If you know me at all, you probably know that Taco Tuesday is one of my favorite games to play with my Spanish class students. My creation of this game stemmed from my need for a game that the entire class could play at once – while actually engaging all students!
With large class sizes (that often continue to grow…) I am always trying to create activities that are:
- flexible in group sizing and length of play
- low prep
- effective and engaging for any number of students
Taco Tuesday was one of the first games that helped me reach all of these goals. I have since created many templates, as well as a bundle of various completely editable game board sizes. I have also transformed the game to be digital ready, which you can learn more about here.
If you’re wondering how to play in a traditional class setting, or how to differentiate for your students’ varying ability levels, read on!
Why we love Taco Tuesday
I love seeing the level of excitement and commitment in my classroom every time we play Taco Tuesday. By the end of each round, there are sometimes tense friendships, budding arch nemesis, holes in the game board, and earned bragging rights (see photo.)
My favorite is when there are year-long battles where students are determined to have the most wins. They want to claim the (absolutely non-existent) Taco Tuesday Crown.
This game helps build a sense of community in my classroom, and is my go-to even from the first day of class. Read about how I use it from DAY 1 right here.
I hope you find this helpful!
Find a more detailed digital tutorial below. Or keep reading on this page to find differentiation ideas and strategies for both styles of gameplay.
How to Play
If there is a tie for a certain word, I have my students quickly play rock, paper, scissors to determine the winner. This happens once or twice per game. This game gets very competitive and sometimes the papers at the end are in ROUGH shape. When we get toward the end of the game, I sometimes make my students close their eyes and keep their hands behind their backs as I give the clues. They sometimes impose silly rules upon themselves, and I’ll include some of their favorite ideas below.
Ideas for Differentiation
Double-Up or Triple-Up
Time Played: Placement + Duration
Based on your class climate/ability, there are a few ways to decide how long you will play for. For a class that gets easily riled up, I usually play for shorter bursts of 5-7 minutes. I will also strategically place the game time either toward the beginning or end of class. If it is a Monday, I’ll often play at the start to wake them up. If it is later in the week, we can play at the end of class to regain their focus and keep them on task until the bell. With shorter games they may ask to play the following day as another quick warmup, and that’s fine! Switching partners makes the game feel brand new.
For more skilled classes or faster moving students in general, I sometimes work through the entire game board. This is the rare “Total Taco.” I usually only do this on half days or days where one class has moved ahead of another class. I also usually only do this if we have gotten through everything for the day/week. My students know it is a reward for working hard! For example, I have one class that meets for one extra day per week (the periods are shorter so the time objectively should be equal, but they always seem to move ahead) and they are often my only class that gets to witness #TotalTaco.
- “Ok, we have to turn the paper over until she finishes reading the clue”
- “Hands behind your back for this one!”
- “You have to tap the word with your elbow!”
- “You have to tap two other answers before you tap the right one!”
- “Eyes closed until she says it!”
- “Markers have to stay capped and in the tray until she’s done speaking!”
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Interested in a second free game, this time for the present tense of AR verbs? Grab it here!