Arts -- Make a Recipe Book of foreign foods. This
could be a group or individual project. Individuals could set up recipe
files rather than make books. Books are nice, especially if you could
bind them and sell them to parents or community at ball games or

FACS/Cooking -- Distinguish between TRUE authentic recipes and those
that have been Americanized. Where was Chow Mein invented? What about
the breakfast burrito?

Dee Friel


97/11 From-> Nilsa Sotomayor <>
Subject: Re: teaching foods-gr5

I have always taught High School, but these ideas should also work out
with your students. :-)

1. Shower curtain Twister game: You can use a shower curtain liner, the
back of a Twister game, or any plastic that you can draw on with magic
markers. When we made mine (and I say "we" because friends and family
helped) we did the following: Divide the surface into equal squares.
Draw the fruit, vegetables, food items, etc. in each square. I got mine
from my daughters' coloring books. I then placed the curtain in my foyer
with a bag of permanent pens in different colors with the following
message: "Anyone who passes here can sit and color a while, because of
you my students will later smile" :-) I had it done in less then a
week!!! I then use those little spinners --I use the transparent kind
because I use them on the overhead projector. I copy the outline of the
spinners on a transparency and label one outline with left foot, right
foot, left hand, etc. in the target language. The other outline I label
with the food items. I then place the spinners on them and turn the
overhead projector on and the game begins!!!!! You can make your own
rules--here are some I have used. I divide the class into 3-4 groups.
Then 1 student is chosen (by numbers, colors etc.) in each group to play
the twister game. The others in the group may help their teammate--IN
THE TARGET LANGUAGE-by giving him/her hints. You play the game just
like Twister. Sometimes I divide the class in just 2 groups-the girls and the
guys!! They love to play this game.

I have also made shower curtain games for body parts, numbers, of
colors--use the original Twister one for this, conjugations---the
possibilities are endless.

I always tell the kids the day before that we are doing this
activity--so they won't were "holy" or dirty socks! :-)

As with any of my fun activities--I always introduce and practice
whatever it is we are learning, then I reinforce with some games.

2. Copy food items on paper, give the students their "activity boxes"
and let them cut and color the food items. Then give them paper plates
and let them assemble their favorite breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Activity boxes are plastic shoe boxes that I bought and filled them with
crayons, color pencils, scissors, rulers, tape, glue, sequins (in baggies) etc.
I have used my own money, Spanish club money, Dept. budget money, etc to
keep them stocked.

3. Smile your on camera!!! I love to have students write their own
skits. They are given a list of items (including grammar, vocabulary
etc.) that must be included in the skit. They have to have all their
props the day I will be taping them. For example, I give them
scenarios--lunch at the park, dinner at The Ritz, etc. I then let them
watch their video and have them critique it and/or take a quiz on it. I
have use these videos to show parents at Open House what great kids they
have!!! An important note--I always send a note home to the parents
telling them what I am doing and asking them to inform me if they object
to having their child taped.

4. Color Connections has a very nice activity using place mats with
objects that should be placed on them. Leaving out some so that the
student has to place the missing item correctly.

Well I hope that these ideas have helped.

Hasta pronto,


97/11 From-> Cherice Montgomery <>
Subject: Teaching comparisons

Here are some of the activities that work well for me:

FLYSWATTERS - I present the seven basic words (mas, menos, mayor, menor,
mejor, peor, que) and then pair students up, give each one a
flyswatters, and drill the words (since they all appear so similar to

ORAL PRACTICE WITH SILLY DRAWINGS - Next, we practice orally using a
series of drawings which I inherited--source is probably the Color
Connection. I show them the picture of a girl with long hair and
say--Maria tiene pelo largo. Then I show the next picture--of a girl
with longer hair and say: Patricia tiene pelo mas largo que Maria.
Finally, I show a picture of a girl with hair all the way to the floor
and say: Catalina tiene el pelo mas largo de todas. After that, I ask
students to make sentences orally for each set of pictures which follows
based on the initial model: strong/stronger/strongest--the final picture
has a guy whose muscles make him look like he is about to explode,
old/older/oldest--man develops a longer beard and is more stooped over
with each picture, fat/fatter/fattest--boy's shirt shows more and more of
his tummy, good/better/best--people with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons
on, bad/worse/worst--students holding papers with low test scores,
young/younger/youngest--children & babies, etc.

CHILDREN'S BOOKS--There is a children's book called "El pequeno
monstruo" by JoAnne & David Wylie (ISBN# 0-516-34495-1) that presents
big, bigger, biggest, wide, wider, widest, etc. in Spanish via pictures
of monsters. You could cut the book apart and use these pictures for the
above activity.

Another book that might work well is P.D. Eastman's "Perro grande . . .
perro pequeno" (ISBN#0-94-85142-0). It deals more with opposites, but
could be easily worked into a lesson on comparisons.

DRAW GRID--Students number a grid from 1 to 16. Then can then draw
pictures in specific squares based on sentences you dictate. Example: In
square number five, draw a picture illustrating this sentence: Mary is
fatter than Jane. Under "fatter than", draw this sentence: Patricia is
prettier than Carol. To the right of . . .etc.

COLORING WORKSHEET--Gessler publishes a book called Juegos de Colores (and
Jeux de Coleurs--or something like that in French) which contains a variety
of coloring worksheets which reinforce specific grammatical concepts and
sets of vocabulary. My high school students ADORE them. One has various
pictures of animals on it and gives students instructions in Spanish
like: Color the tallest animal blue. Color the slowest animal black and
orange. At the end of the worksheet, students are asked to complete
sentences like: The monkey is taller than the . ..

MIXER--List comparisons in the form of questions on a bingo grid format.
(Quien es el mas bajo de todos los estudiantes en la clase?) Students
must find classmates which fit the descriptions (sometimes by asking
questions about age--for who is the oldest in the class, etc.--and have
them sign the appropriate boxes.

NAMES WORKSHEET--List the names of each of the students in your class on
a sheet of paper. Randomly list comparative sentences by some of the
students names--I try to choose silly things that won't offend
anyone--like saying that Whitney is the ugliest girl in the class
(although it is obvious to everyone that she is beautiful), or that Mrs.
M. sings better than John--who happens to have a beautiful voice, etc.
(I put a box with the comparative words up in one of the corners as a
reminder). Students are given time in class to collaborate on writing
APPROPRIATE comparisons about their classmates. They finish the
worksheet as homework. The next day, each student chooses their 3 best
sentences to share with the class by writing them on the board.
Amazingly--EVERYONE pays attention to the answers and the corrections!

