Playing fun Spanish games for the classroom is a sure way of keeping your students interested. Classic pencil-and-paper games on the chalkboard is are so easy that Spanish learners of any level can play. You can also allow students to play these games with paper and pencil in pairs or small groups. You might use them as a reward at the end of the week for a well-behaved class, as an opportunity for extra credit, or as an end-of-term party activity that reinforces what they’ve learned. Since they only take a moment to set up or take down, you can even squeeze these chalkboard games in as a productive end-of-class activity if you’ve got a few minutes left.
If your students do well with this kind of learning tool, they may also enjoy other Spanish learning tools geared toward visual learners.
Hangman is one of the easiest fun Spanish games for the classroom you can adapt for a large group. You select the word to be guessed from a list of recently-learned vocabulary words and place the appropriate number of blank spaces on the board. Students either raise their hands and wait to be called on to guess a letter, or you can go through the class one student at a time, giving each one a single guess. Alternatively they can move their desks together and play in small groups, taking turns being the one to select the word or to guess it. This chalkboard game is best suited to beginning or intermediate students that are still building their vocabulary.
The Dot Game
Sometimes known as the “Box Game,” this starts out as one of the simplest of fun Spanish games for the classroom. Divide the class into two teams; draw dots in a grid pattern for each group. Each team takes turns drawing vertical or horizontal lines to create boxes within the grid. For each box a team completes–using only its lines, none from the other team–they get a point. Simple, right?
Here’s the catch: In order to earn their turn at drawing a line, the team–or a student selected from that team–must correctly answer a quiz question, translate a word or phrase, or successfully carry out an instruction given in Spanish.
To make this game extra-unpredictable, have your students submit “challenge questions” beforehand. You vet each question to make sure they’re appropriate and doable given your students’ language skill, then put them in a fishbowl. Have each student come up in turn (alternating teams) to select a “challenge question” (or task) from the fishbowl and complete it before drawing his line in the Dot Game.
Much like the Dot Game, this can be played on the classroom chalkboard. Set up a grid of dots on the board, divide your students into two or three teams, then have each team of students select a starting dot on the grid for their “Snake”. They then earn the chance to draw lines by answering questions, completing tasks or translating words in Spanish, as with the Dot Game. The difference is that instead of drawing boxes, their Snake is a single unbroken line that can either move across or up one space at a time. The Snakes can double back on themselves but can’t cross over themselves or other snakes; the goal is to box in the other team’s “Snake” so that it can’t move.
This post is part of the series: Play Your Way Into a New Language: Spanish Board Games and Other Tricks
Games help keep young students and adult learners engaged and interested. This series looks at Spanish board games, word games, chalkboard games, and other fun activities to include in your lesson plans.