Play Games to Teach Commands
There are teachers who switch from English to Spanish while teaching a lesson. There are also teachers who teach directly in the Spanish language, using all the commands and rules in Spanish. Some students may think that they would not understand instructions in a language other than their own and would like to concentrate only on learning the vocabulary of the lesson itself. The wise elementary school teacher knows that he or she can easily get students to submit to following and understanding the instructions, simply by playing games using these instructions. This is especially so, because children in the lower grades enjoy playing games and learn more easily this way. In addition, many of the commands used in the classroom are used in everyday life, and the student will have a head start on learning the imperative form of verbs which is necessary to learn later in their course of studies.
Some Basic Classroom Vocabulary
Teach the basic classroom vocabulary, and then combine them with instructions to play games. The following is a list of some basic classroom objects a teacher should teach his or her students:
- Classroom – la sala de clase
- Pencil – el lápiz
- Crayon – la crayon/crayola
- Ruler – la regla
- Book – el libro
- Notebook – el cuaderno
- Table – la mesa
- Chair – la silla
- Desk – el escritorio
- Whiteboard – el pizarrón/tablero
- Paper – el papel
Further vocabulary can be found in the references section at the end of this article.
Three Simple Games
Let’s scramble the words in the above section. You may scramble them in any manner or order you wish. Here is an example:
Zipál, brilo, allis, critoriose, same, drenocua, crloay, noyacr, lager, de la clase sala
Once this game is complete, and the teacher checks that all students have correctly unscrambled the words, they may now play another game by putting the correct definite and indefinite article to the words. This is followed by a game of alphabetizing the words. The teacher calls a letter, and the first student to call one of the objects beginning with the letter called gets point.
More Classroom Vocabulary
Students are now ready to learn some more classroom vocabulary involving verbs and how they are used in commands. Some of these verbs are as follows:
- Be quiet – Cálle(n)se [Cállate]
- Bring me – Tráeme
- Close/Do not close – Cierre(n) [Cierra, No cierres]
- Come/Do not come – Ven/No vengas
- Give me – DameListen – Escuche(n) [Escucha]
- Raise – Levanta
- Read – Lee
- Repeat – Repite
- Sing – Canta
- Sit – Siénte(n)se [Siéntate, No te sientes]
- Stand – Levánte(n)se [Levántate, No te levantes]
The Commands Game
Once students become familiar with the meaning of the various commands, they can now play a game incorporating the classroom vocabulary they have learned, along with other vocabulary previously learned. Divide the class into groups of four or five depending on the size of the class. Select a leader for each group. Each leader takes turns at giving an instruction to a member of his group. If the instruction is followed correctly, the student gets a point and the leader then directs an instruction to another student. The game continues until there is only one student left standing in the group. This student becomes the new leader.
The game can also be played where students are divided into two teams. The leader of each team takes turns at giving students of the opposing team instructions. Here a time frame can be included. The game should be played within 10 minutes. The team with the most students standing when the teacher blows, rings a bell or says “time up” is the winning team.
Here are examples of some instructions that can be used:
- Bring me the book – Tráeme el libro
- Close your books – Cierren los libros
- Come here – Ven aquí
- Give me your paper – Dame tu papel
- Raise your hand – Levanta la mano
- Listen to me – Escuchame
- Repeat these words – Repita estas palabras
- Sit/do not sit – Siéntate/No te sientes
- Do not stand up/stand up – No te levantes/Levántate
As students learn more classroom vocabulary, they can continue to play games combining nouns, verbs, prepositions and other parts of speech in the form of commands and instructions. These fun classroom activities using “la clase” vocabulary will enable them to understand readily a teacher who teaches completely in the Spanish language. They will also be able to apply what they have learned in order to understand Spanish as they hear it spoken in situations outside of the classroom.