CONTEXTUAL PRESENTATION--Post pictures which illustrate various
sentences and list the sentences in Spanish beneath them. For example:
Her doll is not as small as mine. She has as many pearls as I do. She
cannot drink as much as he can. (picture of a boy drinking a huge glass
of orange juice, v. a girl with a very small cup)

Ask students to translate the pictures.

Ask students to explain the rules for the use of tan/tanto . . . como
based on the inferences they are able to make from the examples.

Give a brief summary of the rules.

SIGNAL CARDS--Check for understanding by dictating sentences and asking
students to hold up the appropriate signal cards: the tan card and the
como card with space left in between for the adjective, the forms of
tanto card and the como card with space left in between them for the
noun, or the tanto card right next to the como card for "as much as".

WHITE BOARDS--Proceed to white boards, dictating sentences in English
and asking students to translate in Spanish.

FAMOUS PEOPLE--Post magazine photos of famous people on the board and
ask students to write comparisons about them.

DATING GAME--Tell students that Famous Person A has decided to marry
Famous Person B, but that he must justify it to the rejected Famous
Person C via comparative sentences: She is prettier than you are. She
talks less than you do. She is more athletic than you are.

CHARTS/TABLES/GRAPHS--Make overheads of charts, tables, or graphs which
present statistics about a country which speaks the target language.
Write comprehension questions such as: Which city has the highest birth
rate? Which country imports the least oil? Eventually, you can post a
chart or graph and have students write such questions for it.

ADS--Have them do an ad campaign in which they compare two different
products--Burger King v. McDonald's.

ANIMAL STORIES--Have students write stories about a group of animals who
are friends. Frog is the SHORTEST, but he can leap HIGHER than everyone
else. GIRAFFE is TALLER, but cannot bend AS LOW AS the others.

I can't remember what else I do at the moment, but will check my files
tomorrow and post anything exceptional which I've failed to mention.

Cherice Montgomery


97/12 From-> Dee Friel <>
Subject: Game Ideas



1) First choose the vocabulary categories you want to work with that
could fit into one basic sentence. For example, PEOPLE, PLACES, and
TRANSPORTATION could fit into a sentence like "His mother is going to
the beach by car." You need about 6 variables for each category, giving
a total of about 18 words.

2) Next, find a picture or make a sketch to represent each of the
words. Then put all 18 pictures on 2-3 pages of 8 x 11 paper. Make
enough copies to have a complete "deck" to cut up for each group of 3-4
students. Sturdy paper, especially if it is laminated lasts longer.

3) Have the students write out their own "Detective Notes" which is a
list of all the variables and a space to check off those used during the
game. You can use the table below and have the students just fill it in.
In the first row, have them write in what the categories are.



4) To play, each group has ONE deck of cards and each player has his
own Notes. First, all the cards are sorted by category into three piles,
then one category at a time, with the cards FACE down, and without
showing the picture side, one card is chosen from each category and
hidden (under a book, in an envelope, etc.) From everyone's view. The
three hidden cards form the "Secret Sentence" that the students will try
to discover during the course of the game. Still face down, the
remaining cards are mixed and dealt out equally to each player.

5) Each player secretly records on his own "Detective Notes" what cards
he holds (which, of course, therefore, CANNOT be any of the three hidden
cards in the secret sentence).

6) Players then take turns asking each other for a "clue" about the
cards in their hands in order to discover the secret sentence by
eliminating those which cannot be in the hidden spot. For example, they
ask "Is his father going to the mountains by train?" The second player
needs to show only ONE card (even if he has more than one) to the first
player if he has any cards in the sentence.

7) The game continues until someone can guess the secret sentence
correctly to win. You can set a time limit and have students repeat the
game if they finish before then. Those who have not finished by the time
limit can take one last guess each, then look at the cards for the

8) As a variation you can use a larger set of pictures and play with one
side of the class against the other. Remove the three cards that form
the "secret sentence" without revealing them. Have the two sides of the
room turn their desks so that they face each other. The students take
turns asking the TEACHER for clues. The teacher will show the card asked
for to that team only. I also have a mistake card that I show to a team
if they have formed an incorrect sentence, which of course, results in
no clue for that turn. The students seem to enjoy either variety of the


1. Divide the class into four groups.

2. Each group chooses a floor plan to play from (floor plans of their
own house or dream home was homework from the day before). The house had
to have eight rooms (not counting rooms with plumbing).

3. Distribute 3x5 index cards which have been cut in half (so now they
are 3 x 2-1/2) -- total of 16 small cards. On 4 cards, students write
and draw a rope, a wrench, a gun, and a dagger. On 4 other cards they
are to draw stick faces and label them as Mme. Leblanc, Mlle Rose, M.
Prévert, and Col. Moustarde (one person per card). On the other 8 cards
they write the names of each room on the floor plan.

4. The object of the game is to guess who killed M. Lenoir, in which room
and with what weapon. This information is "determined" by drawing a card
from each of the 3 categories without looking at it, and putting all 3
cards in an envelope out of sight. The cards that remain are mixed up
and passed out to the players.

5. Each student prepares a grid listing all 4 suspects, all 4 weapons,
and all 8 rooms. [You can use this model grid below and change the words
to French]:

Suspects Weapons Rooms Rooms
Mme. Leblanc poignard
Mlle. Rose
M. Prévert
Col. Moustarde

6. Students first go through their own grid and cards and eliminate the
items they have because they know they are not the answers. They have to
figure out which cards are in the envelope, thus finding out who killed
M. Lenoir.

7. They will find out from their teammates which cards they are holding in
this manner: (This is different from the board game) A player announces,
"Je vais ý la cuisine" and moves his playing piece (a coin, paper clip,
bingo chip, etc.) To the kitchen. There he says, "J'accuse Mlle Rose
dans la cuisine avec le poignard." He then turns to the player on his
left. If that player has a card for Mlle. Rose, la cuisine, or le
poignard, he must show it to the first player ONLY. He has to show only
one of the cards if he has more than one. The first player eliminates
the card he was shown from the potential solution by checking it off his
list. Play moves to the left, with each person taking a turn moving to a
room, accusing someone of committing the crime in that room, identifying
the weapon, finding out which cards are in the other's hands, etc.

8. If the player to the left doesn't have any cards to show, then the next
player to the left of that person must show a card, etc. When you have
guessed and no one has any cards to show you, you can open the envelope.
If you are right, you win. If you are not, you obviously can't guess
anymore, but you must show your cards to the others as they guess.


Below is a grid for use to play CLUE in a Spanish class.

