The end of the year can be… interesting, right? Everyone is tired, you have run out of ideas, testing has already been done, and more than one student is checked out. Here are some ideas that work with any unit or theme and put all the summer energy to constructive use. If you have a few weeks that need some fresh content, the BBC’s beginner’s Spanish series Mi Vida Loca is also a great option. Most of the ideas below are gathered from my series on Games and Ideas for Mi Vida Loca. I have free activities from Episodes 1-5 available, and an entire Activity Pack for sale as well.
Divide the class into two groups. Write a word on the board, and draw a slash after it. The first team has to write a word that starts with the last letter written, then draw a slash. The second team writes word starting with the last letter of that word, and so on. No words may be repeated, and you can adjust the rules for what words are allowed (ie, they must contain at least 3 letters).
2. 20 Preguntas
Play Veinte Preguntas to review people, places, and words from the series. (Give the students some basic structures and phrases if necessary: ¿Es una persona? ¿Es un lugar? ¿Es una cosa?)
3. Bracket Activity
Do a bracket tournament and vote on any topic. It could be food, songs you learned this year, etc. Use my March Madness bracket PPT here to project a bracket on the board and list the items. Designate one wall for the upper choice and one for the lower choice. Call out “¿Agua con gas, o café?” for example, and the students vote by moving to one side of the room or the other.
4. Around the World / Sparkle
This can be played in a circle or with everyone in their seats. Choose one student. He/she stands up next to the student to the right. Call out a word. The first student to give the meaning advances, and the other stays in that seat. The first students to advance all the way around the room and return to his/her original seat wins.
5. Teléfono escrito
This is like the game Telephone, except with drawings and written words.
1. Everyone will start with a piece of paper. At the top, they should sketch a scene. (You may want to give a theme.) They then leave a bit of space, and below describe the scene. Then, they fold the paper so that only the description is showing. Everyone passes the papers to the right.
2. Now everyone reads the description and does their best to sketch what they read. Then, they fold the paper so that only the drawing is showing. Everyone passes to the right again.
3. Only the latest drawing is visible, so everyone looks at it and write a few sentences describing the drawing. Then, they fold the paper so that only the description is showing, and pass to the right again.
You can do this however many rounds you choose. Just be sure to end on a drawing, because the funniest part of the game is comparing the progression of the first drawing to the last. It’s really funny to see what changes happened! Beginners can simply write words they know. Intermediate learners can write sentences.
6. Manzanas a Manzanas
This game is awesome for practicing opinions and adjectives. I have a free download with instructions to play, or you can make your own cards. To play, you will need adjective cards and noun cards. For the noun cards, use whatever vocabulary you want to review.
Put the green adjective cards in the middle, face down. Deal 5-7 red noun cards to each player. Designate a “judge” or juez for the first round. The judge turns the first green card over, and the players put the card they think the judge will pick to match the adjective in the middle. The judge mixes the cards, turns them over, and picks his or her favorite. Whoever that card belongs to keeps the green card as the first point. The leftover red cards can be recycled into the red card pile. The play continues in a circle, with the players taking turns judging.
Model for your class how judges would talk about the cards they are evaluating. For example: La manzana es pequeña. El elefante no es pequeño. or, if it’s something plural: Las manzanas son pequeñas. Los elefantes no son pequeños.
7. Steal the Bacon
This game is best played outside or in a gym. Line up items practiced for vocabulary during the year (clothing, classroom objects, plastic food) exactly in the middle. Make sure nothing is fragile or sharp!
Divide the class into two teams, and have them arrange themselves each más bajo to más alto. Count up so each team member gets a number (ideally, pairs from each team will be fairly evenly matched). Then have the teams line up on opposite sides of the space.
Call out an item of clothing: el zapato azul. THEN call out a number: ¡Cinco! The students who are 5 from each side race to the middle to grab the zapato azul. To involve more students, call two items of clothing and them two sets of numbers. Just make sure to save the numbers for last so everyone is listening to the clothing terms and paying attention.
Choose a letter of alphabet. Set a time limit (probably 2 minutes) . Everyone should think of a word that begins with that letter for each category. The trick is to try to think of creative words, because at the end of the time limit the students take turns reading their answers out loud. If anyone else has that word, it gets crossed out for everyone.
Example: The letter is M. la comida: manzana, la ropa: medias, en la escuela: mapa, los adjetivos: malo, los verbos: mirar
The first student reads his or her words. Other students have also written malo and manzana, so those words are crossed out. Three words are left: the student got 3 points that round. It is best to arrange students in small groups of 3-4, and have them compare answers at the end of each round.
Get free game sheets for Categorías here!
9. ¿Quién es?
Choose an object (anything small). Choose one student to be it, and have them go out to the hall. Give the item to one of the students. “It” comes in, and asks yes/no questions to find out who has the item. (It may help to have everyone stand up and sit when they are ruled out. For example, it says: Es un chico? It’s not, so all the chicos sit down.) The competition can come from seeing who can guess in the fewest number of guesses.
My students absolutely love this game. Martina Bex has a free printable. It includes everything we want: comprehensible input, interpersonal communication, and listening. The printable includes detailed instructions, but here’s the gist: this is a role-playing game, in which certain students are assigned to be the Mafia, other as citizens, and some as doctors and police. The mafia is trying to eliminate the entire “town” before the citizens discover them and vote them out of the game.
You have to check out Martina’s post! It’s a perfect way to end the year and let the students loose with everything they have learned.