Quick, easy game for Spanish class

I was inspired to try this game with my 7th grade class after reading Martina Bex’s great blog about her first unit of the school year. She gave an idea for a “brain break” which is a quick activity that you can use when your kids are starting to zone out.

I’ve been looking for ideas for activities that can be done very quickly because my kids sometimes do need brain breaks. Or we finish what I’ve planned 5 minutes early and I can’t let them go yet, but there’s no time to start something new. I think that this activity will be a great one for those situations.

I call it “Palomitas” which means “popcorn” in Spanish.

To play:

1. I told the kids to all think of a sentence about themselves starting with “Yo quiero...” We are studying querer right now, but I could do this again with any verb. I gave them an example: “Yo quiero un novio.” They all laughed because I had just told them that I wanted a boyfriend. Well…I do! 🙂

2. After they had a sentence in mind, I told them all to stand up. They had to say their sentences one by one in no structured order and then sit down. If 2 kids started talking at the same time, then everyone had to stand back up again and start over. Today I didn’t time it, but it would be really fun to time this as well and see how fast they can do it.

How it went:

They loved it! They were all able to say their sentences and sit down without interrupting each other. I thought maybe it was too easy, but I could tell that they were all looking around the room at each other trying to gauge when would be a good time to speak. They all asked to play again, but class was over and we were out of time. Now that they know how to play, I’ll time it next class and see how fast they can do it. I’m sure that using a timer will create more situations where they’ll start talking at the same time and have to start over. Plus, one of the best parts of the game was that we got 22 more repetitions of “Yo quiero” used in context.


Spanish for Beginners: Level 2

Did you take Spanish in high school but struggle to use it in real life? We’ve all been there. Even though I took 2 years of Spanish in college, I struggled to tell my host mother that I wanted to eat dinner on the first night of my semester abroad in Costa Rica.

Fortunately, I was able to get past that hurdle and now I’m fluent in Spanish. I know that Spanish classes can actually be useful for real life. I’m planning a series of classes that will help to simplify all of those grammar rules and verb tenses that you learned in high school while allowing you opportunities to practice your speaking skills with other Spanish learners. Plus, you’ll learn tips and shortcuts for communicating and understanding the most important messages in Spanish without wasting time dissecting whether “el” or “la” is correct.

For this class, we are using a great text called “Spanish Demystified”. In Level 1, we studied the first 3 chapters which included pronunciation, basic conversations and introduction to verbs. In Spanish 2, we will continue to learn more about verbs and putting words together to form sentences. 

Who: Adults who want to learn Spanish for work or travel. This class is for students who’ve taken at least 1 Spanish class and want to improve their speaking skills.

What: Small group Spanish classes. 4-6 students in total.

When: Monday nights at 6. Starts March 12 and goes for 6 weeks.

Where: Upstairs cafe of Whole Foods. 870 S. Colorado Blvd., Glendale, CO 80246

Why: To practice Spanish, have fun, and become better communicators.

Space in the class is limited! Contact me to reserve your spot! 

Should you try a Spanish language exchange?

Yes! The end.

Ok, that’s not really all I have to say. Last night I attended an English-Spanish language exchange event called Speakeasy Spanglish. The setup was a bit like speed dating. A native Spanish speaker sat on one side of the table and a native English speaker sat on the other. Both people spoke English for 5 minutes and then switched to speak Spanish for 5 minutes.

This was my second time to attend one of these events and I liked it even more the second time than the first time. I loved it so much that I have created a list to show you that you will love it too!

5 Reasons to Try a Spanish Language Exchange

  1. Get your face away from the computer and start using it to talk to people. Everyone who I spoke with last night agreed that you must speak Spanish with people in the real world in order to really learn the language. Studying online, with books or by listening to music are all helpful activities, but you really need to speak with another human person in order to learn Spanish.
  2. It’s a safe environment to practice a second language. Of course, a big reason why people hesitate to talk to others in Spanish is because they are afraid of making a mistake or looking stupid. Fortunately, at a language exchange event, you don’t have to worry. Everyone is speaking in two languages and everyone knows how difficult learning a new language can be. So, you can take a few risks and try to express a complex idea without fear of ridicule.
  3. You can help others with their English. Imagine if you moved to a foreign country for a job and then struggled to learn the language. I think you’d feel pretty grateful to meet a friendly person who would help you. You can be that friendly person for someone else! Plus, you get to feel like an expert for 5 minutes. It’s pretty awesome. Also, there’s that truism about how helping other people actually makes you happier…
  4. If you have any questions about Spanish, you can ask an expert! I have questions all the time when I encounter different phrases and words in my Spanish lessons. I could go to the library and search for the answers, but instead I just ask my friends at the language exchange!
  5. Make new friends and network. In my experience, people who show up at these kind of events are very interesting. They have either moved to the United States from another country or have traveled to many countries around the world. Either way, these are cool people to meet and include in your network of friends.

There you have it! If you’re in Denver, click the link to the Speakeasy Spanglish Facebook page, like it and then go to the next event. If you’re not in Denver, then ask you friend Google where you can find something similar in your area.