Coronel Mostaza la llave el pasillo
Profesor Ciruela el cuchillo la sala
Señor Verde el candelabro el comedor
Señora Pavo Real el revólver la cocina
Señorita Roja la cuerda el salón de baile
Señora Blanca la tubería de plomo el jardín botánico
el salón de juegos
la biblioteca
el estudio

I know I probably adapted this game from someone or played it as a child
myself or something, but my students love this game. The premise is very

1. First, each student is assigned a vocabulary word (food, body parts,
colors, countries, etc.). If you want, students can make little paper
"tents" (fold a paper in fourths -- the middle two sections form the
inverted "V" and the end two sections are folded one over the other on
the bottom for support. Write the vocab word on each side with a marker
[once these are made, you can keep them from year to year].

2. Next, use the desks to make a circle. Each student places his "vocab
tent" on the edge of his desk. He can see his word and so can his

3. Select a student to start. ALL students will hit their desks with
their hands palm open (slap, slap), then twice they will clap (clap,
clap), then snap their right hand then the left (snap, snap). As the
student snaps the right hand, he says his word in the target language.
As he snaps the left hand, he calls out the word of a classmate. Then it
will be that classmate's turn.
EXAMPLE: (Remember that all students are slapping, clapping, and
Person 1: slap, slap, clap, clap, snap (own word -- sofa), snap
(classmate's word -- lamp)
Person 2: slap, slap, clap, clap, snap (own word -- lamp), snap
(classmate's word -- table)
Person 3: slap, slap, clap, clap, snap (own word -- table), snap
(classmate's word -- bed)

4. Students are eliminated if they can't fill in the words in time.
They can either remove the vocab word from their desks or be removed
physically from the circle. They can still slap, clap, and snap.

5. You can speed up the rhythm or slow it down as needed for your
students. I have some that like to go at lightning speed because they
know the vocab and they know which of their classmates do not -- it
improves their chances of winning.

NOTE: You do not have to use the little vocab tents. It is a little
harder for the students then to remember the vocab, but that is part of
the fun!

GEOGRAPHY GAME -- Sue Alice Shay
This game works best with a smaller group of students. It is a geography
race. Divide the class into two teams. Pass out "stickies" [Post-It
Notes] with country names written on them. Both teams have one "sticky"
with each country on it.

When the teacher calls out their country, the two competing team members
race to place their "sticky" with country name on it in the correct
position on the map, which is projected onto the board or wall from the
overhead projector.

You could also play using capital cities, rivers, mountains, tourist
attractions, etc.

HOT/COLD GAME -- Carol Feige, Milpitas High School
She plays this game to practice "preposiciones de lugar." However, it
could also be played with classroom items, body parts, clothing,
adjectives (blond, brunette, red, big, tall, etc.). One could also do
this as a partner activity. One partner selects the term and gives the
category (colors, class item, etc.), and the other partner tries to
figure out the word by asking "Is it ______?" (in the target language).
She uses the following terms:

calientísimo / muy caliente / caliente / tibio / fresco / frío / muy frío


Who drives a foreign car?

Who has traveled at least twice?

Who speaks and understands French, German, Latin, or Japanese? Who has
hosted or recently met someone from another country? Who is wearing
something made in a foreign country?

Who has relatives living abroad?

Who has traveled on an ocean liner/cruise ship?

Who has ever corresponded with a person from another country? [Snail
mail or e-mail]

Who has read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Who collects
either foreign coins or stamps?

Who has taken a course about another part of the world?

Who has visited the United Nations building in NYC? WRITE YOUR NAME HERE

Who can name a famous sports star from another country? Who has a
Spanish surname?

Who has lived in more than five states?

Who has a bike made in another country?

Who has a camera made in another country?

Who knows at least 10 of the countries in Africa? Name them. Who lives
in a home where more than one language is spoken?

Who has taught overseas?

Who can name a famous musician from another country?

Who sent UNICEF cards this past holiday season? Who has contributed
money to an international cause or organization? Who has dined in an
ethnic restaurant within the past month?

*Adapted from Las Palomas de Taos, P. O. Box 94, Taos, NM 87571

This, of course, can be written in the target language and adapted to
class vocabulary: Who hates peas? Who likes running the vacuum cleaner?
Who drives a red car? Who lives more than 2 miles from school? Who is
wearing green underwear? Who rides the bus to school?

The object of the game is to have students go around the room asking
these questions of the their classmates and collecting appropriate
signatures. The first person to get a BINGO (5 horizontally, vertically,
or diagonally) is the winner.

1. Divide the class in half (two equal teams). Pick a student to keep
score (if there is an uneven number).

2. Set up six chairs in the front of the room -- three for each team.

3. For each "round", three students from each team occupy these seats.
They may bring their textbooks and notes with them to use ONLY while
formulating questions -- NOT while answering them.

4. The Team A players put their books under their seats. EACH player
form Team B asks Team A a vocabulary question. Any player from Team A
can answer. Each Team A player can decide if the team will receive a 3
point or a 5 point question.
3 point questions: (Target language to English -- easier) "¿Qué
significa _____?"
5 point questions: (English to target language -- harder) "¿Cómo se dice
Team A is only given one attempt to answer the question. If the answer
is wrong, proceed to the next question (the correct answer is revealed
at the end of the round, but no points are awarded for it at that
point). If none of the three Team A players wants to venture a guess,
then any student from the Team A side of the room (and THEY can access
their book and notes) may volunteer the answer for 1 point. This gets
ALL the students looking through their books constantly -- looking not
only for the answer, but also for possible questions to pose when it is
their turn.

5. Then Team B puts away their books, and it is their turn to answer the
questions from Team A (repeat step 4 for this team).

6. At the end of the round, the six players return to their seats and
the next 3 students from each side come up and become the "players" for
the next round. This way everybody gets a turn to pose and to answer a
question, and no one student is ever completely on the spot alone.

7. The motivation for requesting 3 point rather than 5 point questions:
In any round, the maximum points a team can earn is 15 points. However,
if none of the 3 players can give the correct answer to a 5 point
question on the team's one-and-only chance to answer it, they've lost
their chance at 5 points, whereas they might be able to answer an easier
3 point question and be guaranteed some points.

1. Put students into groups (usually 2-4) depending on the class size
(just work around it if there is an uneven number).

2. Give ONE piece of paper and ONE writing utensil per group.

3. Give criteria for the words they must produce. For example:
(Say this in the target language) In one minute, write the words that
A. Begin with "r"
B. Have 3 vowels
C. Have 3 consonants together
D. Begin and end with the same letter
E. Refer to a trip by airplane
The topics become more difficult at increasing levels, but start with a
simple one as a warmup.

