Category Archives: Activities and Games

Foreign Language Speaking Activity, Easily Adapted to Proficiency Levels

This activity gives students a chance to express themselves confidently at their current proficiency level.  It is easily adapted by simply prompting students as to how they should speak (text type).

Foreign (World) Language Speaking Activity, Based onProficiency Levels (French, Spanish) www.wlteacher.wordpress.comTypically I have students work in pairs or in groups of 3. Begin by setting up a sheet with 12 categories on it that are number 1-12.  Provide 2 dice along with this paper.  Give each pair or group a small bag (not transparent) with small slips of colored paper along with a sheet that has a point value assigned to each color. For fun I also include a “Zut” or “Caramba” color which has no points assigned. You could also  put slips of parer with point values in the bag, but I like to keep it more engaging and colorful.  You can project the category sheet that the entire class can reference, but again I prefer to keep the activity centered in the group, so I provide an individual reference sheet.  The plastic frames that can hold a sheet of paper have come in very handy for me with various activities.

Foreign Language Speaking Activity, Easily Adapted to Proficiency LevelsStudents begin by each individually rolling 1 or both dice and attend to the category of the number.  If done correctly (group consensus), the student chooses a colored slip out of the bag and keeps a running total of points.  He/She puts the slip back in the bag.  After a predetermined amount of play time, the “winner” is the students with the highest points.

The teacher can easily adapt the speaking to the proficiency level of the students by using the tasks/functions and text types by ACTFL proficiency level.  You can learn more about these asks/functions and text types on the ACTFL OPI website.  Be sure to download the OPI Familiarization Manual.

If the students are at the novice level, they will give one word answers or short phrases, most likely giving an example of something in that category.  If they are at the intermediate level they can speak using a series of sentences or be required to ask a question of another player about the topic.  If students are at the advanced level they can speak at length in paragraph form.  The categories at this level will need to be more complex in nature, perhaps pertaining to world events or characters and plot in a story.

An Exercise in Foreign Language Circumlocution

The 100th day of school is a very important day in many elementary schools and there are lots of activities to celebrate, all based on the number 100. Each year, I challenge my 3rd graders to list 100 words and expressions that they know in the target language in 20 minutes. I give pairs of students a card with a category and they brainstorm words and expressions. It’s a great way for them to use category words in preparation for circumlocution.

An Exercise in Foreign Language Circumlocution (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comWe then write the list. I always hold off on using the words for numbers, unless they are needed to reach 100. We did not need to resort to them this year.  It is all about the context.  Rather than listing words for fruit, ask students to tell you which fruits are their favorite, or to describe the colors.  Instead of asking for examples of verbs, have students tell you what they like to do on the weekends with their friends, and follow it up with when and where.  Once they communicate in context the words and expressions keep coming.

Spanish & French Verb Tense and Sentence Writing Powerpoint Activities

It’s one thing for students to learn verb forms, it’s another for them to know the meaning and be able to actively use them in a sentence.  To help with this, I created these verb tense (form) and sentence writing activities that are interactive.  I use Powerpoint to keep the process moving and engaging.

Spanish & French Verb Tense and Sentence Writing Powerpoint Activities wlteacher.wordpress.comThe teachers begins each slide with a single click that produces a number written in words on the bottom of the screen. Students find the digit in the grid and write the subject and correct verb form based on the column and row of the digit.

A circle appears and begins to disappear (20 seconds for the first 20 slides) during which time students write the subject and correct verb form. They can write this on a sheet of paper or on mini-white boards. The board is covered with a “Fin” square after 20 seconds.

A second click reveals the digit and the subject and verb so that students can verify that they found the correct number and the correct subject and verb form.

After practicing this activity on the first 20 slides, students can then write complete sentences on the next 20 slides by writing the subject, correct verb form and an answer to the question word that accompanies the infinitive. The timer on these slides is set to 30 seconds to allow more time to write the sentences. Students can then read examples of the sentences that they wrote.

Spanish & French Verb Tense and Sentence Writing Powerpoint Activities

The teacher is free to use as many or as few of the subject/verb slides before moving on to the subject/verb/question slides.

You can download over 25 versions of these activities in French and Spanish by clicking the links.

Topics include:

  • Present tense (regular, irregular, stem-change, accent-change verbs)
  • Past Tenses (preterit, present perfect, passé composé)
  • Present progressive
  • Simple future
  • Conditional
  • Subjunctive
  • Reflexive Verbs

Foreign Language Writing Activity: Students Use Vocabulary in Context

The importance of teaching and learning vocabulary in context is spreading.  Gone (hopefully) are the days of teaching words in isolation and out of context.  We need to keep this in mind as well when students write.  I am guilty of asking students to “write each vocabulary word in a sentence” when the sentences are in isolation and don’t follow any sort of logic or context.

