Archive | January, 2015

Highlighter Races

30 Jan

Highlighter races is an activity I learned during one of the twitter #langchats.  I love it!  I wish I could remember who to credit for the activity…

Create a word cloud with a word cloud site such as or   Do a screenprint and paste the cloud picture in a document.  You will just need one copy for each pair of students in the version that I use with my students.

The one I use for weather looks like this:  (I used, it is supposed to be a cloud and lightening)

weather hiliter race


This is a partner activity.  Each partner must have a different color highlighter.

Directions to students:  


  • Write your name in your color of highlighter on the handout.
  • We will be watching a video.  The first time you will watch the video and do nothing on the paper.  The second time you will highlight words on the paper.  Be careful, some words on the paper are not in the video.

This combines listening and reading together in one activity.  It is a great activity to use very soon after the students learn the vocabulary.  Because the words are in the cloud multiple time, students get a high sense of accomplishment.

Tips for teachers:


  • The video should be less than 3 minutes for optimal participation by students.
  • If using * you must enter any multiple words as one word (Ex: Hace sol = Hacesol)  Also, some accents do not show up in the finished image.
  • If using you can use a tilde for phrases (Ex: Hace sol = Hace~sol)
  • Include words that are not in the video so students do not just highlight everything.



*I use tagxedo because it includes the word multiple times allowing each student opportunities to be successful.


The weather video that I use with this race is:




  • Play “Word Race”:
  • Each pair uses Partner A’s paper first. Partner B sets aside his/her paper for now.
  • Teacher calls out a term in English.
  • The two partners race to cross out or highlight that term first on the paper. The student that marks the correct term first receives one point. If a student marks the wrong term, he or she loses one point.
  • Continue until many terms have been crossed out (not necessarily all of them!), then have Partner B pull out his or her sheet and play another round. The winner is the student with the most points at the end of both rounds.


  1.  “Word Race” with pictures:

Follow the directions above but instead of saying the words in English, have a slideshow set up to show images of the words.



Pop up Game

29 Jan


Students are divided into two even teams, and each student gets a number.  There will be two students with each number (one on each team).
Call out a question, and then state a number.
The student with that number to stand up first and call out the answer correctly gets a point for their team.
If there is a tie, they play rock, paper, scissors to see who wins.
Hand out numbered index cards to make sure they remember their number.  Have them switch numbers a couple of times during game play to  square off against someone else.

If you like, here is a Random Number Generator.  Just type in the number of students per team.

Apples to Apples for beginning students:

28 Jan

As always I am not sure where I go this idea.  I wish I could give credit…

Apples to apples is a great game but can be difficult for students who do not know as many words in the target language.  Plus, it can be time-consuming to write all of the nouns that you want to use.  This makes it less time-consuming to prep.  Make a list of adjectives that the students know.  You can also use cognates such as fabuloso or excelente.
Divide the students in groups of four or five.  At the beginning of the game, the first leader picks an adjective.  Then each student writes down a proper noun that they think the adjective describes.  Proper nouns such as names and places are good because they would not change in the target language.  They pass their nouns to the leader for that round.  The leader chooses the word that they think best fits the description of the adjective, and that student is the winner for that round.  Each round there is a different leader (go clockwise with each student taking a turn being the leader).  The winner is the student whose noun was picked seven times by the leaders.
This game would also be good for “best of” places.  Students could name the best restaurant, shopping mall, place to get coffee etc.  In a more advanced class, students could state why their noun should be considered the best.  It is also great for descriptive adjectives.

Conjugation races

25 Jan

I am only teaching Spanish 1 this year so we do not do conjugation charts, we learn the verb naturally.  Sure they know the 1st and 2nd singular forms better than the rest but they learn it through natural speech.  This is my first year trying this, I am not sure how it is going yet.  I am guessing I will find out next year when I teach Spanish 2 and introduce them to the charts.
At my school we have two Spanish teachers.  Sra. Anthony has Spanish 2 this year.  Next year we will rotate so we keep the same students for the most part.