4. After the time period is up, collect the papers and give points by
the number of correct words on their list. Watch out for duplicates!
Another note is to be careful that students don't call out answers --
the object to help your group, not someone else's!

VOCAB GAME 1 -- JANEL BRENNAN -- ABERDEEN HS, MD Janel adapted this from
an in-service meeting she attended.

Divide students into small groups (2-4 people). Have one student with a
paper and have them write the alphabet down the side. Tell the groups
what the topic is (for example, food, clothing, body parts, etc.).
Then they pass the paper around the group and each person takes turns
writing in words he/she knows that starts with the various letters. They
can write until they exhaust all possibilities or you can give a time

Another variation of this is to play music as they are passing around
the paper and when the music stops, they have to switch to another topic
or count up the words they have, etc.
This can also be done with verbs: have one student write a verb and a
subject (hablar -- yo). The next student conjugates the verb and then
writes a new subject and verb and passes it on.

VOCAB GAME 2 -- JANEL BRENNAN -- ABERDEEN HS, MD Janel adapted this from
an in-service meeting she attended.

The down side of this activity is the preparation time. Hang "stations"
around the room -- pieces of paper with a description in the target
language of the vocab word (i.e. Es una cosa que llevas en la cabeza.
(It's a thing that you wear on your head.) ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
___. There are many of these hung up around the room. The students are
moving around the room trying to solve the puzzle. At each word there
may be a number under one of the letters. At the end of the activity,
students use the numbers to come up with a secret word (she uses
proverbs). This is a good activity for block schedule classes!

This can be played in a variety of ways. It uses the old battleship game
grid, with hit, miss, sunk. Students draw in ships that cover 2, 3, 4,
and 5 spaces (students could probably tell you their names -- submarine,
destroyer, cruiser, battleship) horizontally or vertically (NOT
diagonally!). There are 5 ships in all.

The grids can be any size you want -- 20 x 20 works well. Students will
need two grids -- one for their own ships and one for locating their
partner's ships.

Across the top and along the side, you can fill in any vocabulary that
corresponds. For example: alphabet and numbers, adjectives and nouns
(then the student has to make the adjective agree in number and gender),
subject and verbs, etc.


THE DI GAME -- Adapted form Tonda Resch, Spanish Teacher, Knob Noster, MO

This is a good activity for Fridays or substitutes. Have pictures of the
parts of a house, face, room, body parts, etc. that will fit together to
make a whole picture. Depending on the age of your students, they may
first color the pictures. Then cut the pictures apart and laminate them.
Be sure to have enough for each student in the class.
Students take turns rolling the di until they get a 1, then a 2, then a
3, etc. or collect at lest the base piece first, then the other pieces
randomly or collect all pieces randomly until they have a whole picture
(they lose a turn if they roll a number they previously rolled and
collected a piece for).
Examples: (Use words in the target language.

1 house face body walls cabinet socks
2 roof eyes head carpet sink shoes
3 chimney eyebrows arms window stove pants
4 door nose legs bed refrigerator shirt
5 window mouth hands dresser dishwasher belt
6 WIPE OUT* ears feet closet table hat

*WIPE OUT -- student loses all his pieces and must start over

Use two di of different colors. One may represent the subject pronoun,
and the other is for the verb. Advanced students may also use a third di
for different tenses.
Roll the dice, then use the correct verb conjugation for the subject
If correct, the student may roll dice again to determine points (if
playing for points).

1 I to go present
2 you to cook past
3 he, she, it to talk future
4 we to study imperfect
5 you (pl.) to have conditional
6 they to leave command forms

You will need the following materials for each set you wish to make: 2-4
FOAM egg cartons per group
Garage sale stickers
Permanent marker
Di, bean, button, etc. for each egg carton

Set up : For the first egg carton, write 12 different subjects on the
garage stickers with a permanent marker. Place the stickers in the egg
carton, one in each of the 12 "holders." It might be easier to put them
on the side rather than in the bottom. You may wish to glue it so that
it adheres better. Place a di, bean, button, etc. in the bottom of the
carton. Close the lid and set aside.
For the second carton, write 12 verbs on the stickers and repeat the
rest of the instructions.
If you use a third carton, it could be various tenses or forms
(progressive, commands, etc.). A fourth carton can be used for a time
period, question word (when? Where? Why? How?), adjective/adverb, etc.

To play:
1. Divide the class into groups of 3-4.
2. Give each group Carton 1 and Carton 2 (additional cartons can be
used as desired/needed based on student ability).
3. Assign each person a task: Person 1 -- Carton 1 / Person 2 --
Carton 2 Person 3 -- Dictionary / Person 4 -- Writer
Person 3 might also have Carton 3; Person 4 might also have Carton 4
4. Begin play: Person 1 shakes his carton then opens it to reveal what
subject is to be used. Person 4 writes it down. Person 2 shakes his
carton then open it to get the verb. The group then must decide how to
conjugate it correctly. Person 4 writes it down. If the group doesn't
know the word, Person 3 looks it up in the dictionary. If Carton 3 is
used for tenses, it will have to be determined before the group can
write the sentence. If Carton 4 is used, this part will have to be added
to the sentence.
5. Students must create at least 10 sentences.

Determine the countries (all of Europe, countries where the target
language is spoken, just Central America, just South America, etc.)you
want to use. For each country, make 4-5 cards (these could be done on
paper then laminated for durability):

1. Country Write the name of these items on the cards
2. Capital in the target language
3. Language
4. Nationality/Inhabitants
5. Flag

The flag card is optional -- you could instead put a flag on the back of
each of the cards for that country. If you don't put the flag on the
back for the card, you could put the name of the continent where it is

To collect each card, the student must answer (in the target language) a
question about that country and must be able to give the name of the
country (to collect #1 above), to name the capital city (to collect card
#2), etc. For the flag, students would have to be able to give the
colors and/or describe it.
The first student to collect all the cards for all countries is the
winner. Be sure to color the flags and laminate the cards before
playing. Students could even color the flags. FOR EXAMPLE:

España Francia Rusia los Estados Unidos
Madrid Paris Moscow Washington, DC
español francés ruso inglés
los españoles los franceses los rusos los norteamericanos

Inglaterra Alemania Venezuela
London Berlin Caracas
inglés alemán español
los ingleses los alemanes los venezolanos

15. World Wide Web / Internet

95/08 From-> "Robert D. Peckham" <bobp@UTM.Edu>
Subject: Re: French Culture Unit - Tahiti

