5 No Prep Time Fillers for the World Language Classroom

Listen! I can't tell you how many times I have planned activities that I thought would take a majority of the time or fill class and then......they didn't.  Tragic. It's that push and pull to find the perfect balance with different activities and different groups of kids.

As a first year teacher I got nervous. Panic started to set while my mind raced to think of a solution to figure out how to fill the time!

Now, I've got some experience under my belt so...I don't panic often but there are definitely still...oh crap moments when there are still 30 minutes left in block class.

I want to share 5 of my go-to activities to help whenever I find myself in this situation.

1. Mentira/Verdad or Cierto/Falso

This activity is soooooo easy to work into any unit or to accompany any activity. It's especially good for stories. I use this activity for interpretive listening for students and the only thing that I have prepared are the slips that I want them to write their answers on. Sometimes they just get to answer aloud as an informal assessment.

If you've been reading a story or reading a novel as a class, this is the easiest way to check to see if students have been paying attention to details of the story. I often change the smallest detail at the very end of the sentence and that gets them all worked up because they were so ready to yell VERDAD or CIERTO.

2. Conversation Cards/Persona Especial Questions

Want to get your students talking? This option is the best for interpersonal speaking. Students use the Persona Especial Questions printed and hung on binder rings. These cards are from the Entrevistas Persona Especial resource that I use to introduce new vocabulary and speaking points to students. I print the slides 4 per page and laminate for use.

My favorite way to use the conversation cards it to do a conversation line. Students line up facing each other and switch every minute.

3. Story-asking with Write and Discuss

This is very similar to an OWI because the students get to shape the story. Depending on the vocabulary and target structures we are focusing on, I give them two options and let the story take form.

For example,
¿Hay una muchacha o un muchacho?
¿Cómo se llama? ¿Se llama Ernesto o Gregorio?
¿Cómo es Ernesto? ¿Es alto o bajo?
¿Dónde está Ernesto?
¿Cómo está? ¿Por qué?

Once we have created a good chunk of the story I like to do a write and discuss. This gives a me a chance to review the vocabulary and parts of the story. The students have heard the story and now they get to see it written. I don't have students write along with me every time but often  I do because it's great for them to write in Spanish too.

4. Listen and Draw

Another great listening activity for students. Use high frequency verb sentences or verb structures that students are currently working on. Students listen to the sentences you dictate and draw them as best they can. It's a great way to check for comprehension in a more creative way for students. It's especially great for those artistic students.

Check out some of the samples sentences that I've used with before.

Lola está feliz. 
Lola quiere una pizza de pepperoni. 
Lola no va a Pizza Hut. 

5. Profe Dice

Profe Dice is a great way to review classroom commands with students. This is my Spanish spin on Simón Dice.

Profe Dice:
Levántate. - Stand up.
Siéntate. - Sit down.
Escribe. - Write. - Students can motion like they are doing the action. 
Escucha.  - Listen.  - Students can motion like they are doing the action. 
Mira el reloj. - Look at the clock. 
Toca la boca. - Great to review body parts.
Abre tu libro. - Open your book.
Cierra tu libro. - Close your book. 
Saca un bolígrafo.  - Take out a pen - Great to review school supplies 
Saca un libro. - Take out a book. 

You can really have them do anything and they will enjoy it. It's golden because it's in the target language. It can also be a great brain break before you get back into a longer activity.

Have you tried any of these activities? What is your go-to activity when  you have that oh crap moment like me? How do you fill the time?

Drop a comment below to share. 😀

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