Not every active child is a kinesthetic learner. But for those that are, getting them directly involved in the classroom is the best way to engage and captivate their attention.
Kinesthetic learners sometimes struggle with their need to move, to directly experience what it is they’re learning about in Spanish classroom activities. Turn that energy to your advantage by keeping your active learners busy doing; it’s a sure bet that having the chance to move, interact and feel what's going on in these kinesthetic activities for Spanish learning will help them remember their lessons. This is part of a series on how to handle different learning styles in the Spanish classroom; you can also read about classroom activities for aural and visual learners.
Work Games Into Your Classroom Activities
Play Spanish-language charades: Divide the class in half, then write vocabulary words or phrases on individual slips of paper and have students select them from a fishbowl. Students will take turns miming the word or phrase in front of the class until somebody guesses it; the guesser’s team gets a point. Provide a small prize, like a point of extra credit, to each member of the winning team at the end of the game. Click here for another active game to get your kinesthetic learners involved.
Encourage Kinesthetic Learners to Perform
Have your students, working together or individually, select a popular Spanish-language song, comedy skit, dance (as long as it can either be narrated or explained in Spanish, or is set to a song with Spanish lyrics), or work of literature to perform in front of the class. Encourage them to dress up or add props for the activity, if appropriate, and make sure they're prepared to explain what they're doing beforehand--in Spanish. Add extra difficulty for advanced students by requiring them to field questions in Spanish after their performance. Although the doing portion of this activity will appeal to kinesthetic learners, aural and visual learners will benefit, too.
Follow the Leader
Students take turns leading the rest of the class around the room, school or school grounds. Followers have to imitate what the leaders do--as long as the leaders can call out what they’re doing in Spanish. This is especially useful for teaching verbs. Commands may begin simply: Brinca, salta, para, camina, and so on, and move up in complexity as your students’ ability progresses. For more physical games to get your kinesthetic learners involved, click here.
Encourage Roleplaying: This Generation Takes to it Naturally
This Spanish classroom activity appeals to kinesthetic, aural and visual learning styles because everybody gets a chance to watch, listen and do. Write a list of social or cultural scenarios your Spanish class has covered on individual slips of paper. Fill a box with an assortment of clothing pieces or theater props appropriate to your students’ age. Have the students, working individually, in pairs or in small groups, select one of the scenarios from a fishbowl and then act it out using the props.
Add a twist of comedy improv by spiking the prop box with completely random objects like pool toys, hula hoops and so on, then distribute props randomly to go with the random scenario and sit back to see what your students come up with. Anything goes as long as it’s done in Spanish and communicates the intent of the original scene.
Now That You've Started, Keep Those Kinesthetic Learners Moving
Dance is another classroom activity that easily translates into Spanish and can appeal to all learning styles. Kinesthetic learners in particular will enjoy the chance to whisk around the room, marrying Spanish commands to the words and movements they describe. Read more about teaching Spanish through dance here, then brush up on your Spanish dance vocabulary or download a dance vocabulary sheet.
How Do Your Spanish Students Learn? Teaching Spanish with Different Learning Styles
A teacher knows that their different students learn best in different ways. Some students learn by hearing, and others by doing. Some learn best by looking at material. Here in this series we look at ways for Spanish teachers to use different learning styles to help students learn.
- How Do Your Spanish Students Learn? Activities for Visual Learners
- How Do Your Spanish Students Learn? Activities for Aural Learners
- How Do Your Spanish Students Learn? Activities for Kinesthetic Learners