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December 15, 2011 / supersenora

Craftiness and teaching

Santa dropped off my present early and I’ve been checking it for quality control issues.  I decided to use the Cricut cutting machine to make some games for my classroom.  While I like using technology, there is something fun about playing board games, too.  I used to scrapbook a lot and have all kinds of things handy, but you can do this with a computer or index cards, too.  Here’s a glimpse of the materials: file folders, index cards or card stock, glue stick, scissors, and a corner rounder.  Later, I realized that printing on mailing labels is much more convenient.

Step 1: Determine the topic.

We are working on preterite v. imperfect tense in Spanish 3 and on hace + time expressions in Spanish 2.  Those are good topics right now.

Step 2: Write the activity.  

I tend to approach games as an alternate way to do the translations or answer the questions I would give in class.  I wrote a list of sample sentences for Spanish 3 to complete.  Each sentence is numbered.

Step 3: Print out the questions and make copies.

I printed out the worksheet and then opened a new Word document.  I selected a label template for 2″x4″ mailing labels.  I typed each question onto a label.  Make sure you put the number of the question/sentence onto the card and that it matches the handout.  At this point, I didn’t have any label paper to print on.  I just printed out the questions and made five sets of copies (so up to five groups can play).  I used the office paper cutter to trim the cards down to size.  Since I was feeling particularly crafty, I snipped all the corners with a corner rounder.  It just makes them look a little more professional.

Step 4: Attach the questions to a colorful paper or index card.

I want the game to be visually appealing, so I cut out larger rectangles on the Cricut.  This proved to be tedious.  When I made the cards for Spanish 2, I just trimmed the corners of index cards.  My toddlers had a great time handing me cards to snip. Bonus family activity!

Step 5: Make the game board.

Last year I made several game boards using the computer.  I used Smart Notebook software and laid out a path of hexagons around the screen.  I then printed the slides in color, glued them into the folders, and asked the librarian to laminate them.  This year I wanted something more colorful and bigger.  I had some die cut squares from my scrapbooking years.  I used these to create the path of the game.  I used a green circle for start and a red one for the end.  I wrote the instructions on an index card and pasted it into the folder.

Be the first player to reach the red circle to win.  Answer your question or complete your sentence to move.  Are you going to win?

Since I give the instructions in Spanish, I tried to keep my words simple and short.  When the glue was dried, I asked the librarian to laminate the boards and cards.


The finished product:

The rules:

  1. Player 1 selects a card.  Player one answers the question or completes the task on the card.  If she answers correctly, she rolls the die and moves.
  2. Play proceeds this way with all players.
  3. Each group has a copy of the answers so that they may check the work.
  4. Each player has a copy of the questions so that she work out the answer on paper if needed.
  5. If students cannot play nicely, speak Spanish in their groups, or keep the volume under control, I send them back to their seats to work individually.

I’m really pleased with all the color.  I also like that it looks a bit nicer than just paper and glue.  I would love to buy games, but they are expensive and you always need multiple copies so that all of the kids can play.  This board layout is easy to adapt to other topics.  I simply made a new set of questions to use.  I store my questions in a plastic shoe box. Wal Mart carries plastic shoe boxes for $1.  They stack nicely and are mostly transparent.  I had to stay home with the kids today since the sitter canceled and my husband couldn’t take the girls.  I really want to know how the students liked the game.

November 26, 2011 / supersenora

Geeked out and ready to go

¡Hola a todos!  This school year marks a turning point for me in my career.  I’ve decided to be more proactive about finding people and information that keep me psyched to be a teacher.  Last week I read this article about using QR codes with an art/English language project.  I’ve been thinking about how to adapt that to my Spanish classroom.  Spanish III has a unit on art coming up.  I think I might post samples around the room with QR codes linking to resources.  The students would then have to fill out a worksheet or study guide with relevant information.

Any ideas besides worksheets? We’ll be reviewing comparisons and I will have them compare the styles and colors, etc….  What else?