Adventures in Engagement: Game Activities in the Spanish Classroom

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February 2017

Hola todos!

Have you ever wondered if there is another way to have your students engage in the Spanish classroom? Have you ever wanted to do an activity *outside* of the textbook? You’re not alone. In 2017, I was at a school that used Realidades and I was stuck, for lack of a better word, using that curriculum. I had taken risks with new engaging activities to get my students outside of their textbook before, but I needed more.

First I needed to identify my students’ problem. What was keeping them from engaging? Was it lack of ability to engage? Was it lack of content knowledge? Was it because they were bored? ….ding, ding, ding. My students were showing me that, for the most part, they knew the content for the level they should be at. My students were showing that they knew HOW to engage. But also my students were showing me that they didn’t want to engage – at least not beyond the bare minimum level.

This was when I discovered a concept of bringing traditional mind games into the Spanish Classroom. Taking activities that would engage any average person and applying them to learning and practicing Spanish. My first discovery was mazes.

I discovered by implementing a traditional, simple activity into a normal practice activity, like verb conjugation, my students’ engagement jumped! Students were performing the same basic concept they would have been practicing on a worksheet or with a textbook activity (reading a sentence and conjugating an infinitive to write in the blank) with an added level of high order thinking.

Now students had to think about their answer. Was the answer they got an option? What if it wasn’t, how would they modify or self correct to proceed? Did they remember that accent mark? Stem change? Irregular verb conjugation? These mazes were working wonders in my classroom. The work from a student was virtually the same, yet nearly all students were now engaged in what would normally be a mundane textbook activity.

To read more about mazes and see how you can get mazes for you classroom, click here.

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