Not sure how to Teach Spanish Students Questions? Interpersonal skills rely heavily on people being able to request information, so if our students can’t ask questions that are comprehensible, communication breaks down fast. How do we teach our students how to formulate good questions so they can get the information they need?
1. Teach Spanish Students Question Words
The interrogatives are probably the place to start. We can begin with the memorized questions, like ¿Cómo estás and ¿Dónde está el baño? But in my experience, students need to revisit the question words frequently and they are not as easy as other vocabulary to remember.
A good strategy is to have the question words posted in your classroom! Students can refer to them to refresh their memory when they need their question words to create a question or to answer one.
2. Teach Spanish Students Question Techniques
Going into a long grammatical explanation of the formulation of questions will probably not be effective for students. However, at the middle and high school level, students can make great connections between their comfortable language and Spanish. For example, they can understand and connect with the fact that in both Spanish and English, we raise the tone of our voice at the end to help the listener know we’re asking instead of telling.
Older students might also benefit from showing how in Spanish we switch the pronoun and the verb in Spanish to differentiate between a statement and a question.
Te gustan los chocolates SOUNDS different than ¿Te gustan los chocolates?
3. Model Questions Often
Just like when we learn our first language, we hear a LOT of input before we begin trying to express ourselves. When students are accustomed to hearing questions frequently, they will be less likely to get the “deer in headlights” look and go blank when someone asks them a question.
Use Task Cards, Do-Nows, Class Chats and other scaffolded activities to make questions a regular part of every class. Calendar talk, weekend talk, seasonal talk, unit themed talk… these are all great ideas that you can use to teach students questions.
4. Make a Questions Game
There are so many ways that you can make things into a game. Here are a few ideas to get you started!
1. Sentence Scramble: This could be one student vs another student or one group vs another group
Scramble the words of several questions and ask students to re-write them in the correct word order!
2. Speak-off: This is a 1 v 1 or maybe 2 v 2 game in which someone starts by asking the other person (or team) a question. This person must answer and ask another question. Back and forth they go until someone can’t answer or can’t come up with a new question.
*This game can be modified in many ways… maybe they have one topic: like animals. And they have to use all the question words before repeating one. Maybe they have one question word, or 1 verb, and they have to make as many questions as they can before someone runs out of ideas!
3. Give them a challenge where the answer is provided and they need to write a logical question! This can be done individually or in groups.
Results When We Teach Spanish Students Questions
-they are more understandable
-they are more able to participate in a conversation
-they can get the information they need
-they are ready for the Seal of Biliteracy Tests