5.15.2018

Ideas for the last weeks of Spanish class

The end of the year is upon us! Together with the other Secondary Spanish Space teacher bloggers, I've pulled together some of our favorite ideas and activities that we use in the last weeks of Spanish class. When it comes down to it, our ideas align to three categories: review, assess, and have fun. Below are a bunch of ideas for how to do this over the last few weeks of class. Good luck on the final push to the end of the year!  ~ Catharyn





Idea #1: Review

Our students learn so much over the time spent in our courses. Taking time to review and reflect on their learning in the course is so important in solidifying their enduring understandings from the year. Here are some of our favorite ways to review:

  • Play Quizlet Live: One of the most popular review games, if you haven't given this one a try yet, what are you waiting for?! Students get to use their phones for this activity and there are no logins to worry about. There are tons of pre-made game sets that you can pull up, so it is low prep for us teachers. I love that it is a collaborative effort and so insanely engaging for students. For more, see Jen's Reasons to Love Quizlet Live in World Language Class and Allison's post on Quizlet Live Relay Races. GimKit is a similar online quiz game that may be worth checking out! Students collaborate to win "money." Allison's students are loving it.

  • Use Task Cards for Review: I can't say enough about task cards. If you have to prepare your students for a big, nasty final exam, task cards are an engaging way to do so. Instead of a traditional practice test or study guide, with task cards, there are so many ways to get students collaborating, moving, and engaging with the material for their review. On each card, you give your students a task: completing a sentence, identifying a term, conjugating a verb, demonstrating understanding of a Spanish passage or dialogue, etc. Dianna recently shared some ideas for how to structure review with task cards in her post, How I Keep Students Engaged with Task Cards. If you use Realidades, she has wonderful sets of task cards to use (find them on TpT: Realidades 1 Task Cards, Realidades 2 Task Cards). If you use Avancemos Book 1, I have sets of task cards to cover the vocabulary covered in the textbook (find it on TpT: ¿Que Es? Vocabulary Task Cards).

Task cards for playing Pictionary with my Spanish 1 class
Photo used with student permission. SolAzucar.com

  • Play Guessing Games for Vocabulary Review: So many possibilities here. This can be a fun way to review the vocab for your final exam or better yet to let students see how strong their interpretive communication skills have grown over the course. My list of 7 Guessing Games for Spanish Class might help with specific activity ideas.

  • Photo Scavenger Hunt: Sherry suggests setting up a photo scavenger hunt as an interpretive communication activity. Students race to get photos of something made of wood, something that's alive, etc. I love this as a way to review because students are getting comprehensible input, reviewing vocabulary, moving, collaborating, and using tech. You could build the hunt terms around the vocabulary structures you've worked with throughout the year and/or terms the students would expect to see on the final exam. She describes the idea in her End of the Year Review Activities post (it's item 16 on her list).

  • The Marker Game: The teacher reads a statement and depending on if it is true or false, students race to grab the marker first (if true) or resist grabbing it (if false). Elisabeth has a great video showing exactly how to play the marker game. I love this because it can be used for a simple 5 minute review or a more extensive review lasting a whole class period. It can work for reviewing content regarding culture, novels read in class, and even correct or incorrect grammar. Lots of possibilities!

Idea #2: Assess


Once we're done reviewing, we assess. Most of us are required to do a formal assessment of some sort at the culmination of the term. As teachers, we want to know what our students have learned. What can they understand and what language can they produce?

When I was in the classroom, I was required to give a multiple choice final exam, administered on exam day, and also did a speaking and listening final exam. I am philosophically opposed to multiple choice tests like the final I had to give, but also understand that our world seems to value tests of this nature. I knew that my students would inevitably take high stakes multiple choice tests at several points in their lives for higher education and in their professional lives. Knowing this helped me make peace with the status quo of giving that beastly 100 point multiple choice test on the last day of school. 

That said, Martina Bex has a great post on End of Term Assessments in Spanish Class, which might help you wrap your head around some more unconventional summative assessment methods. As teachers, I really believe we should be the movers and shakers, pushing our schools to embrace alternative forms of assessment, which may be more valuable than those stupid multiple choice tests. Ok, I'm off my soap box! Here are some ideas for how to assess students those last few weeks of class:

  • Projects: One of my favorite years was when I had Spanish 1 students do a final project that last week of class. I used Jessica's Spanish 1 Final Project, and loved that it was a way for students to showcase everything they learned in Spanish 1. Basically students create a presentation all about themselves using simple Spanish. I tweaked it a little to fit our particular learning goals from the year, and all in all, my students were proud to show off everything they knew! I used this in addition to my required final exam (remember I had no choice but to give it), and liked that the project was a way to incentivize students who may not perform as strongly on the high stakes assessments. 

