QUICK, EASY, AND ENGAGING ACTIVITIES

Beth Hanlon, OFLA Executive Recorder and Editor of The Cardinal
Spanish Teacher, Oberlin High School

We have all had those days when we need something quick, easy, and engaging for our students that requires little to no prep.  Here is a list of some of my “go tos!”  Please note that my descriptions are what I do in my class, which might be a variation of the original idea.  I am providing the source of the original idea for your reference.  

1) The Marker Game (Mis Clases Locas: https://misclaseslocas.com/quick-tip-marker-game/

Materials needed: markers, list of questions (you can make these up on the spot)

Time needed: 10-20 minutes

This is a great review game!  You can divide your class into two teams to face off against each other, or you can divide them into pairs who only compete against each other.  I prefer the pairs and give them a Post It to keep track of their own points.  Each pair receives a marker that they put on the floor between them.  I read a statement about whatever we are currently working on in class.  If the statement is true, students want to be the first in their pair to grab the marker to earn a point.  If the statement is false, the goal is that students realize this and do not grab the marker.  If someone does grab it for a false statement, they lose a point.

2) The Unfair Game
(The Comprehensible Classroom: https://comprehensibleclassroom.com/2015/10/27/the-unfair-game/

Materials needed: The Unfair Game presentation, list of questions (you can make them up on the spot)

Time needed: Entire class period

I like using this game for review, especially on Fridays!  In a nutshell, you divide students into groups and each group takes a turn selecting a number for a question and then answering the question.  If they answer correctly, they can either keep the points or donate the points to another team.  The catch is that the points are hidden until they decide what to do with them, and the points vary.  The points for answering correctly might be -10 or +20!  I always laugh when a student exclaims “That’s not fair!”  Please note that the presentation gives you space to type the questions in advance.  If you are pressed for time, you don’t need to!  

3) Running Dictation (The Comprehensible Classroom: https://comprehensibleclassroom.com/2011/06/29/running-dictation/ and Mis Clases Locas: https://misclaseslocas.com/running-dictation-in-spanish-class/)  

Materials needed: paper for students to write on, list of sentences (you can make these up on the spot)

Time needed: Time varies depending on what you do with the dictation 

You will need to create sentences about whatever you are currently discussing in class, such as a reader.  I create 7-10 sentences that I tape in my hallway.  (I make sure to email my hallway colleagues to let them know what periods my students will be in the hallway.)  I divide students into groups of three.  One student is the runner, another is the writer, and the third student is the artist.  The runner has the responsibility of going into the hallway to find the sentences, memorize them, and then return to their group for the writer to write them down.  The writer needs to make sure to get the whole sentence, including spelling.  They might need to ask the runner questions about the sentence, which might require the runner to return to the hallway to double check the sentence.  Once they have the sentence correct, the artist illustrates the sentence on the paper.  I usually have an extension activity after they have all the sentences.  For example, they might need to put the sentences in chronological order based on something we read or they might need to decide if the sentences are true or false.

4) Flipgrid (www.flipgrid.com

Materials needed: Flipgrid teacher account, Google Classroom (or other LMS)

Time needed: 10 minutes

This is great if you would like to collect a speaking sample from your students!  It can be used as a pre-assessment to see what students already know about a topic or after you have covered a topic.  All you have to do is log into your Flipgrid account, create a topic, and post the link to the topic in your class’s Google Classroom or wherever you are able to post links for your students.

For example, my Spanish 2 students just finished a chapter in our current reader.  I had them create a storyboard with 4 illustrations from the chapter.  They then described their four pictures on Flipgrid for me.

5) Quick Interviews

Materials needed: Scrap paper, interactive board

Time needed: 5-15 minutes

There are times when my lesson finishes a little more quickly than I anticipated.  When this happens, I hand out scrap paper to students and then write a question on the board for them to copy.  For example, if it is Friday, the question might be (in Spanish), What are you going to do this weekend?  The question can relate to something we just discussed in class, such as, “What is your opinion about ___?”  I make sure students know how to answer the question and have it written down on their paper.  Then, I tell them they need to talk to a certain number of people (depending on how much time we have left).  They get up and start asking their classmates the question and record the names of people they talk to and their responses.  When everyone is finished, we discuss all the answers.  I usually try to go around the room and ask about each student.  Anyone who spoke to them can tell me what they said when interviewed.