Category Archives: Activities and Games

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice French and Spanish 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

Novice Level Foreign Language Speaking : From Scaffolded to Interpersonal Dialog

Novice Level Foreign (World) Language Speaking : From Scaffolded to Interpersonal Dialog (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comNovice learners are often intimated to begin using a new foreign language that they are learning.  One activity that I do with them begins with the class co-creating a dialog that uses many of the functional chunks, song lyrics and vocabulary words that they have learned.  We purposefully leave out some information that students add in later based on personal information or choices.

Once this is done, groups of 2 students pair up to practice the dialog.  For some added fun I often let them use puppets and they can use a funny voice.  This helps to break down any inhibitions that they.  After practicing with the written dialog for a little while, groups continue working with the dialog without the text.  They then switch partners and continue communication interpersonally without the scaffolding of the written dialog.  The questions and answers often change with each new partner, but communication stays in the target language.

Online Interactive Speaking and Writing Activity for Foreign Language Practice

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 6.11.49 AMOn Wheel Decide, teachers can type in the words that they want displayed on the wheel and on each click the wheel spins and lands on a random word.  There are so many uses for this online tool.  Fill in verbs and students write or say a sentence; type in vocabulary words and students write sentences or say a sentence in small groups or pairs; type in topics for pairs or small groups to use as speaking prompts; type in student names for setting up groups…so many possibilities.

The teacher can even save the wheels that he/she creates for future use.  It takes only minutes to create a wheel and you will be using it instantly.  And the best part is that it’s free.

 

 

 

 

Take a spin of this wheel that I created to do a review activity with a 7th grade class.

This wheel is from an activity with Spanish verbs.

 

Foreign Language Verb Form or Vocabulary Card Game-New Twist on Memory

This is a fun and interactive  activity that students play in a group of 2, 3 or 4. It is an inventive twist on classic memory.  I call it “The Games Goes On.”  You’ll see why.  I typically do this with 20 pairs (40 cards total).

Foreign (World) Language Verb Form or Vocabulary Card Game-Updated Memory (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.com-Separate cards into two piles, picture cards and word cards (or subject/infinitive and verb form cards). On one side of the board, place the picture cards (or subject/infinitive and verb form cards) face down, one in each box, so that the numbers are covered.  The remaining cards go face-down in a pile on the “cards” box.

-On the other side of the board, place the word cards (or verb form cards) face down, one in each box, so that the numbers are covered.  The remaining cards go face-down on the in a pile on the “cards” box.

-Each player picks up two cards, one from each side of the board.  If the cards match the player keeps them and adds up the points that were under the two cards and keeps a running total of points throughout the game. For speaking practice the player should say the word (or verb form) or use it in a sentence. If the cards don’t match they are returned to their spots and play continues with the next player.

Foreign Language Verb Form or Vocabulary Card Game-New Twist on Memory (French, Spanish, World Language)-When a player gets a match he takes one card from each pile in the middle of the board and puts them (without looking at them) on the empty spaces and has an additional turn. This is the reason for the game being called “The Game Goes On”. This continues until the cards run out. Be sure to keep the words on one side of the board and the pictures on the other. The player with the most points after all the cards have been used wins.

You can download complete version of this activity below:

Spanish Grammar:

Spanish Vocabulary:

French Grammar:

French Vocabulary:

Running Dictation in the Foreign Language Classroom

This is a fun an interactive way for students to practice writing vocabulary, verb forms or sentence.  The complexity of the activity can be easily increased or decreased based on the  language level of the students.

Running Dictation in the Foreign (World) Language (French, Spanish) www.wlteacher.wordpress.comOn one side of the room, set up clip boards with pictures of vocabulary, subject/infinitive pairs or full sentences.  Number the items on the paper. Cover the paper with a colored piece of paper.  I use a different color on each board so that groups know which board is theirs.

On the other side of the room, line up chairs with another clipboard that has the numbers of the items on the other sheet with a blank line for writing.

Students work in pairs (or groups of three). One student begins sitting in  the chair with the clipboard and a pencil.  When you begin the activity, the second students runs to the clipboard on the other side of the room, lifts the colored paper and begins with number one.  He/she memorizes the picture (if doing the activity with vocabulary), the correct verb form or the sentence.  He/she then runs back to the student in the chair and says what the word, verb form or sentence is and the student in the chair writes it on the paper.  They then switch rolls and continue until all the lines are filled.

A Balanced Approach to Fluency and Accuracy in the Foreign Language Classroom

The new wave of communicative language teaching focuses more on fluency, which is a great improvement from the past, but my teaching experience and research have taught me that there is a place for activities that focus on fluency and activities that focus on accuracy in the foreign language classroom.

A Balanced Approach to Fluency and Accuracy in the Foreign (World) Language Classroom (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comFrom time to time I like to have students engage in activities and games that focus on language forms, even if the focus is not as communicative as I may want.  I have found that this is an important step in building the skills that students need to communicate.  Some of these activities include Dice GamesCard GamesSpinner Games, Verb Form Games, and Powerpoint Games.

Here is my rational

Fluency is the natural use of language that occurs when a speaker takes part in meaningful interaction that maintains communication despite inaccuracy, and requires negotiation of meaning and addresses misunderstandings.

Accuracy, on the other hand, focuses on correct use of language and structures.

Traditional teaching methods have focused more attention on accuracy of language at the expense of fluency. In the communicative language classroom instruction should provide a balanced approach that gives students opportunities to build fluency, while at the same time tending to the accuracy of their language, so that incorrect (inaccurate) language forms are not fossilized

Foreign Language Vocabulary and Verb Form Scavenger Hunt

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 5.21.28 PMThere are two versions of this activity.  In version 1, students begin with a word and find the picture.  In version 2, students begin with a picture and find the word.  This activity can also be done with verb forms, where students begin with a subject/infinitive and find the verb form, or they begin with the verb form and find the subject/infinitive.

Foreign (World) Language Vocabulary and Verb Scavenger Hunt. (French, Spanish) www.wlteacher.wordpress.comForeign (World) Language Vocabulary and Verb Scavenger Hunt. (French, Spanish) www.wlteacher.wordpress.com

Version 1 : Groups choose a word to begin on one of the slips of paper around the room.  Groups can begin with any word because the hunt will make a loop. Students search the slips of paper around the room for the picture that corresponds to the word that they chose.  When they find the picture there is a number under the picture.  They find this number on their sheet and write the word next to the number.  Groups then continue the activity with the word to the right of the picture that they found.  When all of the numbers on the sheet are identified the scavenger hunt is complete.

Foreign (World) Language Vocabulary and Verb Scavenger Hunt. (French, Spanish) www.wlteacher.wordpress.com

Version 2 : This works the same as the version above, but students begin with a picture and find the correspond word.

Foreign (World) Language Vocabulary and Verb Scavenger Hunt. (French, Spanish) www.wlteacher.wordpress.comYou can download full versions of these activities below:

Spanish Vocabulary

Spanish Verb Forms

French  Vocabulary

French Verb Forms