Foreign (World) Language Writing Activity: Vocabulary in Context (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comWhen would anyone need to write like this?  The answer is never, or only in a foreign language class.  So, I needed to change my writing prompts to make sure that students are writing with a context.  This tends to be a bit more manageable with students that have a higher proficiency, but I wanted to make sure that I was instilling the concept and skill of writing in context with my younger (lower proficiency) students early on so that this would become the norm as they gain in proficiency.

Here is an example of a writing assignment that I do with my elementary students to scaffold them into writing in context.  It is a foldable that represents a house.  They begin by “building” their house, which is simply folding a piece of paper in half, then folding in each side.  Students then cut two lines on each flap and glue on a roof. Next, they write the names of rooms in the house (and the yard) on the flaps, which represent doors or windows.

Foreign (World) Language Writing Activity: Vocabulary in Context (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comStudents then write six sentences stating what they like or don’t like to do in each room in the house.  This gives them an opportunity to use all the verbs they have learned in context along with the rooms in the house.  Once I go over the draft sentences with each student, they write the sentence inside the room.

Foreign (World) Language Writing Activity: Vocabulary in Context (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comFinally, students cut out a picture of the activity and glue that inside the room as well.  This is a great way to reinforce the meaning of the words in the sentence without resorting to translation.

Foreign (World) Language Writing Activity: Vocabulary in Context (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.com When finished, these can be used to have a conversation with students where they read the sentences of other students and respond to react to what they read.

Foreign (World) Language Writing Activity: Vocabulary in Context (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.com Foreign (World) Language Writing Activity: Vocabulary in Context (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.com

Lots of possibilities with other concepts.  I’m just getting starting.  Please comment on other ideas.

Foreign Language Creative Writing with an Artistic Touch : The Cinquain

Cinquin: Foreign (World Language Creative Writing (Frencch, Spanish) www.wlteacher.wordpress.comStudents are more motivated to write when the topic is of personal interest.  I recently saw a colleague, Katya Hottenstein, working with a Spanish class on writing short poems.  The poem was the classic Cinquian, but she took it a step further and the students created artistic representations of their poems.  The topics were chosen by students and the artistic rendering was left up to the writer.  Cinquain poems are typically written in one of these forms.

  • Line 1: One word
  • Line 2: Two words
  • Line 3: Three words
  • Line 4: Four words
  • Line 5: One word
  • Line 1: A noun
  • Line 2: Two adjectives
  • Line 3: Three -ing words
  • Line 4: A phrase
  • Line 5: Another word for the noun
  • Line 1: Two syllables
  • Line 2: Four syllables
  • Line 3: Six syllables
  • Line 4: Eight syllables
  • Line 5: Two syllables

Here are some examples of the creative writing projects that the students created.

Foreign Language Creative Writing with an Artistic Touch : The Cinquain

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Grammar Topics (Dice Game)

This fun and engaging speaking activity is a great opportunity for students to practice language structures.  These activities focus on grammar points and are similar to the vocabulary activities in a previous post.

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Grammar Topics (Dice Game) French and Spanish wlteacher.wordpress.comStudents can do this activity in groups of 2 or 3. Each group needs a copy of the game board, one die, and 36 bingo chips.

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Grammar Topics (Dice Game)Players take turns rolling the die twice. The first number is the vertical number and the second number is the horizontal number. The player locates the box at the intersection of the two numbers and says the correct form of the subject and verb in the box. For more of a challenge players can be required to use the verb form in a sentence.  There are also possibilities for other grammar points such as adjectives, possessive and demonstrative adjectives.

If correct, the player scores the number of points in the box. Once a box is used the player covers the box with a bingo chip and that box can’t be used again. If a player rolls the die and the corresponding box is taken he/she forfeits the turn.

Play continues between players until all the squares are covered. The winner will be the player with the most points once the board is covered.

You can download complete version of these activities in French and Spanish on the topics listed below.

Spanish Language Structure Activities

French Language Structure Activities

Topics:

  • Regular Verbs
  • Irregular Verbs
  • Present Tense
  • Past Tenses
  • Future Tense
  • Demonstrative Adjectives
  • Possessive Adjectives

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Foreign Language Vocabulary (Dice Game)

This fun and engaging speaking activity is a great opportunity for students to practice vocabulary.Students can do this activity in groups of 2 or 3. Each group needs a copy of the game board, one die, and 36 bingo chips.

