Do you struggle with motivating your students to write more and to write more creatively? Need a fresh approach to presentational or interpersonal writing? Drowning in correcting, but you know that your students need feedback before their big assessment? This blog post is for you! Find 5 ways to create Spanish class winter-themed writing activities for your students! And click HERE if you need a NO PREP, differentiated activity to give to ALL your classes!
Winter-Themed Writing Assignments
Instead of fighting against the wave of excitement leading up to winter break and its associated holidays, perhaps we can harness this interest and energy! Use the season as a starting off point for a good writing prompt! Is your brain too overloaded to even think of any ideas? Here are a few!
- The Best Christmas
- The Christmas I Spent in Spain (or other Spanish-speaking country)
- The Best Winter Vacation
- The Worst Winter Vacation
- Why I love Winter Break
Interpersonal: Respond to a letter from
- a friend who wants to know what you do/did on Christmas Break
- a pen pal who wants to know about how Christmas is celebrated in your country
- an editor from a magazine you wanted to write a story for about winter in your area
- your grandmother who told you about her winter break in a location far from where you live
Use Winter-Themed Task Cards
Situational Task Cards are my new FAVORITE! You make a set. You use them MULTIPLE times! You save them for next year! OMG the time saving…… and! Students really get into them! Check out the picture of one of my winter-themed task cards below. Click the image to check them out! There are 20 scenarios in each set!
Activity 1: Pass out a card to each student. Tell them we are doing a free-write. They have 10 minutes (or your designated amount of time) to write. Before you begin, ask students if they have any questions about vocab that they can anticipate they might need. (This is a GREAT way for students to learn some extra words too!) Provide scaffolds if needed- like a vocab list related to winter activities, or a list of sophistication words that you want them to try to work into their writing.
Activity 2: Take it to another level. Maybe you ask students to trade papers. Provide them with a peer edit or peer feedback form. Now your students A) get some feedback and B) see how others are writing/thinking and using their language. And C) YOU ARE NOT CORRECTING!!
Try Group Writing Competitions
Not only do my students love these, but they are such wonderful learning tools! Step 1: Provide a writing prompt. Set clear parameters for what you are looking for. Think of this like a mini rubric: there must be at least 8 sentences, you must use X tense, there must be 2 irregular verbs, etc. This is the perfect time to require something that is in their stretch zone. In my year 3 classes, we are looking to add more sophistications words, like sequencing and transition expressions, for instance.
Strategically group students so that you have have the students who really could use some support with students who might be a little stronger. I usually do groups of 4. Each member of the group writes, and they decide together what to say and how to say it. When time is up, the teacher will collect all the papers from each group. He/she will only correct ONE paper per group, give feedback and if you like, assign a grade. The idea is that all 4 papers should be identical. I usually choose a winning group (which could be based on things like: most accurate, most creative, best team work, etc.) I have a prize box, and no matter how silly or small the prizes are- my students LOVE to win stuff!
The real win in this situation is that my students ALWAYS report that they were able to learn something new or clear up a confusion as a result of this group challenge. I’m not sure about all of you, but our class sizes continue to grow and grow, and it’s just impossible to help every student every day. To know that my students are all learning and growing and helping each other with that process feels really good!
HERE are my winter-themed challenges if you want to check them out!
Differentiate the Same Prompts for All Your Levels!
Save time by creating one or 2 winter-themed writing prompts, but change the requirements based on what year of Spanish they are in!
Simply change the tense, or add or subtract requirements from the mini-rubric to save some time and some sanity during this busy time of year!
Remember that not everything you ask students to do needs to be graded.
Last, if you’re worried about buy-in, setting a time on your smartboard, or even an egg timer, somehow seems to motivate students to get right to work!
Let Students Help Create Winter-Themed Writing Ideas
Let’s face it…. our students have a MUCH better imagination that we do! They’re young and vibrant and not as exhausted as we are (usually!). Ask them to submit their ideas for winter-themed writing prompts and see what you get!