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Do your students know that there are twenty countries in the world in which Spanish is an official language? Probably not. Help them get to know those countries with a game. It will boost their motivation to learn Spanish when they know of all the places they can visit and speak in the native tongue.
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Subject: Spanish Speaking Countries
Grade: First Year of Learning Spanish
Duration: one hour
Objectives: practice research skills, increase knowledge of Spanish
Prior Knowledge: form simple sentences
Materials: computers with internet connection or encyclopedias for each student, many pieces of paper with roughly the same size, maybe dictionaries
At the beginning of the Spanish lesson, ask your students which Spanish speaking countries they know. See list below (with English and Spanish names) for reference. That is a complete list of all countries with Spanish as official language.
Equatorial Guinea Guinea Ecuatorial
Dominican Republic República Dominicana
El Salvador El Salvador
Costa Rica Costa Rica
Write every country your students name on the chalkboard. Complete the list afterwards.
Now every student has to choose a country. If there are more than twenty students in your class, some countries have to be chosen twice.
Your students have twenty minutes to find out as many interesting facts about their country as they can. They shall form a simple sentence for each fact without naming the country, for example “El país X está in Europa." (The country X is in Europe.)
Let them write the sentences down on separate pieces of paper with the right country in brackets at the bottom of the piece of paper. Collect the pieces and mix them.
Draw a sentence at a time and read it aloud. Your students have to guess which country is referred to.
Assessment: This game shall be fun. Coax shy students into participating in the quiz but do not give grades. You will be surprised how much students can learn if they have fun without the need to worry about grades.
Extensions: For the next lesson, you can translate each sentence and write it down on a differently colored piece of paper. Sort the sentences and their respective translations into four or five packs (depending on the number of your students).
Now you have a Spanish-English memory with facts about all twenty countries that have Spanish as an official language. The students can enhance their new-gained knowledge with this little memory game.
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You can keep these two little games for future lessons, for example for the last lesson before the vacations or the first lesson after an exam. You might be surprised how well your students remember the facts they learn during the games. Maybe they even look up more facts at home. You can change the facts from time to time to make the quiz interesting again.