End of the Year Spanish Class Activities
It’s that time of year again… the flowers are blooming and the sun is coming out… and teachers and students start the countdown until the last day of school! I don’t know about you, but I get excited about this time of year because students have improved so much over the course of the year and I actually feel like I have some time to let loose and have a little more ‘fun’! Read on for more ways to engage your students toward the end of the year (and all year long as well!).
Tool #1: Use songs in the classroom!
One of the best tools we can use in our classes any day of the year includes songs! Songs are an authentic way to get students to listen to the language and they have powerful messages that students can reflect on and expand upon. One of my main issues with songs is how to make them comprehensible. I used to just put on a song and give students a cloze activity, but never really pre-taught much of the vocabulary and students wanted to just translate the song word for word afterwards. Now, I am developing more activities that pre-teach the vocabulary, include a picture of the words in context and extend the song into a speaking or writing activity.
I have started to make songs more comprehensible according to the grammar point I want to review with my students at the end of the year. Check out these resources to get started!
Check back for more songs to review other tenses soon!
Tool #2: Use Breakout Boxes
As with songs, breakout boxes are amazing any time of the year, but I find them especially helpful as we try to review everything we learned throughtou the year. You can easily incorporate tasks from each of the units you completed in order to review vocabulary, grammar, concepts and anything else as students are given tasks to complete! This is also an excellent way to continue to build classroom relationships and foster collaboration!
Tool #3: GoosechaseEDU
I would say that after breakout boxes, Goosechase is the second best way to motivate students and inspire collaboration. GoosechaseEDU allows the teacher to set up tasks that can be completed in the form of a scavenger hunt around the school. Tasks can include taking pictures, recording short videos or going physically to a place and using GPS to share their locations. I use this for an end of the year review with all that we have learned as well. Students act out skits, take pictures to represent novels we have read and go to the library to find books in Spanish – just to inspire some summer reading if they didn’t know we have Spanish books in our library! The best part is that when students come back to the room from their scavenger hunt, we all watch the videos and view the pictures together. This is a great way to celebrate all of those strong bonds and relationships you have created with and among your students all year! (I would highly recommend that you tell your administration you will be doing this activity and plan it during the last couple of days of school where testing will be least likely to occur – it can be quite distracting to have students run around the school, even if you tell them to be quiet!)
Tool #4: Portfolios
I have my students write in a “diario” section of their notebook throughout the year about themselves, relating to whatever we are doing in class. By the end of the year, they have quite a few entries about themselves. After I edit them, they publish each entry about themselves in order to make an “Así Soy Yo” booklet. Students must draw a picture for each entry and can be as creative as they want. We share these booklets with each other during the last week of school during a “read-in” event.
Tool #5: Do art!
After the AP Spanish exam, I have students make piñatas to break with our preschool students. Students find this to be therapeutic after a year of studying so hard, and it’s a great way to incorporate service learning into the classroom. If a preschool isn’t available, maybe there are other students that could benefit from breaking a piñata or you could donate them to be hung in different parts of the school or to different teachers. They could also be a great fundraiser for a school trip!
With my other Spanish classes, I usually save the art unit for the end of the year. It’s a great way to wind down and I have students make their own art pieces to demonstrate they understood the style of the artists we studied, but also to express something to the world.
Tool #6: Culture inquiry project
My upper level students complete a cultural inquiry project where they have to select a country and become an expert on it. They learn all about the history, geography, food, customs, holidays, etc. and make a presentation to share with others. We have a cultural fair where half of the students give their presentations at different centers around the room and the other half of the students go around and listen to the presentations. Students have a passport where they write down their notes and get their passports stamped as they ‘visit’ each country. It’s a great idea to do this activity in a pre-AP class in order to get students to be prepared for the cultural comparison section of the exam.
Tool #7: Do some service learning
We do reading buddies at a local bilingual elementary school throughout the year. We visit the students several times and each time we do a different activity. Sometimes we read, we do art projects and we do some community service together. We pick up trash, help organize the school’s community garden, clean up the classroom, etc. We have a final “goodbye” with our friends the last time we get together as well.
Tool #8: Take a field trip
By now students (and teachers I would say!) are sick of looking at the walls and want to get outside! There are so many field trip options, but you can also just go outside! Go for a nature walk together, find some inspiration for a story to tell, use the sounds students hear to make your own song, whatever! Other great ideas for community field trips are: restaurants, community gardens, schools, art galleries and anywhere else you can see the language in use!
Tool #9: Watch a movie or make a movie!
We all know the end of the year may be a great time to show a movie, but why not make a movie with your class? We made movies of each of the stories we did during the year by retelling them and re-enacting them. I gave each group one of the stories we did and they had the task of recreating it. This was a great way to review what we have learned, but also to give students the opportunity to use their creative side!
Tool #10: Let students be the teacher for a day!
Hmmm…. I don’t know if I’ve ever done this for a whole class period, but I suppose you can try it! Each group can come up with a lesson to review something you learned this year, or even to teach something new. It’s always a great idea to give students a rubric and a template to plan the lesson with set learning objectives and activities, but it’s amazing to see what students come up with. I’ve also had students create breakout box activities for the rest of the students. We spend the last week of school testing and trying them out!
I hope these ideas help inspire some creativity as you count down the days until summer!