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Foreign (World) Language Vocabulary (French, Spanish) wlteacher.worpress.com

Players take turns rolling the die twice. The first number is the vertical number and the second number is the horizontal number. The player locates the box at the intersection of the two numbers and identifies the picture in the box. For higher proficiency levels players can use word in a sentence.

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Foreign (World) Language Vocabulary (French, Spanish) wlteacher.worpress.comIf correct, the player scores the number of points in the box. Once a box is used the player covers the box with a bingo chip and that box can’t be used again. If a player rolls the die and the corresponding box is taken he/she forfeits the turn.

Play continues between players until all the squares are covered. The winner will be the player with the most points once the board is covered.

You can download complete version of these activities in French and Spanish on the topics listed below.  Take a look at this post if you are looking for this activity with more of focus on language structures.

Spanish Vocabulary Activities

French Vocabulary Activities

Topics:

  • Animals
  • Classroom
  • Clothing
  • Colors
  • Fruits & Vegetables
  • Rooms & Furniture
  • City Places
  • Food & Drinks
  • Jobs and Professions
  • Transportation
  • Days, Months, Date
  • Time
  • Numbers 1-50
  • Numbers 1-000
  • Numbers 1-1,000

Practicing Numbers and Math Vocabulary in a Foreign Language

More practice with numbers in a foreign language, but now it’s time to introduce math vocabulary and have students do some math in the foreign language.  I use UNO cards for this, but you can write numbers on index cards or use regular playing cards (minus the face cards with the ace being  number 1).

Practicing Numbers and Math Vocabulary in a Foreign Language (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comI usually have students work in groups of two and we play on the floor with the cards spread out, face down, in the middle of the circle.  Before beginning, decide what type of math problem it will be, addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.  I usually stick to addition for more novice students multiplication with more advanced students.

Group choose two random cards and writes out their math problem (on a mini white board or piece of paper).  We go around the circle and each groups reads their math problem in the target language.  Once all groups read, they return the cards to the pile, mix them up, and choose two new cards and repeat the writing and reading of the new problem.  At the end of each round, groups add their new total to their previous toal and say what the new total is.  They keep a running total of their points.  The numbers can get rather high, particularly when multiplying.

Students get excited to have the highest number.  When done, the group with the highest total is named the winner.

Foreign Language Listening Activity with Numbers

Students can write the numbers 0-9 on index cards to do this activity, or you can use the cards from an UNO deck (digit cards only).  Students take one of each number (0-9) and lay out the cards in front of them.  Students can do this in pairs or individually.

Foreign (World) Language Listening Activity with Numbers (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comThe teacher says a number and the students build that number using the cards in front of them.  The teacher can easily do a quick check and redirect any students who may have an incorrect number (in the target language of course).  Depending on the level of the students, numbers can go as high as 9 billion.  I usually stick to numbers under 100 for beginners or in the hundreds and thousands for more advanced students, but it could be a good challenge to go higher.  Just keep in mind that numbers can’t be repeated (22, 336) since there is only one of each digit.  Of course, the teacher can provide multiples of each digit, but I find that there are to many cards to manage.  It’s great when students get the hang of it and want to say the numbers for their classmates to build.

Foreign Language Card Games to Practice Verb Forms and Vocabulary

Students enjoy this communicative activity that gives them lots of opportunities to practice vocabulary and verb forms.  This game is based on the classic French game Le Jeu de Sept Familles (The Game of Seven Families). The goal of the game is to collect the six cards (a half dozen) with the same name. The deck contains 7 “families” which are identified by 7 names in the vocabulary version or 7 infinitives in the verb form version. Each “family” has 6 members (6 pictures or the 6 conjugations of the infinitive).

Foreign (World) Language Card Games to Practice Verb Forms and Vocabulary (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comBegin by distributing 6 cards to each player. The rest of the pile remains face down in the middle. Player 1 starts the game by asking any player if he has a card (picture or verb form) that he needs to complete a family (Half Dozen). The player may only ask for cards for a name that he has in his hands.

If the player asked has the card, he will give it to player 1. Player 1 will ask again. If the player asked does not have the card, he will say “Pioche” or “Recoge” and player 1 will take a card from the pile, and play will continue with the next player.

When a player collects all 6 pictures or all 6 forms of a verb, he announces it to the group and puts the cards down for everyone to see. When there are no more cards in the pile, the game continues without players picking up new cards. The player with the most names completed at the end of the game wins.

You can download full versions of these activities below:

Spanish Vocabulary

Spanish Verb Forms

French  Vocabulary

French Verb Forms