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La Lluvia Creative Writing Tutorial: How to offer student choice in Spanish Class

I have been working hard to write thorough activity tutorials to share my favorite routines with you! In each tutorial, I provide a detailed walkthrough as well as resources for you. If there is a certain activity that you want to learn more about, be sure to let me know in the comments. For now, keep reading to learn more about one of my original writing activities, La Lluvia.

La Lluvia Overview

This activity provides students with choice and also provides opportunity for creative thinking, writing, and hands-on review. This is one of the only writing activities where my students *don’t*complain*at*all*!!!!! They have PLENTY of choice when it comes to what they write about, and how they do so.

Students are given a game board/sheet with 30 options to choose from. They “shop” through the raindrops, and choose ten (# is teacher discretion!) to create an original sentences.

They are choosing raindrops based on the teacher prompt: perhaps completely by student choice, to identify vocabulary within a category, or to identify verbs within a designated tense, etc.

This is also an activity that has plenty of room for differentiation. I will give a few ideas in my more detailed explanation below!

Materials

If you plan to print copies for each student, your students will need something to write with. They may also enjoy using markers or colored pencils for the initial part of this activity.

If you are a 1:1 district and you’d rather work paper-free, you can provide students with a PDF copy of this activity via Google Classroom so they can complete it directly on their devices. My students use the app Notability on our school iPads. This app allows them to color and write directly on the PDF.

I always have a few paper copies ready, because many students prefer to use paper every once in awhile and that’s ok with me 🙂 … and they also tend to get excited whenever markers are involved. Yes, even high schoolers like markers!

In the photo above, Sra. Kinneer’s students work on both iPad and paper! Thank you for sharing your experience with me, Señora! 🙂

Prep

Time needed to prepare: 5-10 minutes 🙂
 
First, decide which topic or concept your students will be working on. You can see all of my premade sets right here, or you can download these editable templates so that you can create your own! Many teachers prefer the editable versions, because one purchase leads to endless creation possibilities.
 
(Grab the bundle of My Favorite Editable Templates for even more activity possibilities!)
 
If you are creating your own La Lluvia board, your only task is to fill the 30 raindrops with options for your students.
 
For example, one of my popular sets is for reviewing Los Comparativos. To prepare this activity, I filled the raindrops with 30 pairs for students to compare. Coke + Pepsi, Starbucks + Dunkin’ Donuts, Las Frutas + Las Verduras, Cantar + Bailar… and so on.
 
For vocabulary review, you could simply write your vocab words in the raindrops, one per gota.
 
For grammar or a specific tense, you could type a subject pronoun and infinitive.
 
Another option for assessing grammar: I often create La Lluvia game sheets that motivate students to identify any raindrops that contain a verb that is already conjugated in the designated tense. For example, I will fill the board with common verbs conjugated in the present and preterite. I then direct students to identify all of the AR preterite tense verbs. (If you only have a few minutes, this option could be a perfect opener without the written extension needed!)
That’s it for prep! Once your raindrops are filled with options, the activity is READY for your students. The rest of the prep work is already done for you, whether you downloaded a pre-made set OR the templates. 🙂
 
There is also a template for an optional answer key, if you’d like to provide one for your students!
 
The photo here shows my example “completed” page being used in Señora Kinneer’s class.

Activity Walkthrough

Time needed in class: 15 minutes

Step 1

Once they have your prepared game board, students follow your instruction to identify raindrops.  They read through the 30 options, and color in the designated raindrops as they go. (All of my blue colored pencils become coveted during this activity.)

As the teacher, you decide how many raindrops students are required to choose. I believe 10 is a good place to start, and you can go from there! I usually give students no more than 2-3 minutes to complete this step.

For open ended writing, you can instruct them to choose which raindrops they want to write about.

If you are reviewing grammar, the directions may vary slightly. Instead of choosing which raindrops they’d like to write about, students may be searching for verbs that are conjugated in a specific tense, or identifying all vocabulary words within a certain category, etc.

Step 2

The teacher then decides if and how the students will complete the written extension activity, where they must use the discovered or chosen raindrops to create an original sentence.

After students color in their raindrops they then challenge themselves to use the raindrop contents in original sentences on the other side/second page. For 10 sentences, I usually provide about 10-12 minutes. Student sentences can range from simple to complex depending on proficiency levels, but regardless students should find a way to exhibit their skills within the content while only using the target language 🙂

This activity provides a low-stress opportunity for students to succeed individually. Each student will complete this activity independently, so this is one where I like to observe and see who is moving quickly and who is relying on their group for assistance.

Students enjoy this activity because there is room for plenty of student choice. Teachers enjoy this activity because students are on task, and writing completely original sentences within an activity that seems “easy.”

The photo above shows my example with support being utilized in Señora Kinneer’s classroom!

Differentiation

1) The most straightforward differentiation option is the # of raindrops that you require, or the time you provide. For example, I sometimes offer 15 raindrops as a “challenge,” but only require 10 to be completed. Taking note of who accepts the “challenge” is a great way for me to formatively assess where my students are at, and how confident they are in our current unit.
 
2) On the written extension sheet, you can also provide support to some or all students. In my Los Comparativos example, I have provided sentence structure support for all students on this page. For many of my verions of La Lluvia, I do not offer this extra support. It’s up to you! If you download the editable templates, you will always have the option to add additional support for your students, no matter their proficiency level.
 
3) Looking to make the activity more challenging? Motivate your students to create sentences that relate to one another! Instead of writing random sentences… can they expand upon a particular topic? Can they use this activity as a warm-up for a more cohesive open response writing?
 
4) Want to take it further? You could print out the blank template from my editable version, and require students to create their own game boards! This will take their creative thinking to the next level. Then, you can have students swap game boards with a partner, and have them complete their classmate’s activity 🙂 (I always walk around and do a quick 5 minute check of game boards before allowing them to be redistributed!)

Time to try it!

You can find all of my La Lluvia sets here. I love using this activity in my lower level classes to build confidence with my struggling learners. Building confidence is a huge stepping stone to achieving proficiency 🙂 
 
Even my novice learners are expected to complete the written extension activity! I also love using this activity in my upper levels, to help my students feel more confident about our more difficult grammar themes. Teaching grammar independently is NOT exciting, and it is important to make things as comprehensible and hands-on as possible!
This activity can be modified to support students of all proficiency levels. The photo above shows another pair of students in Sra. Kinneer’s class enjoying the activity 🙂 
 
Reminder:
You can purchase the editable version of this game to create your own versions!

This teacher reached out to me via social media to let me know how she and her students were enjoying my editable templates for La Lluvia!

 

This photo and her comments below are shared with her permission.

 

“I created the La Lluvia activity and my students are working. I am loving it. Such a great way to review the concepts and grammar, and they are so on topic and on task!”

You can read her additional comments under her photo here.

 

Thank you for sharing your experience with me, profe!

Thank you for reading!

I hope you’re leaving with a few new ideas for providing student choice and motivating creative writing! I’d love to know if you try this activity with your students. Feel free to tag me on social media @theengagedspanishclassroom ! 

If there’s a specific activity tutorial you’d like to see, comment below to let me know!

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My name is Erin and I have 8 years of experience teaching high school Spanish. I love building positive student relationships and bringing a bit of fun into my lessons to keep my students engaged!

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AND GAIN ACCESS TO SOME GREAT RESOURCES.