Resources for Teaching Languages to Children


Activities for Distance Learning That AREN'T Online

DISTANCE LEARNING CAN BE CHALLENGING, ESPECIALLY FOR ELEMENTARY WORLD LANGUAGE CLASSES where we are used to getting up and moving with our students, and doing lots of interactive activities with them. Many of us have moved to sharing links and resources online, but I've been also trying to mix those up with activities which don't involve a screen or have an off screen component. Here is a growing list of ideas you can add to a choice board or share with your students via your regular communication channels.

Off Screen No Tech Distance Learning Activities for World Language Class

*SCAVENGER HUNTS: My students love doing these in class, so why not encourage them to do one at home? Students can draw or put items on their scavenger hunt board, then have parents take a photo and share it with you. Here's the link to one for colors, in SIX languages, which you can download for free.

*EXERCISES IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE: Give your students an exercise regimen! Have them do 10 jumping jacks, bunny hops, burpees, skips, cartwheels, sit ups, etc and prompt them to count in the target language.

*PLAY UNO: A perennial favorite game at home, now they can say the colors & numbers in the target language! War, Go fish!, and Crazy 8s would all be great card games to play in the TL, too!

Play Uno en español Distance Learning Games in Spanish

*NATURE ART: Inspired by our art teacher, this is a simple activity that any age group can do. Simply provide a verbal or written prompt of what they should "draw" outside using natural elements, such as sticks, leaves, stones, and more. For example, right before school closed, my Kinders were finishing up our theme on El, one of their at-home activities is to choose one (or more!) of our zoo animals and "draw" it outside. I have paired it with a Youtube link to one of a series of videos we've already watched in class-they are awesome! Here's the one for el elefante And here is a video I took of me giving my students instructions for this activity :)

Give a Prompt in the Target Language to Create Nature Art

As a follow up to the nature art, depending on proficiency & age level, you can have kids label their art, take a photo & share with you. They can also provide a list of target vocabulary along with the photo instead of labeling it.

*CREATE & DESCRIBE: Inspired by a number of photos I saw on Pinterest, and along the lines of nature art, kids could also create a person out of objects, such as this leaf person, then provide a short description-could be a simple as just sharing a name & it's color, or could write or record additional details such as what the "person" eats, or likes to do, etc. You can also see my video introducing this activity to students by clicking here.

Create & Describe Activity for World Language Classes

*PLAYGROUND GAMES: I wrote a post a few years ago with games we can play OUTDOORS, which are perfect to share with students (who can play with their siblings & families!) Here's the link to that post.  Along with those FIVE TRADITIONAL games, you can also share how to create a traditional rayuela (hopscotch) and/or this cool African version frequently played in many Spanish speaking countries.

*HAND CLAPPING GAMES: Speaking of playground games, don't forget about Choco-choco-la-la and Mari-po-sa, amongst others that your kiddos may already know-have them teach a family member or pet!

*TRADITIONAL BOARD GAMES: Games, games, and more games! Another fun way to incorporate culture is with board games, such as the set I created featuring FIVE board games from a variety of countries. Share the rules as well as the boards with students-they can play at home! You can grab them by clicking here!

5 Traditional Board Games from Spanish speaking Countries

*WEATHER JOURNAL: Prompt students to start a WEATHER JOURNAL by drawing seven squares on a piece of paper, labeling each square for a day of the week (hey, calendar vocabulary, too!) and then tracking the weather each day by drawing icons to represent the weather and writing in the target language the associated phrases. BONUS FUN: Share with them a link to a weather website in a target language country and have them track the weather there, too! You can find calendar pages to create a weather journal as part of our Spanish and French Weather Bulletin board kids.

*BIRD WATCHING COLOR TRACK: I LOVE watching birds come to our feeders outside-even here in Maine, we have a large variety of birds that visit! Though the names of birds in the target language might not constitute high frequency vocabulary, colors are. Repurpose the free scavenger hunt page(s) above by having students use the one in your target language to tally the colors of birds they see outside-set a time limit of 10-15 minutes (or longer)... students put tally marks in the boxes representing the colors they see, then share with you/the class via the platform you are using. (The great part about this activity, as well as many in this post, is kids can do them multiple times! ;) )

*WRITE A POEM: I love the poems which utilize vocabulary words as the outline for a drawing. Provide your students with a set of vocabulary words (could be just one or a set) and prompt them to create a drawing using those words as the outlines-they can then share with you/the class :) The one shown below has just two words- flower & leaf.

Word Poems for World Language Class

*NATURE WALK: One of the activities I include in my En el jardín / Dans le jardin theme packs is tracking what one sees out in nature (worm, bird, flower, etc). Invite your students to do the same when they are out in their garden (if you already have the theme pack, awesome!), or on a hike. They can use tally marks to indicate what they see of each thing.

*SING WHILE WASHING HANDS: Challenge your students to sing a familiar song in the target language while they are washing their hands :)

*COOTIE CATCHERS: Many kids know how to make cootie catchers (they could teach me!)-prompt them to create a cootie catcher using the target language, either entirely, or as a bilingual one (numbers and colors for the initial two rounds, for ex, while fortunes are in the home language).

Using Objects at Home to Spell in the World Language

*FOUND OBJECTS SPELLING: A special shout out to Señora Dana who inspired me with her idea of leaving words spelled using sticks on hiking trails for her students to find... (how cool is that??!!) How about providing your students with a list of words they can choose from (or for older kids, the prompt can be "choose 'x number' of words") to spell using objects found in or around their home & yard. I love this because regardless of what type of socioeconomic group students are from, they have access to the activity, as can be seen in the photo below where I used carrots to spell 'Hola' and stones to spell 'Adiós'. I also love the idea of having the objects themselves connect to the word being spelled, such as in the foto above where I spelled 'rojo' using all red items :)

Use found objects to spell words in the target language

LET ME NOTE: I have been careful to not include activities like cooking and crafts because so many kids either may not have these materials at home and/or I do not want to encourage families to go out to stores during this #stayathome time.

No comments

Post a Comment