Too often, language classrooms have students sitting in rows at their desks, memorizing vocabulary terms and grammar rules. However, Spanish is not a dry language that’s useful only in the classroom. Rather, it’s a vibrant language that students can increasingly use to strengthen social ties and better serve others in the workforce.
Spanish language instruction should bring the same feeling of vibrancy and relevance to your classroom. In this article, we offer four games you can use to make language learning the fun activity it’s supposed to be!
Conjugating verbs in another language (or any language, really) can be difficult and frustrating for students. To help relieve some of the pressure of learning verb conjugations in Spanish, try playing Conjugation Dominoes.
This activity from The Spanish Playground helps students learn their verb endings more effectively. In the game, students match pronouns with their corresponding conjugated verbs, which will help them understand conjugation patterns.
To play this game, follow these instructions:
- Print out two sets of cards that feature a blend of nouns, pronouns, and verbs with different conjugations.
- If two students are playing, each student draws four dominoes. If more than two are playing, each student draws three.
- The game begins with one player laying down any domino on the table.
- The next student then needs to match the domino on the table in either a pronoun–verb, pronoun–pronoun, or verb–verb combination. Pronoun–verb combinations start a new horizontal row. If a player can’t make any combinations on his or her turn, the player must draw a new domino from the pile.
- Whoever runs out of dominoes first wins! If no one runs out of dominoes but no more combinations can be played, the player with the fewest dominoes is the winner.
Spanish Vocabulary Bingo
Developing a vocabulary bank is a necessary part of learning a new language, and games can help students learn vocabulary words in a fun, low-stakes environment.
You can play Spanish vocabulary bingo in a variety of ways. Usually, students fill in the blocks of a blank grid with vocab terms from the current unit. Then you read vocab words aloud in English, and students must quickly translate from English to Spanish to fill in the correct blocks on their grids.
For more visual learners, you can change up the rules a bit. Instead of writing Spanish vocabulary words in the blank grid, students can draw scenes that signify the different words. You can then call out the vocab words in Spanish.
Pass the Chicken (Pasar el Pollo)
The goal of this activity is to get students thinking about Spanish words in a fast-paced environment. Although we recommend using a rubber chicken for this exercise, you can use any small item.
To play the game, students sit in a large circle and use their Spanish language skills to quickly pass the chicken. For example, as the game starts, you can tell the first student holding the chicken to name three colors in Spanish. Once the student does, he or she passes the chicken to the next student. Then you might tell the second student to name three ways of saying “hello” in Spanish, three different foods, or three different vehicles. The possibilities are endless.
You can take this game in several different directions depending on what your class is studying. However, keep in mind that some students may not like the on-the-spot aspect of the game. If students freeze up or provide incorrect information, open the game up for other students to help.