Lewis: I don't think you will find these materials in French on the WWW.
What I have is in English. I am sure the French stuff is hiding
some where in the Minitel galaxy:

Bogaty's Tahiti Page:

Tahiti Explorer:

Travel iinformation for Tahiti (In Eng.):



95/10 From -> "Catherine. Bass" <>
Subject: An Activity That Works

I'd like to report on an activity  involving the WWW

I had asked my students to imagine that they would spend 7 days in
Paris. They were to turn in a folder that would show me how they
organized their trip, with as many printouts as possible. On the first
page, they explained their itinerary/program for the week, in a very
concise manner, something like this:

* 2pm flight arrives - Orly airport
* go to hotel, settle in - Hotel du Centre * 6:30pm dinner --Restaurant
"la Biche au bois" * go to bed early

etc... and this for each day (IN FRENCH)

Then, they explained how much their stay in Paris would probably cost
them (hotel room + restaurants + metro tickets + admission fees to
museums etc.. + all the little extras)
Some decided to have an extravagant week in Paris: staying in the most
expensive hotel, going to the fanciest restaurants and so on...

Then, most of them organized their folders as follows:

section 1: DAY 1
details about how they got from the airport to the hotel
* air France bus, RER, Roissy Bus, etc... (printout with fares info
ticket info etc..)

details about the hotel: location, cost, and they had to explain why
they chose that hotel
some located it on a map of Paris
the printouts showed the location (metro stop, arrondissement, adresse,
tel) as well as the cost and pictures of hotels + other info

if they went to visit a museum, they gave me a printout about that
museum: admission, hours, location, metro stop, what was to be seen

some even went to the length of telling me how much time it would take
them on the metro to go from their hotel to the museum/place I also got
floor plans of some museums, and information about special exhibits
--one printed out 4 pages of Paris postcards, from the Carolyn Daily
O'Connor special exposition

anyway, they did this for each of the 7 days each section of the folder
presented the activities and places for that day described in French and
supplemented with printouts

The last section of the folder was like an appendix. It included maps
(metro map, maps of Paris: monuments and museums map, etc..),
information about the metro system and tickets, information for American
tourists planning a trip to France (visa info, currency, information
about terrorist activities etc (from the State Dept Travel Information),
info on how to make calls in France and from France to the USA,
a calendar
of events (major Paris events in 1995), lists of restaurants recommended
by Jorg Zipprick's Culinary Journal, shopping information, information
about ATM Cash machines in Paris (!!!), a Paris glossary, etc... etc...
whatever they felt like adding ...

Quite a few of my students got a little carried away with this project
and turned in very heavy and thick folders (an average of 80 pages!!!)
They did an outstanding job compiling lots of information about Paris.
So now, they have their own tourist guide--though bulky--just waiting to
be used on a future trip.

From their comments, I understand they had a lot of fun working on
this project, and most of them had not used the WWW before, so now at
least they now what's out there!

Catherine Bass


95/10 From -> "Catherine. Bass" <>
Subject: Activity

Thanks to Peter Goldstone, who was looking for e-pals for his students
in France, all of my American students will now be able to earn extra
credit by "using" their French e-pals to find out more about French

The project requires them:
a) to write 10 to 15 questions in French for a survey on
a specific topic/issue

I will give them a list of possible topics which I found in FRANCOSCOPIE
1995 (French eating habits, shopping habits, leisure, sports, music,
movies, schooling, clothes, TV, vacation, holidays, pets, racism,
politics, etc... etc...)

The 10/15 questions have to be sent via e-mail to me. I will
distribute--via e-mail--each survey (maximum 2 surveys a week), to all
of the students in my class, who will forward my e-mail message to their
respective and individual French e-pals.

b) the French e-pals will be invited to complete the survey they
got and to send it back to:
* their own American e-pal
* to the American student who conducts the survey

By asking them to send it to their own American e-pals, I hope that this
will generate a discussion between each US and French student, through
which they will learn more about each other and about their
different--or not so different--life styles.

Asking them to send the completed survey back to the student who
conducts the survey, will allow that student to get about 25 responses.
This student will then have to present the results of his/her survey in
written form to me, with his/her comments. They will also be given the
option of presenting the results of the survey orally to the rest of the
class ( we could then, conduct the same survey in class with the
American students, and compare results)

The student who conducted the survey can make sure that the other
students in the class will pay attention to him by asking them to fill
out a table, as they listen to him, that will summarize his findings.


Thanks Peter for providing those e-pals!

Catherine Bass


97/10 From-> Cherice Montgomery <montgomery@FEIST.COM>
Subject: Activities for Mysterious and Inexplicable Events Site

>I have looked at this web site and find it quite interesting, but I'm
>not sure how one would use it. Can someone give some suggestions, please?


I don't know how helpful this will be, but I was thinking of dividing my
students into small groups, giving each group a different topic, (I
think there are twelve different topics, so in a class of 24 or less,
students could work in pairs instead of in small groups), and asking
them to read the information listed in that section of the site. So one
group would have OVNIs, one group would have Las ruinas lunares, one
group would have Fantasmas, one group would have Nuestro misterioso
planeta Tierra, etc. After reading the information, I thought I might
have them write at least 5 "comprehension" questions for it, and then
ask them to share it with the class in one of the following ways:

- a newspaper article
- a newscast with homemade slides
- a simple oral "report"
- a fictional story based upon details from the reading - a skit
- a talk show
- a radio report

After sharing, the audience would be asked to answer the five
comprehension questions generated by the group which presented the

The site could also become the basis for a good research project:
Students would read the info. on the site as background information, and
would then do further research on the topic via internet--newspaper
accounts or articles (preferably in Spanish), followed by a synthesis of
the information via one of the ideas listed above.

What about debates? After reading the info. and presenting it, 1/2 the
class could argue in favor of the existence of UFO's or sea monsters, or
whatever the topic was, while the other half argued against it.

I also thought that these activities might be a good lead-in to some
literature--perhaps something involving magical realism or stories by
Quiroga, etc.?

Perhaps these suggestions will give you a place to start!

Cherice Montgomery
Southeast High School, Wichita, KS


97/11 From-> Lesley Nelson <>
Subject: Food/McDonald's Activities

One site I use when we are studying food is from a supermarket in
Uruguay. ( I start off using it as an A/B
activity where the students have to find out the prices of certain items
from their partners. The students then have to tell me how much the
items would cost in dollars. I have also done this, as well as other
food activities, with a number of restaurant sites: -Lesley

Lesley Nelson


97/11 From-> Pete Jones <>
Subject: Sharing a cooperative learning activity for Modern Language teachers

Can Pete Jones and Jan Miyata share a small group cooperative learning
activity for Modern Language teachers?

