It’s here. It’s (almost) the end of the school and yet, somehow, amongst all the behavior issues, crazy schedules, parties, field trips, & more… we’re still expected to having high quality learning environments. Okay – maybe that’s a little bit of the #teachertired showing… but if you’ve ever been through an end of school year before, you know it’s crazy and you know that getting “real” class time out of kids pretty much goes out the window as soon as that first “cool” teacher starts taking down their classroom decor or throws that first end of year class party. While I can’t promise these ideas will be revolutionary, I can promise that they worked in my middle school Spanish classrooms this year and they worked well enough that I decided to share with you! So here are 5 easy ideas to help push you through the end of the year.
1 – Scavenger Hunt Creation: This is an activity that I’ve done for the past 4 years (high school and middle school success!). When I first did this activity, it was born out of teaching the structures “look for” and “find” in Spanish and wanting to add some movement to class. I had students write a list of 5 things they could “look for” on campus and 5 things they could “find”. It went great! These past two years I’ve morphed this activity into something much greater. On Day 1 I create a list with my students of all the structures they think we’ve covered this year from passwords to PQA to special events to novels to class to anything. (pst. this is also a great way to see what your students actually think they’ve learned this year). It takes me 10 – 15 mins to create this list. Then comes the challenge. I put the list on the screen and have students work with a partner to make a list of a “scavenger hunt clue” using each word on the screen. I tell them I will only choose 1 for each word so they need to be 1 – school appropriate, & 2 – things that are doable or pretend doable at school. I gave students the rest of day 1 and Day 2 to create their clues. We had lists of about 45 – 50 structures for each level, so this was about 60 – 75 mins of work time or 1.5 minutes per clue.
2 – Photo Scavenger Hunt: After collecting my students clues from the Scavenger Hunt Creation I create a list of clues. I use about 90% of clues they give me and some I modify for various reasons. Here is a link to the clues I used for Level 1 & Level 2 – feel free to make a copy and modify. Students worked with a partner and one Chromebook. I gave students a printed copy of the clues. We spent Day 1 of this activity outside and Day 2 inside. The rules were that both students had to be in the photo & the I (Profe) got say if the photo meets the clue or not.. so make them good! On Day 3, right before class, I uploaded the same slideshow to Schoology and students spent the class uploading their photos to the correct slides / clues and could finish taking any photos inside. My winners were the first group to upload the slideshow AND to earn the most points.
3 – Color by Word: I’ve got a very detailed post on this activity here… but here’s the jist! Students write the name of the color in the target language, using that same colored crayon / marker / pencil / pen, to fill in the all of the space to create an image. For example, a student would use a red pencil and write the word “rojo” or “red” as many times as needed to fill in Rudolph’s nose on a printed image of Rudolph. I’ve also given students country flags or animal pictures to fill in. Sometimes with older students I let them draw their own image and then color it in as well.
4 – Description Relays: Before doing this activity, I picked up two boxes of sidewalk chalk at Target for about $3 for 24 pieces in each box. I ended up using about 8 or 9 total pieces between 4 classes doing this activity. Divide your class into groups of 3 – 4 students. Line up your groups facing a sidewalk / concrete area. All students can listen to the clues and collaborate within their groups BUT only one person draws the answer AND each person must draw an answer before a group member can be a repeat artist. I described an object / animal / place in Spanish saying something like: “Es un animal. Este animal vive en el océano. Es un animal grande. Este animal no es un pez.” etc. When a group thinks they know the answer, they run to the drawing area and draw the answer and run back and tag their group. The first group to BOTH draw the answer AND make it back to their group gets a point. I described animals, foods, places, school supply objects, and more. You could be super prepared and write out a list of clues / answers beforehand but I just did them off the top of my head and what pictures I thought would be entertaining.
5 – PBL Unit: At my school, our 8th graders basically finish a week earlier than the other grade levels. While they’re still AT school, they’re going to Elitch or having a BBQ or some other non-academic experience. This meant that I had a little more buy-in and focus from my 8th graders because if they got cited for behavior they didn’t get to participate in the fun. So to finish up 8th grade, we actually started at the beginning of May and did a 3 week PBL (project based learning) unit. We spent about 3 class days doing pre-reading work to set them up for success with the content and background knowledge for the unit. We spent about 5 days doing the gallery walks, filling out maps, and timelines. Then we spent another 5 days working on the PBL project piece using the guided sheets. And then 2 days presenting the projects. So what did we focus on? National Parks of the ENTIRE Spanish speaking world. Yep – even Equatorial Guinea. Students were highly engaged in the content because it was so different than anything else we had done + the idea of travel hits home this close to summer break. The PBL piece involved students planning a trip to a National Park from start to finish and the presentation involved “selling” their trip to the audience. All-in-all possibly the best unit I’ve ever created and taught. You can grab this entire 3+ week unit for less than $0.75 a day here and read more about the unit in detail here.
I hope at least one of these End of Year Spanish Class activities is helpful to you as we close out this school year. Drop me a comment and let me know how they went / what you modified and give me a follow on Instagram to see these activities and more in action @profezulita