Hola. teachers! Whether you are a new qualified or experienced teacher, you will find these items very helpful for your classroom. Decorating your teaching area or getting the right resources for your lessons doesn’t have to be tiring or expensive. Check out these 5 essential items you need in your Spanish classroom!
#1. Storytelling dice
Spice up your writing practice!
How to use them: These are ideal for intermediate and advanced students. First, organise your pupils in small groups and give them a couple of these storytelling dice. They must throw them and come up with a story (it can be as crazy as they want!) by using to the prompts they got.
Why I love them: Creative writing can be very stimulating and fun for young learners. By giving students concrete options to work with, we are requiring a greater precission in their writing expression. At the same time, this exercise helps working with a wide range of vocabulary and tenses. I got mine from Flying Tiger for 6€ (around 6$) . If you prefer a cheaper option, you can get blank cubes and draw the images yourself or try these online story dice, which are also great!
#2. Hispanic realia
If you are a teacher, I’m pretty sure you’ve used realia without even realising!
Realia refers to those objects or materials from everyday life that are used in a specific context or place. For instance, maps, tourist leaflets or restaurant menus are good examples of realia. But this category doesn’t only refer to texts or images! A typical Spanish fan or an Argentinian mate cup can be realia as well.
How to use it: This material helps introducing new vocabulary without recurring to our students’ first language. They also helps us practise and consolidate vocabulary or grammar structures that we have taught. Also, these objects can be used for enhancing the spoken competence: For instance, we could use a restaurant menu or leaflet as a base for a roleplay between students.
Why I love it: Realia connects students to the target culture, thus making the learning experience more memorable. And if you’re planning to go on holiday to a Spanish-speaking country, don’t forget to bring back some realia for your classroom!
#3. Classroom decorations
This is one of the key items you need in your Spanish classroom! If you’re lucky enough to have your own teaching space, it’s worth decorating it. And no, you don’t need to spend a fortune on this, especially if you’re good on arts and crafts!
Decoration does not only help create a more welcoming space for our students, but it can also help them revisit key vocabulary and grammar.
For instance, I love decorating my classroom with idioms in Spanish (my students love these!); posters about diverse historical figures; or common vocabulary posters (e.g., emotions).
#4. Board games (or games in general!)
There is a common perception that the learning process should be something serious. So, very often, games are used as an activity when there is some time left at the end of lessons. However, in No Panic Spanish we cannot emphasise enough the importance of having fun and playing while learning languages. Also, this is a good opportunity to show your pupils about the traditional games from the different speaking countries, such as the Mexican loteria or the unique Spanish deck!
If you don’t want to spend lots of money, why don’t you give a new life to those old, forgotten board games we all have at home? Here’s how I did it!
Of course, not all teachers has board games on hand! Don’t worry, low-prep games are here to save your life.
#5. A space for real language
Quite recently, I decided to start dedicating some time to teach my students idioms or slang phrases in Spanish. And it was a huge success! There are some Spanish idioms that sound totally crazy, and pupils love using them in and outside the classroom! Fortunately, I have a second whiteboard, so I use them for important notices (e.g. exam dates) and for my slang phrase of the week.
Other ideas: Depending on the topic that you are teaching, come up with a word or expression (e.g. “Me gusta + infinitive“) and reward students every time they use it in their spoken or written work.
That’s all, amigos! What other items would you add to the list? Leave a comment!
If you are interested in Spanish teaching, I’m sure you’ll find these articles helpful!