  • Speaking Assessments: I was fortunate enough to have a language lab when I taught, so I always ran my speaking assessments there on the last few days of school. The week prior, I would give my students a list of about 20 basic questions that we had worked with throughout the year and then select a few to assess on test day. Students would record their responses in the lab electronically and I could easily evaluate the recordings after class. If you don't have access to a language lab, FlipGrid might be a great (free!) resource for collecting students' audio responses.

  • Interpersonal Assessments: These are assessments where students show that they can exchange language with another speaker. I know this type of assessment can be such a challenge, especially with low level students, but being able to engage another person in the target language is such a valuable skill that it is most certainly worth assessing. It is important to remember that interpersonal assessments hey don't necessarily need to graded or summative! Sherry has a great idea for setting up a world language cafe as a way to offer authentic interpersonal speaking opportunities for students. This would be such a fun day one of the last weeks of class. Let students really show what they know, using 100% target language to chat and role play in a cafe setting. You could have students self assess their performance afterwards using ACTFL proficiency levels or evaluate them yourself using a simple rubric. It could even be fun to video tape students' interactions and watch them the next day to reflect.

Hope these assessment ideas might get you thinking. You also might like to follow my Assessment in Spanish Class Pinterest Board, where I collect ideas on this topic.


Idea #3: Have Fun


After reviewing and assessing, it is important to also have a little fun. I always try to remember that those last few weeks of school can be pretty dramatic for our students. Some are graduating, some will be moving, others are preparing for different summer activities where they may be separated from their typical friends and family. They are also likely studying for high stakes final exams or wrapping up large projects, etc. for other classes. With summer coming, every single one of your students will soon be experiencing a total disruption in the daily routine they've come accustomed to. For us teachers, that disruption is most certainly welcomed, am I right?! The point is that amidst all the change and angst, having a little fun can be important. Here are a few ideas for how to take a little time out of those last weeks for fun:

  • Take a Virtual Field Trip: Jen says that her students love using Google Tour Builder for Virtual Field Trips. This can be an easy one day lesson that gives students a break from all the studying and review. It can also be a nice way to spend a random day you might have leftover or a day with an odd schedule at the end of the year.

  • Give out Spanish Superlative Certificates: I used to do this every year with my third year high schoolers. I would take a half a day to dramatically present a little award certificate to each student. They come up, accept their award and we all applaud. Not only is the activity fun and a great way to acknowledge something special about each student, but it is an engaging source of comprehensible input, because the entire presentation is in Spanish and students don't know who you're talking about until you call each award winner by name. Heads up! I only did awards like this with my smaller, close knit, and mature groups, where we had built a strong community and trust among each other. I'd never want students to think they were being "type casted" with an award. For more on exactly how I have used these and other ideas, my post on Spanish Superlatives: End of Year Awards might help. 

Spanish Superlative Award Certificates

  • Summer Bracket Activity: Like "Locura de marzo" you can set up a bracket for any theme. Students vote for their favorite things and ultimately one thing wins. Elisabeth describes the activity and has a free bracket template to download on her End of the Year Games post. A summer themed bracket may include preferred: summer activities (nadar v. jugar video juegos), summer foods (paletas v. tacos al pastor), summer vacations (ir a la playa v. ir a las montaƱas), etc. This could be a fun 30 min in class activity or something you vote on each day over the last few weeks of school.
Elisabeth's Bracket Activity (SpanishMama.com)

  • It Is Ok to Watch a Movie: Seriously. Maybe you have a bunch of papers to grade or have to pack up your classroom or just need a break. Your students have so much going on as well, that they might also need a break. If you haven't shown Coco, I'm sure your students will love it (and Allison's Coco Guides are a great way to ensure it is a productive learning experience). Elisabeth has an amazing List of Spanish Movies to Show in Class if you need other ideas!

So there you have 'em. A few helpful ideas for the last weeks of high school or middle school Spanish class. I hope your last few weeks are sweet and your summer break even sweeter. Thank you for all you do!

Still looking for more ideas?

You might like to check out a blog post I wrote about My Top 10 End of the Year Activities for Spanish Class for even more ideas. Jen also had a wonderful post here on Secondary Spanish Space about End of the Year Activities to Keep Everyone Sane. Please share any other ideas you might have in the comments below. We want Secondary Spanish Space to be a place where lots of ideas can be exchanged, so please join in the discussion. We love to hear your thoughts!








              
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