I absolutely love utilizing games in Spanish class. For starters, they help me engage even the most reluctant students. Games also bring fun and spontaneity into the learning process, and they provide a great opportunity for me to formatively assess my students’ progress.
I used to think that games were only appropriate for review right before a quiz or a test, but over the past 7 years I have developed various games and activities that are helpful during all stages of the learning process. Yes, review games are appropriate before a quiz or other assessment, but they can also be used seamlessly as warmups or exit tickets, brain breaks, and more.
Almost everything I do in my classroom can be tied back to my focus on positive teacher-student relationships. I believe that my relationship with my students has been the biggest game changer for me over the past few years. Developing strong relationships has made classroom management easier and I am seeing more language use and higher proficiency levels! I plan my lessons with my student relationships in mind. Utilizing games is no different. When I am able to involve competition in my classroom, my students tend to have more fun and therefore so do I. If we are all happy, and we are all engaged, then my students are learning 🙂 Above all, I am improving relationships today which will in turn help me to reach them tomorrow!
Why create my own?
When I first started teaching, I had trouble finding games that I felt were challenging enough for my students. If I did find a game that I liked, it usually took a lot of prep time or required materials that I didn’t have. (For example, Jenga games, dry-erase dice, etc.)
When I couldn’t find games and activities that I liked, I decided to make my own. I created games for speaking, listening, reading, and writing in the target language. My goal was to make my job easier and save myself time, so I also created templates for my games that I can edit time and time again. (I am able to share some of these templates with you currently, and I’ll work to create more!)
My editable game templates of all my favorite games below can be found in a bundle here. These are my “go-to” games for every unit.
I have over 40 premade Taco Tuesday games. This game is great for vocabulary or grammar!
Taco Tuesday is perfect for any length of time, and adjustable for all levels of Spanish class. It is best played in groups of 2-3 students; the teacher gives clues aloud and students race to find the correct taco on the game board. Whoever finds it first, gets to color it in *their* color. I have a post with differentiation ideas right here!
The editable version comes with four game board sizes, with digitally editable versions as well as copies that are ready to print and take with you to lunch duty! This game is best played in groups of 2-3.
Ready-Made Puzzles — Perfect for vocabulary or grammar! This activities is best for individual students or pairs. I love to use puzzles as a warm-up, as a quick competition, or as extra review before a quiz. Keep an eye out for a blog post about the ways I use puzzles soon!
The editable templates include options for square and triangle puzzles. They are digitally editable and also ready to print and go!
Guerra de Miel
Guerra de Miel game sets — this game is best for practicing grammar topics, and is one of my board games that comes with it’s own card set. Guerra de Miel is best played in groups of 2-3, and students will catch on quickly! They sit with their small group and one game board with numbered spaces. Students take turn choosing a card from the top of the pile. If the card has a number, they complete that numbered space on the board. If their group confirms their answer (or you can provide the answer key,) the student is allowed to claim that honeycomb space by writing their initials. If the card has a command such as MIEL GRATIS o ROBA UN ESPACIO, students follow those instructions before ending their turn 🙂 At the end of the game, the student with the most spaces wins!
I have created editable templates for this game as well.
Llama Mía Game Sets — this editable speaking activity feels like a game and gets students talking in the target language! This is best for groups of 2-3 and while I use it for grammar, it can be adjusted for almost any topic.
Students need to roll dice (or use the Dice iPad/iPone app!) to move around the board. When they land on the space, you decide whether they need to create a simple conjugation or perhaps a full sentence to “earn” that space. If they can’t do it, they must move back to their original space. The first student to the center wins! We usually play 2 rounds which only takes about 10-15 minutes total.
If you want to create your own Llama Mía game boards, click here to see my editable templates.
Tiburones Game Sets — this is another speaking activity that my students love. This game takes a little more prep time, and so I save the game sets from year to year to save myself some time! This game is appropriate for small groups up to 4 or 5 students.
Students pull a strip from the envelope and they again must conjugate or create a sentence aloud (teacher discretion.) If they are able to do so correctly, they keep their strip. If they cannot, they must return the strip to the envelope. If they pull a TIBURÓN strip, they must return ALL of their strips except for the shark.
Each game has 25 game strips and 3 shark strips. I have them keep the sharks out once they are pulled so that there will be a winner. My classes also play with a silly rule that if you are unlucky enough to pull all 3 shark strips, you win 🙂
I love disguising speaking activities as games! You can find the Editable Tiburones set here.
Sonidos Secretos Game Sets — This is another game that allows me to sneak in extra speaking into class time. I actually use this “game” as a REWARD for my students, and they love it!
Students work in pairs for this game. One student wears headphones (with music loud but not *too* loud) while the other student pulls a card. The student with the card has to quietly — yet dramatically — whisper the sentence or phrase on the card. The student with the headphones has to decipher what their partner is saying!
This helps students with their pronunciation and their confidence speaking. They also get really silly, which is fine with me!
My students beg for this game, and I created an editable version so that you can create your own!
Doble Donas Game Sets — This game is very similar in set-up to Guerra de Miel, however a student choice aspect has been added. When a student chooses a numbered space on the board, there are TWO options provided.
In my more advanced (or competitive) classes, they often self-impose a rule that you actually have to answer *both* in order to earn the space!
Editable templates for this game are also available.
La Lluvia Sets — This is a perfect activity for when you want to provide some student choice! Students are given a game board/sheet with 30 options to choose from. They “shop” through the raindrops, and choose ten (teacher discretion!) to create an original sentence about.
You can purchase the editable version of this game to create your own versions!
My bestseller and most competitive game: La Silla Caliente
La Silla Caliente
Some of my games are best in pairs or small groups, while others are for the entire class. One I want to explain more about today is “La Silla Caliente.” I love this game because every student is involved during every single question. It doesn’t matter your class size, which is wonderful in my classes of 29 and 30.
To start, I separate my students into teams of 4-5 students. We arrange our desks in rows, and each team sits in a line from front to back. During the game, however, they cannot communicate with their team members in any way.
In this game, I project a question on the TV/projector. To respond to each question during this game, students utilize the Notability app on their iPads or they use our small whiteboards. I project the question, read it aloud, and they have 15 seconds to answer. When I shout “muéstrame” they all must show their responses at once. Each student must answer every question as we go, because their team might need them!
*If the first person in their team row gets the answer correctly, their team earns 5 points.
*If the first person answers incorrectly but the second person in the row gets it right, their team earns 4 points.
*If the first two students have wrong answers but the third person back has it right, their team earns 3 points…. and so on.
I keep score on the board as we go. Teams are typically pretty competitive and close in score for the majority of the game, since one question could lead to +5, which is great.
When I create this game template, I alternate question slides with an answer slide directly after. This way, students can see the correct spelling/punctuation of each answer even if they answered incorrectly. I found that projecting the answers as we go was much more efficient than repeating the correct answer over and over and sometimes pausing to write it on the board.
After each question, the student in the front desk moves to the back of their team, and each other team member moves forward. This way, students all have a turn at being the 5 point responder, or in”La Silla Caliente.”
This is a game I like to play when we have at least 30 minutes available. My teams get VERY competetive, and I’d say this is the game they request the most! We don’t get to play it very often, which I think makes them even more eager to play 🙂
You can see all of my Silla Caliente game sets here.
I hope I have inspired you to try a new game this week! I have lots of other games and activity lines, so be sure to comment below to let me know which ones deserve an explanation post! Or, comment to let me know your favorite 🙂
Thank you for reading!