A little while ago I created a web page called "Les Cinq Amis" which
allows you to get small group cooperative learning up and running in the
French class.

My friend, Jan Miyata, Head of Modern Languages at Laura Secord
Secondary School in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada has translated this
activity into German for which I thank her so very, very much.

We have put up "Die Fünf Freunde" at the following address:

You will find it under the heading "Les Cinq Amis".

We hope that you can drop by, print out the activity, use it in your
classes and e-mail us your comments.

Best wishes from Ontario, Canada,

Jan and Pete

16. Miscellaneous.

95/03 From-> Bob Hall <>
Subject: Re: 'Activities That Work'

This is really not a novel idea nor is it an idea for a student
activity. In 964 I had the pleasure of attending one of the post
'Sputnik' NEDA Foreign Language Training Institutes. Our methods
instructor appeared daily with a handful of 3x5 index cards upon which
were written his daily class presentation. Since that time I have done
the same thing. I prepare a card with the lesson plan for each of my
classes. If I am going to try to teach a particularly troublesome point
of grammar (ser vs. estar) I'll list the uses so that I have them right
in front of me. Beyond that if I plan to include a teacher made
follow-up exercise such as a question/answer session in the L2 I'll also
put the whole exercise on cards. I pretty much fly around my classroom
and these cards allow me to move rapidly without having to lug a
cumbersome textbook!

Bob Hall


95/08 From-> Charlie Blank <>
Subject: Re: fun activities

I read the contributions to this list not because I am a language
teacher, but because you are the most thoughtful group of professional
educators and the most interesting that I have found on the net. I wish
teachers in other disciplines had more of your curiosity and passion for
both your subject and your students. But one can push subject matter to
levels of analysis and refinement that exceed the general readiness even
of the most august scholars. An extended discussion with relevant
descriptions and consequent evaluations of Parisian Dog Poop falls into
the latter category. It is to be hoped that this particular theme will
be relegated to that <poubelle> which Marx made so famous.
Charlie Blank


Assistant Academic Dean
Bristol Community College
Fall River, MA


95/08 From-> "Marilyn V.J. Barrueta" <>
Subject: Re: fun activities

What a very nice thing to say, and how nice of you to take the time!
You're certainly the kind of administrator we all dream about! Re the
Dog Poop -- ah, sir, you miss the point -- it's *Parisian" Dog Poop! We
will stoop -- er, to any lengths...



96/10 From-> Paul Conley <>
Subject: Re: rain sticks

Hi Shari,

Why not take paper towel tubes, then press pins all the way into them,
and add some beads? Tape both ends of the tubes and paint them.


>Does anyone know how to make "rain sticks"? Those are the wonderful sticks
>with seeds inside that sound like a tropical rain forest when they are turned
>upside-down. They can be purchased at Natural Wonders or the Nature Company
>stores. We would like to make them as a craft activity at our language
>immersion camp in November, and thought about using paper towel rolls and
>rice or beans, but how do we make the rice/beans flow gradually instead of
>in one big clump? Would appreciate any tips!
>Shari Kaulig


96/10b From-> "D. B. Christian" <>
Subject: Re: rain sticks

This is one of the ideas I have played with a few times in various
venues. What I have used and seen used are finishing nails. It's best to
experiment to see how many you'll need for each one.

David Christian, MA (aka Bjorn)

If God hadn't wanted me to be uptight... why would there be coffee and
graduate school?


96/10b From-> "Rosemary A. Zurawel" <>
Subject: Re: rain sticks

I have made "rain sticks: by purchasing mailing tubes (They have a wide
diametre, and are sturdy enough to take the falling ingredients). You
will need to purchase 1/8" dowels, then cut them to the diametre of the
tube. Insert the dowels, one every 1" or so down the length of the tube.
but be certain that you turn the point of insertion about 45 degrees
each time. Then, cut off the ends of the dowels to make them flush with
the cardboard, cap the bottom end (caps come with mailing tubes), insert
rice or small beans, and cap the top. The exterior can be made more
beautiful with wrapping paper, "Contac" paper, or wallpaper. A hint: the
more dowels, the better the rain, and the longer the tube, the sweeter
the falling sound.

Rosemary A. Zurawel


96/10 From-> Pat Buckner <>
Subject: rain sticks -Reply

The real rain sticks are cacti with the spines hammered in, so perhaps
you could try something with sticking toothpicks or straight pins in?
The seeds falling against all of the spines on the inside of the stick
is what makes the rain sound---the spines keep the seeds from falling
all in a "clump."

Pat Buckner


97/03 From-> Sandra Howard <>
Subject: old maid-dump it

I have a suggestion; don't teach the word & give your students a mini
lesson on sexism. This is a derogatory term in our society; there is no
male equivalent. Don't perpetuate this negative idea to our girls &
boys. Why is an unmarried woman less valuable than an unmarried man? It
is NOT ok to be an unmarried older woman in our society. Simply use
celibataire; it is not a "loaded" word like old maid.



97/03 From-> Mary Young <>
Subject: Re: old maid-dump it

>Quelle bonne idée! Now if we could persuade them to change the name of the
>card game.....
>Pamela Lynch

I picked up a deck of OLD BACHELOR cards at a quirky boutique here in
town. Very gratifying, actually.



97/03 From-> Nancy Hudson <>
Subject: Re: old maid-dump it

We made an "old maid" - type game in class, and to avoid the "old maid"
card altogether, we made it the "escargot" card. No one wanted that one

Nancy Hudson


97/03 From-> Richard Lee <>
Subject: Re: old maid-dump it

Actually, I used to think that I liked escargots, until once in a French
restaurant in Chicago I had lots of butter and garlic left after I had
eaten the escargots. Being a bumpkin from Southern Indiana I hated to
see the sauce go to waste so I took some bread and began to sop. I think
that rubber bands would be good with the butter and garlic! (And the
texture isn't that different, I suppose, though I've never really tried

Richard Lee

On Sat, 29 Mar 1997, Nancy Hudson wrote:

>We made an "old maid" - type game in class, and to avoid the "old maid"
>card altogether, we made it the "escargot" card. No one wanted that one =)


97/04 From-> Irene Moon <>
Subject: Education = Big Business ( Getting Parents Involved)

I'm glad for the clarification posted by Eliseo; however, I believe
there are 2 addt'l reasons for trying to get parents involved.

