In this blog we talk about how Spanish teachers can make the most out of their contracted time while still providing quality instruction for their students. Today I have an idea about how to create one activity that practices multiple Spanish skills across at least 3 modes of communication!
I love this activity because it reinforces new learning in at least 3 ways, it’s student-centered, the activity takes a good chunk of time to complete, and the template for this activity can be reused in any unit at any level!
Teachers can create their own templates, but if you would like one that’s all ready to use, click here!
Step 1: Writing
This activity starts with students doing some writing. In Years 1, 2 and 3, this activity works great to practice grammar or vocabulary with multiple skills.
For example, let’s say it’s Week 2 of a new unit. Students can take the vocab list and create a short paragraph. Give them some parameters, like… use at least 10 new vocab words.
Another example would be when you’re learning a new grammar point. Perhaps it’s the future tense. Students may write a paragraph about several famous people, stating what will happen in their lives in the future.
Again, it’s important to give explicit instructions for the requirements of their writing. This increases quality and reduces confusion.
For Spanish students in Years 4 and 5/AP, perhaps the focus is on content. Students could write a summary about something you are studying in class like summarizing a chapter of a novel, describing a character, or explaining something about the government of a country they’re studying.
Last, students will write comprehension questions about what they wrote. (Later, another student will answer them.) These questions can be written in Spanish or English. You can decide!
Step 2: Speaking
The next step for using one activity to practice multiple Spanish skills is to have the students record what they wrote.
Depending on how your school’s schedule is organized, you can decide when/where this will be done. My school has a modified block schedule, which means I see all 8 classes for 45 minutes on 3 days of the week, and the other 2 days we see only 4 classes, but for 90 minutes.
If we have a regular day, I might ask students to record their work for homework. If we have a block period, they can complete this whole activity during class!
*Before I go further, I know that recording what is written down is not the same as “speaking” Spanish. However, there are some great benefits to doing this once in a while.
- Students can practice their pronunciation
- Students often will produce higher quality written work when they know another student will see/listen to it.
- Student recordings will provide a listening practice opportunity for other students
Our school used to have a language lab, but it has been dismantled. One silver lining of the pandemic has been the need to discover other ways to do things. Here is a list of the different ways in which I have had students record!
a. vocaroo.com (free, voice only)
b. online voice recorder (free, voice only)
c. Flipgrid (free with an account, audio and video)
d. Extempore (paid account, audio and video)
Step 3: Listening
The last step in practicing multiple skills is listening! Students will be assigned another student’s recording and comprehension questions to listen to.
This will now be the 3rd time they are working with the same content (whether that be new vocabulary, grammar or content) and we hope that as we use different modes of communication, students will be internalizing the new learning a little deeper each time!
Teachers can choose whether or not to grade this activity. Some teachers have a category for participation only. We do, and this is the kind of activity I record twice: one time for producing the writing, questions and recording and another time for answering another student’s questions.
Tips For Creating 1 Activity for Multiple Spanish Skills!
- I suggest using google docs for this activity. I create a Google doc with a chart. In the chart, I list each student’s name down the first column. The 2nd column is where they link their recording. The 3rd column is where they post their comprehension questions. *This doc needs to be shared as “anyone with the link can edit”.
- Another HUGE benefit to this activity is that since the document where they post their link and questions can be seen by the whole class, even reluctant students are more likely to complete their work. They know others are relying on them!
- The easiest way to assign each student someone else’s work to listen to is… listen to the person’s work who is beneath your name! The last person will listen to the first person on the list! (If someone was absent or did not complete their work, the person above them will skip down to the next available post.) But another option is to add columns like in my picture below to direct students to the recording you want them to listen to!
- On the day that students are listening to another student’s work, I edit the doc with all the links/questions to include a 4th column. This is where the students can post their answers to the questions.
I hope that you will find this activity as helpful and motivating for students as I do! And I also hope that by creating this template, (or by using mine linked here), you will save yourself some time and stress! You have 3 different tasks for students to complete and they will practice multiple Spanish skills using the same content!