I really wanted students to label a Central and South American map in a creative manner other than on paper when Marlene Knobbe's idea from a few years ago came back to me. I took a white shower curtain, outlined a map of Central and South America with a few of the more important land features, gave the students labels for each and we held timed labeling races (with two shower curtains). Students could walk on it and actually move around it. Flags of the countries were also incorporated since we had recently reviewed a number of these. Marlene also mentioned using products of the countries as well. Students really wanted to play TWISTER with these. Something to think about!
"Retratos: 2000 years of Latin American Portraits"
"What Will It Become?"
Go to the local dollar store and purchase the capsules that dissolve in water. I have purchased some that are in the shape of different modes of transportation. I then place a glass of water on the overhead (so that the water can heat up a bit more) and ask the students to take a piece of paper and write down what mode they think it will become - this can become extra credit. while it is dissolving I cover it up and continue teaching another grammar point, doing a partner/group exercise, etc. At the end of the period they disccover what it is. I have stepped this up a bit and we have had basic discussions in class about what "it will become" (in Spanish) and have used animals or other figures instead. There are Halloween figures I recently picked up for 70 cents at Toys R Us. It can be fun and in the language.
"Vocabulary Review "
Have you ever needed a quick way for kids to review vocabulary? Check out this website: http://puzzlemaker.school.discovery.com. It allows you to enter your vocabulary words and generates a variety of word games, puzzles, etc. that kids seems to really enjoy doing! I let the kids do them for extra credit or as quick little contests.
"Cultural Current Events"
Current events can spark any classroom conversation, but create a sense of global awareness that many students are lacking. I offer students a few extra credit points by bringing in an article about a Spanish-speaking country or about the Hispanic culture in the state (community or United States). They must have first read it, then briefly explain it to the class. A few days later (maybe on a quiz, test, or assignment) I write a question about that article and classroom discussion. Students that answer the question correctly are then awarded an extra credit point as well.
Kraft Foods publishes a 60 page magazine called "Comida y Familia". It comes out four times a year and features recipes and articles about healthy eating. The good news is that you can get it free of charge just by going to comidakraft.com/gratis or calling 1.800.572.3807. Although the recipes are mostly for American foods, it still gives great opportunities for reading commands, ingredient lists, and health tips.