Here is a version of conjugation races that I will use next year.
I am storing it here now for future use. 🙂

Conjugation Race:

Separate class into four teams of three to four students each.
I write four grids on the board, and give the two racing teams a marker.
They each take turns racing to the board to conjugate the verb that I wrote in their own chart.
On their turn, they can either write the correct verb form next to a subject (I, You, etc) or change a previous conjugation to make it correct.
No one can talk to the person at the board while they are at the board.
The winner completes the conjugation grid with all of the verbs correctly.


I would love to hear about some games you play in class!


Grid game

24 Jan

Create a grid in Word (or mine is in Google Drive) with letters along the left and numbers on the top.
Letter it A-H horizontally and number it 1-8 vertically.
Project the grid (empty), and print a copy for yourself.  On your copy, write down random numbers from 10 to 50 in all of the different empty squares.

Ask the students questions.  When they answer correctly, they can choose a points square by choosing an intersection.  Check your grid to determine if they will earn 10-50 points.  This keeps the game exciting because a group can jump into the lead at almost any time.
Another option is to give each group a whiteboard.  They must write the correct answer and show it first.


Correct order races

23 Jan

Students race to  to see who can put their flashcards in the correct order first.  They can race against each other or work as a pair to beat the other pairs in the classroom.  This works great for days of the week, months, numbers by 10, etc.  Make sure they mix the cards up before beginning.

Grab it Flashcard game

22 Jan

Another favorite flashcard game of mine.  I like the flashcard activities because they eat up minutes at the end of class.  Other activities coming soon.

Students lay out flashcards between pairs (or groups of 3) at desks.  The teacher calls out a vocabulary item.  The first student to grab the correct card gets to take it. In case of a tie (or an argument over who was first), the card is set aside—nobody gets it.  The student or team with the most cards at the end wins.

Add creativity to flashcards by having students create illustrated vocabulary flashcards. Have them write the word on one side of the card. On the other, they can create a picture that the word represents for them.  This avoids translation when practicing.  Advanced students can write the definition in the TL and/or other related words.

Flashcard Tag

21 Jan

This activity would require large flashcards.  I usually find some clip art, paste them nice and large in a Word document and print them out.  The image only, no words.

Use flashcards to play a game of tag.

Place two sets of flashcards on your desk, table or on the ledge of the chalkboard.
Divide the class into two teams, and instruct the teams to form single-file lines.
On your mark, the first player on each team races to the pile of flashcards, holds up the top card for you to see and says the word in the TL.
If the answer is given correctly, the player races back to their team and tags the next person, who continues the game.
In the event that a player doesn’t know or gives the wrong answer, he/she continues selecting cards until she answers correctly.
If the team helps the player, that player must name a new flashcard.
The first team to answer all of the flashcards in their pile wins. Using Google Spreadsheets for teachers and students

21 Jan

Something I must try…

The Electric Teacher allows teachers and students alike to use Google spreadsheets to create quizzes, flashcards and Jeopardy style games. As long as you understand the basics of spreadsheets, this is a very simple process.

The first thing you need to do is have a Google account with Google drive. Next, go to the flippity website so you can copy and rename the template for quizzes, flashcards or jeopardy games. Once you have this completed, open the template fill in the data, spell check everything, publish, and then follow the directions for copying the link so you can either send or embed your flashcards quizzes and games.

What I like about this is the fact that the students can create their own flashcards. They can include pictures, videos, words, and have the flashcards with them wherever their smart phones, tablets or computers are available. From my flashcards. I was able to create…

View original post 58 more words

Flashcard bingo

21 Jan

This is a great activity when there are 10 minutes left in class or the day before a quiz.  My students make flashcards for each unit, so they always have them ready to play a game.

Each students picks 5 of their flashcards to put in front of them on their desk.  You can choose to have them put them TL side up or English side up.  The teacher calls out words.  When they have the word they put it off to the side.  When the teacher has said all 5 of their words they say Bingo and read them back.  After a couple of rounds tell students to switch out their cards for new cards.

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