At this point I inform them that they are about to learn the Spanish equivalents of these words, plus a bit more (aquel, etc.), but first, I ask: Can anyone tell me why there are going to be more forms in Spanish than in English? How many? Get them to recall that adjectives follow the gender and number of the nouns they modify. You can often draw this out by holding an object, then objects, of varying number and gender and saying their names loud and clear, preceded by the proper article: los lápices, la revista, etc.
Below the English words and across the board, I draw two grids with four boxes: two on the left, two on the right. I write the forms in the boxes, singular masculine este in the upper left box, its plural estos to its right. The feminine forms I write below, in like manner. I also fill in the other grid, beginning with ese. I save aquel, etc. until the end of the lesson, so that the concept of the relative distance and the forms that correspond to English usage are well engrained.
Using Spanish Demonstrative Adjectives
At this point, they are ready for a quick demonstration. Standing by the same table as before, Ask the same question, but now in Spanish: ¿Qué hay en esta mesa? Model one answer, e.g., En esta mesa hay una revista. Get them to name the rest, in a complete sentence, using esta mesa in the answer.
The next step is to apply the demonstratives to the objects on the tables, asking similar simple questions, modeling one answer and eliciting the rest. Get individual students to stand by different tables where they are to ask and answer questions about the objects on their tables and those of and others. Point out that, just as in English, the concept of distance is relative. If objects are of varied quality, you can also increase the complexity by having them use comparatives.
In Spanish, the Third Distance
Finally, I introduce the third distance, as I call it, and put the grid up for aquel, etc. I simply tell them that the Spanish forms for this and that (este and ese) work as in English. Ese, etc. are for objects near the speaker. Ese etc. are for objects somewhat more distant from both speakers and aquel etc. for things out of reach, or simply remote, from both speakers.