1. There is the demographic "Graying of America" that makes it more and
more difficult to put up school levies and expect that they are going to
pass. Seniors don't want to pay more taxes from their fixed incomes.
hence, most school districts are expanding their reach into the
communities, not only with Parents' Nite (Open House), & conferences
(required at elementary level here...2x a year and optional at HS 1x a
year), but also such things as community/ Adult Ed classes, college nite
(parents come and learn ropes for applying for financial aid etc.).

2. Nationwide, there is pressure to operate/ treat schools as "Big
Business." Colleges expect, employers expect...etc. Many partnerships
are being formed with industry to help ensure that students come out with
marketable skills, cooperative, team abilities, critical thinking know the rest of the story.

You can't have all these factions of a community having their "input"
and disregard the primary customers "parents" and "students." We are, if
you will, a service industry, like it or not. Sweeping "Strategic Plans"
developed by committees of teachers, students, administrators, trades
and business people, and yes, parents, are providing guidance in goal
setting, cost benefit/analysis, mission statements etc. It's a fact of
life in schools for the 21st century.

Like anything else, there are advantages and disadvantages; I'm only
hoping to pointout a "Big" picture perspective.

Didn't someone famous say "It takes a whole village to raise a child" ?

Irene Moon


97/04 From-> Richard Lee <>

I welcome Timothy Mason's comments and I think that they are very much
on target. Speaking as a parent, not a teacher, I want more feedback
from the school regarding my sons' progress that I currently receive. As
a teacher I realize the limits of time and I don't expect them to
contact every family weekly, as I wouldn't be able to do either.
However, when a parent expresses interest, or concern, I believe that it
is reasonable to expect information to be forthcoming. I give my home
phone number to any parent who requests it and I welcome weekly phone
calls from a parent whose son or daughter needs more guidance and

On more than one occasion when I have asked about the progress my boys
were making, I was met with very lukewarm enthusiasm on the part of the
teachers. On a particular occasion I was told by the teacher that this
was confidential and should be a subject of discussion between the
teacher and student, and subsequently between student and parent. I was
told that it was against the policy for the teacher to discuss these
matters directly with the parent. I was flabbergasted! The fertilizer
hit the ventilator when three weeks later my son came home with very bad
marks in that class. At that time when I called the teacher I was told
that there were assignments which had not been turned in promptly. My
intervention at the proper time may have avoided this.

As a parent I would like to know when my child needs prodding while
there is still time to do something about it, not just a bad grade at
the end of the period. The argument that the parent's involvement
infantilizes education rings very hollow in my ear. From personal
experience I would state without hesitation that while I am paying the
bills, it is very much my business.

Maturity and responsibility are learned by suffering the consequences of
bad choices, but those consequences can be imposed by the family prior
to failure in the classroom, perhaps more effectively as the
consequences of allowing the student to fall into a pit. This seems to
me like allowing a child to continue approaching a hot stove until he
suffers a burn, rather than pulling him away when he fails to respond to
a warning. There can be consequences which don't leave such deep scars,
and the parent is in a much better position to do this than is the

Richard Lee


97/06 From-> Bob Hall <>
Subject: Re: FL Club

At my high school we re-instituted the Spanish Club 3 years ago after a
lengthy hiatus.  I thing we will follow a schedule similar to the following
for next years activities.  We have found that, for a variety of reasons,
our club members become somewhat disinterested during our second semester.
Could be because of the pending AP and IB exams.  Anyway here is our
proposed schedule of meetings:

September or October=Intra-cultural feast (Spanish, German and French food)
followed by our Bilingual Battle (a series of silly games which require the
student to use his language skills to compete).

November= Treasure Hunt for the Spanish Club only and Thanksgiving baskets
for the needy.

December=Christmas baskets for the needy.  A movie night (usually something

January=No activity (finals and the beginning of the new semester)

February=Macho Nacho and movie night.  We show another movie and I make what
have become 'school wide' famous nachos.

March=This year we had a student who traveled to Spain give us a guide tour
of her experiences.

April=Election of next year's leaders and cartoons in Spanish.

May=Activities have not been well attended because of the aforementioned exams.



97/06 From->         Irene Moon <>
Subject:      Spanish Club Activities

Hi Linda,
Here's a list of some of the activities we do in Spnaish Club:

1) Fall: Welcome Party for all Foreign Ex. Students attending our HS.
         They introduce themselves, tell about their  homes, families,
Schools. Tell who they're living with, what they've done since arriving
etc. We have Cake and Pop.

2) Restaurant trips to Don Pancho's, Chi Chi's etc.

3) Adopt/correspond with a child in Sp Speaking country. Usual cost
about $2

4) Cascarrones workshop in Spring where kids decorate egg shells and
fill with confetti. Breaking over someone's head brings good luck. WE
don't allow it at school ;-)

5) Adopt a family for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. Our school is big
on service. We get name from local agency and stock pantry with
staples and items for these holiday dinners. At Christmas, the students also
bring in gifts for the family's children. They usually   give us a wish list.
Kids go together by pairs or classes to get items. Sometimes we appoint a
committee to go shopping. Officers usually deliver and oftentimes
we have two cardloads. Kids love doing this. Make sure that you prepare a
list in advance and have kids sign up. That way you don't have 49 cans of
soup, 10 boxes of jello etc. Know what I mean? We focus on staples and
things that kids snack on which are often expensive: cereal, granola bars etc
Some of my kids also get candles, pretty napkins for the holidays, a couple
of times a floral center piece  etc. just a few little extras.

6) Cartoon and Popcorn nite

7) Guest Speakers (once we had a lady who went to amazon rain forest)

8) Banquet: we award certificates for all A's (members only); we also
award a Don Quijote, Dulcinea, Sancho Prize (usually a poster and fan for
Dulcinea). Every Sp 3 class votes on the 3 people MOST  LIKE DQ, Sancho
etc. and these are recognized at Banquet and    results kept secret until

9) Nearby university has an AMIGOS chapter where Univ. students spend
summer in C. A. with medical teams...sometimes they come and talk to

We elect a PRES, VP, SEC., TRES. Students must have a petition with 25
names on it to be considered. This has worked well. Kids willing to work
are officers, not just popularity contest. We also have a "Meet the

on nite of vote. Dues are $3 and we have a fund raiser with student
council, sponsoring a dance.

