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Teaching Spanish - Designing a House Activity

written by: Sonal Panse • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 3/2/2012

Creating a Spanish house plan is a fun vocabulary building activity for your language students. Have your students pick a house design, label it, furnish it, and then describe their house in Spanish. Read on to find the vocabulary you will need and links to sites with house plans.

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    The main purpose of this lesson is to enhance Spanish vocabulary and to improve Spanish speaking and writing skills. It can also help to give students a better understanding of Spanish culture as well as help develop their design skills.

    A house or a home is something most of us are familiar with, so it is a good place to start expanding your vocabulary from. The first thing to do is to make a list of house-related words -

    • Outer parts of the house like a roof, chimney, veranda, patio or balcony
    • Inner parts of the house like rooms, stairway, doorways, doors, entrances, windows, ceilings, fireplaces, flooring, tiling
    • Specific rooms in the house like kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, pantry, library, study, sitting room, dining room, living room, attic, etc.
    • Number of rooms
    • Location of rooms in relation to eachother
    • Furniture like bed, sofas table, chairs, stools, counters, shelves, cabinets, cupboards
    • Shape and size of furniture
    • Material of furniture like wood, iron steel, plastic, etc.
    • Design related words
    • Colors and textures
    • Electricity and lighting accessories like lamps, bulbs, tubes, etc.
    • Plumbing and bathroom accessories like baths, washbasins, toilets, bidets, showers, etc.
    • Household equipment like telephone, washing machine, dish washer, microwave oven, gas cooker, mixer, solar panels and so on
    • Household utensils like plates, cups, dishes, spoons and forks, etc.
    • Garden and plants
    • The front yard and the back yard
    • People that would be involved in the building of the house, like architects, interior designers, contractors, engineers, workmen, electricians, plumbers, gardeners and so on
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    Once the vocabulary is ready, it can be fleshed out to explain the design process. Students need to -

    • Research Spanish house designs
    • Research what makes Spanish designs stand out from other Western designs – use of bold colors is one thing
    • Research use of space and light and colors. Spanish design styles usually use vibrant and bold colors, with neutrals for backgrounds.
    • Research Spanish furniture. Many Spanish design styles seem to be inclined towards casual and comfortable dark wood furniture.
    • Consider size and area of the house
    • Consider who is going to live in the house, what the occupants would require and what they would like
    • Consider how the design could make household chores easier to carry out

    Let students find a house plan, or pick one yourself. Copy it and pass it out to your students. First, have them label the parts of the house in Spanish, and then fill in their plan with furnishings. Then every student should write a description of their house, in detail, describing rooms and how they furnished their house. Have them put in details from the questions they considered in their research about Spanish houses. Students will need to review Spanish grammar to get sentence structures right. Try making sentences using the present progressive tense and possessive and demonstrative adjectives. Have the students read aloud what they have written and have a class discussion about correct word usage, sentence construction and pronunciation.

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    Vocabulary for designing a House

    Here's a House-related Spanish vocabulary list that can used as a starter -

    Outer Parts of the House -

    • Roof - Azotea
    • Chimney -Chimenea
    • Veranda -Veranda
    • Patio -Patio
    • Balcony -Balcón

    Inner Parts of the House -

    • Rooms - Cuartos
    • Stairway - Escalera
    • Doorway - Puerta
    • Door - Puerta
    • Entrance -Entrada
    • Window - Ventana
    • Ceiling -Techo
    • Fireplace - Chimenea
    • Flooring -Solando
    • Tiles - Azulejos

    Specific Rooms in the House -

    • Kitchen - La cocina
    • Bedroom - Dormitorio
    • Bathroom - Cuarto de baño
    • Pantry - Despensa
    • Library - la Biblioteca
    • Study - Estudio
    • Sitting room - Salón
    • Dining room - comedor
    • Living room - sala de recibo
    • Attic - Atico

    Number of rooms -

    • One - Uno
    • Two - Dos
    • Three - Tres
    • Four - Cuatro
    • Five - Cinco
    • Six - Seises
    • Seven - Siete
    • Eight - Ocho
    • Nine - Nueve
    • Ten - Diez

    Location of rooms in relation to each other -

    • Next to - Al lado de
    • Close to - Cerca de
    • Beside - Al lado de
    • Over - Sobre
    • Under - Debajo
    • Behind - Detrás de
    • In front of - Delante de
    • Down - Abajo

    Furniture -

    • Bed - La cama
    • Sofa - Sofá
    • Table - Mesa/Tabla
    • Chair - Silla
    • Stools - Taburetes
    • Shelves - Estantes
    • Cabinets - Gabinetes/armarios
    • Cupboards - Alacenas

    Shape and size of furniture -

    • Square - Cuadrado
    • Round - Redondo
    • Rectangle - Rectángulo
    • Oval - Ovalo
    • Large - Grande
    • Small - Pequeño

    Material of furniture -

    • Wood - Madera
    • Iron - Hierro
    • Steel - Acero
    • Plastic - Plástico

    Colors and textures -

    • White - Blanco
    • Blue - Azul
    • Green - Verde
    • Yellow - Amarillo
    • Orange - Naranjo
    • Pink - Rosa
    • Red - Rojo
    • Brown - Marrón
    • Cream - crema
    • Rough - Aspero
    • Smooth - Liso
    • Soft - Suave
    • Hard - Duro

    Electricity and lighting accessories -

    • Lamps - Las lámparas
    • Electric bulb - Bulbo eléctrico
    • Electric Tube - Tubo eléctrico

    Plumbing and bathroom accessories -

    • Bath - Baño
    • Washbasin - Lavabo
    • Toilet - Tocador
    • Bidet - Bidé
    • Shower - Ducha/Chaparrón
    • Tap - Golpecito/Utiliza

    Household equipment -

    • Telephone - Teléfono
    • Washing machine - La lavadora
    • Dish washer - arandela de Plato/Lavaplatos
    • Microwave oven - Horno microondas
    • Gas cooker - Cocina de gas
    • Mixer - Mezclador
    • Solar panels - Los paneles Solares

    Household utensils -

    • Plate - Plato/Placa
    • Cup - Taza
    • Dish - Plato
    • Spoon - Cuchara
    • Fork - Bifurca/Bifurcación

    Garden and plants - El jardín y plantas

    The front yard and the back yard - La yarda delantera y el traspatio/el patio trasero

    People that would be involved in the building of the house

    • Architect - Arquitecto
    • Interior designer - Diseñador interior/ interiorista
    • Contractor - contratista
    • Engineer - Ingeniero/Dirige
    • Workmen - trabajadores
    • Electrician - Electricista
    • Plumber - Plomero/Fontanero
    • Gardener - Jardinero