Irene Moon


97/07 From-> Carolyn Hackney <>
Subject: Re: games data - Setup

Since Nan wrote in that she had received numerous questions about
setting up the games database, and in case there are others who would
like step-by-step information on setting up the games database with
Excel, here it is for Windows 95, Excel 7.0:

1. Save the attachment as text.
2. Open Excel. Under File, click Open.
3. Browse to the folder where the database is saved. Select it and click OK.
4. The Text-Import Wizard pops up in Excel, with 3 screens.
Screen 1, select Delimited and Next
Screen 2, select Tab and Next
Screen 3, select General and Finish. (These are probably already
selected for you.)
5. You should now be in Excel with the text in columns, but some words
run into other columns.
6. Select a column with a long word or words. From the Menu, choose
Format, then Column, then Auto Fit. Excel will automatically make the
column the right width.
7. Repeat for the other columns.
8. From File menu, Save your database.

To Filter, or select certain categories:

1. Highlight a column by selecting the top letter (A, B, etc.)
2. From Menu, click Data, then Filter, then Autofilter
3. The highlighted column's first cell will now have a small arrow. Click
the arrow and scroll for a list of subjects to choose. Select a subject and
click. You will see a list of only clothes, or vocabulary, or whatever else
you selected.
4. To Remove the autofilter for a column, repeat step 1 and 2. 5. You
can filter any column with this method to quickly find the subject,
material, etc. that you want to use.

Don't be afraid to experiment! Just be sure that you have saved your
data first.



97/08 From-> Aurora Martinez <>
Subject: Re: Activity rug for household vocab

Hi Irene,
Any books that are available at my husband's store are remainder and/or
otherwise closeout-type books, and the store doesn't do any special
ordering. I'm sure you can track down the publisher's phone # or e-mail
on the 'net and see about ordering some. If you have trouble finding
info, let me know and I'll run it through the computer at Waldenbooks (I
work there as a contingent, e.g. about once a month).

Well, okay, maybe I've just got a bad case of new-teacher anxiety
regarding my ecology unit work. I'll pull it back out and give it
another once-over. We'll be moving this week, so it'll be hectic, but
I'll find an hour or so to do the project. I'm also at the point where I
must start actually writing out some course objectives and making some
hard copy of lesson plan ideas that've been floating around in my head.
So SUMMER is over for me! It's work time!

Un abrazo,


97/10 From-> Marjorie Seely <>
Subject: Re: Games for really small class

>My wife has a tiny French II class--two 10th graders and one ninth grader.
>Most of the games which she or I would play with a normal-sized class just
>don't work. Does anyone know games suitable for 3 level-two students?
>--B. Leslie

I realize you may be looking for short class activity-= type games, but
I hope these suggestions will be helpful anyway. Has she tried Cluedo,
Scrabble, or French Cultural Trivia? These are available from Teacher's
Discovery and Gessler and really are worth the investment.

Margie Seely


97/10 From-> Dee Friel <>
Subject: Re: Games for really small class

This size group would be ideal for Scrabble or some sort of teacher or
student made games about culture, sites to visit, history, etc. Do you
have a Trivial Pursuit game? I think you can get a book of French
Cultural Trivia from Teacher's Discovery (1-800-TEACHER). Use those
categories in place of the ones on the game board. Students can make (as
a project) some kind of game -- have a Tour de France race throughout
France; French wine country, French cheeses (I don't know -- I am not a
French teacher); make up a game where the players have to travel around
the globe to all the French speaking countries and collect "items" on
the i.e. trips to these countries.

Board races would also work -- you could use any type of subject.

The flyswatter game would work -- just use 3 flyswatters rather than 2.

Make a "Jeopardy" type game -- there are 3 players on the show.

If there are 2 girls and one boy (or vice versa):

1) have the one pretend to be a contestant on a show and the other two
can be the "dates" (like on the old "Dating Game" -- I used to watch
this religiously when I was a child).

2) Have the two be panelists and the other the guest like on "What's My
Line?" -- I remember watching it when I was little, but I don't remember
all the details -- perhaps some of our more learned (notice I didn't use
OLDER -- I feel I am getting too close to that category myself)
colleagues could fill us in.

3) The one person could pretend to be a famous French person that they
have studied and the other two have to ask questions to figure out who
it is (then they could trade off being the guest and the panelist).

Perhaps there are some pre-made games you could invest in from companies
like Carlex or Teacher's Discovery. My kids like BINGO even if there are
only 2 in the group!

Dee Friel


97/06 From->
Subject:      Tee-shirt activity

        For my two conversation classes this year we did an activity in
which the students decorated tee-shirts.   I announced to the students
on a Friday to purchase a tee-shirt for class the following week.  (I
did not tell them why.)  I knew that many members of the class would
forget to do this over a weekend.  On Monday I gave each student a paper
with an outline of a tee-shirt (front and back) and told them to design
a saying in French that we could put on the shirt.  It was interesting
that many of them related their designs and sayings to an event that had
been mentioned in the classroom.  As a group we corrected the grammar
and made suggestions for further decoration.

On Tuesday everyone had a tee-shirt (by the way I stored the shirts that
were brought in on Monday in a cabinet in my room).  I had bought fabric
markers in a variety of colors at a local crafts store and on Tuesday
the students decorated the shirts.  Half of the class period on
Wednesday was used to finish this activity.  (We did have discussions in
French while they were doing the art work....)

Then, I asked the class members to put on the shirts and we went outside
to a courtyard.  I had the students pose for a few pictures - front and
back views, naturally.  The shirts were then placed on display in my
classroom and my other French classes voted on the two best tee-shirts.
(The designer was not identified so as to avoid a popularity vote.)
The winners received a small token as a remembrance of this activity.

The members of my other classes wanted to do this activity, but
I told them it was reserved for the conversation classes.  I do believe
that some activities should be reserved for specific classes... these
are like my signature activities for these groups....the students do
look forward to them.

My students really enjoy doing these types of activities in
class.  I hope that my description is clear and that your students will
enjoy this activity also.

        Pat Freund, Chairperson:  Foreign Languages


95/10 From -> Gertrude Moskowitz <GMOSKOWI@VM.TEMPLE.EDU>
Subject: Affective/humanistic activities

I'd appreciate hearing from people who have used affective (humanistic)
activities in their teaching. By this I mean activities designed to (1)
help students understand and accept themselves and others in the class,
(2) build closer and harmonious relationships among students, and (3)
enhance their self-esteem. Often the activities are based on students'
interests, needs, and experiences. If you have used such activities,
what was the experience like for you and for your students? Did you use
them outside of the U.S. or with classes with different nationalities?
How did that go? What language(s) and age group(s) were you teaching?
Please share any anecdotes and human interest stories that took place. I
look forward to hearing from you.

Gertrude Moskowitz

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