Picture of kids playing with magnetic letters. Text overlay "How to use classroom games in Spanish to support second language acquisition."

How to use classroom games in Spanish to support second language acquisition 

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We have all been there! Struggling to get our language learners to say anything in the target language. Don’t get me wrong, I sympathize with them. I was the language learner, too embarrassed to say anything because I was afraid of saying it wrong. However, as language teachers, at some point, we want to see our students start to come out of their shells a little bit. And that was when I decided to give classroom games in Spanish a try. My hope was that playing simple classroom games in Spanish would make them feel more confident to speak. And it worked! My kids were actually speaking in Spanish. 

Now, don’t be fooled. It didn’t happen the first time. We had to talk about routines and procedures, and how I wanted to hear them talking to each other in Spanish… But with some ground rules and lots of encouragement, my students were actually able to move past their fear of speaking in the target language with fun and engaging classroom games in Spanish. 

But before we dive into this week’s blog post, have you seen my FREE teaching strategies guide for dual-language teachers? In this guide, I am sharing nine teaching strategies that will help you set your students on a path towards biliteracy and bilingualism. These are strategies you can start implementing immediately and see amazing results. Click here to get your own copy of the free guide. You can thank me later! 

Classroom games in Spanish to get kids talking 

There are many classroom games in Spanish that you can use to get your students talking, but my absolute favorites are would you rather games in Spanish. I love these games for many reasons. 

Learning new vocabulary 

The first reason why I love these would you rather classroom games in Spanish is that they give me a chance to introduce a lot of new vocabulary to my students. Each slide includes pictures that help my students understand the options in each question. My kids can learn so many new words in just one game! Better yet, they are not just being exposed to these new words, but I expect them to use these words in their conversation with their groups (more on this later.)

Picture of a computer with an example of games for Spanish classroom  displayed on the screen.
Wondering how to use games for Spanish classroom? Read this blog post to learn more about how I use games to practice Spanish with my fourth-graders.

Communicating in Spanish 

The second reason why I love these games is that my students get to practice communicating their ideas in Spanish. Honestly, this is the whole reason why I started playing these games with my students. They are so excited to share their answer, that they are willing to try to do it in Spanish. Later in this post, I will explain exactly how I set up these discussions in my classroom. You can skip ahead by clicking here. 

Practice defending a point-of-view 

These classroom games in Spanish are a great way to teach students to defend their opinions. When we play, I always ask my students to defend their choices in some way. I want them to give the why, not just the what. We want our students to defend their thinking in writing. Why not start with defending their thinking orally? 

Making language learning fun! 

Learning a new language is hard work! I want my students to associate that with having fun as much as I can. In my classroom, that means playing fun and engaging classroom games in Spanish. I know we have a lot to teach and can’t afford to just have fun most of the time. This is why these classroom games in Spanish are perfect. Students are still learning even if they are not sitting at their desks (BORING!) They are learning new vocabulary words. They are constructing sentences. They are sharing and defending their thinking. It is a win-win-win in my humble opinion!

Would you rather classroom games in Spanish 

Finding ready-to-go classroom games in Spanish is not an easy task. When I decided to start playing these games with my students, I searched high and low for something that was already made. I couldn’t find anything! So I decided to create my own games. As of now, I have six “would you rather” classroom games in Spanish available for purchase in my shop. They can be purchased as a bundle or individually. I plan on adding even more games to the bundle in the future. You can click here to check the bundle. 

Picture of would you rather questions for kids on a computer screen.
Would you rather questions for kids promote classroom discussion, introduce students to new vocabulary words, and help students practice using reasons to support their ideas.

How to play “would you rather” classroom games in Spanish 

There are so many ways you can play these classroom games in Spanish in your own classroom. Honestly, the sky is the limit! However, I have added a few ideas here that can help you get started. 

Two corners 

This is my kids’ favorite! By far! I love playing two corners because it gets my students moving. I am the type of teacher who likes a lot of movement in the classroom. So for these games, I assign a corner for each answer based on the position of the pictures on each slide. 

If students want to choose the answer that matches the picture to the right of the slide, they go to the right. If they want to choose the answer on the left, they move to the left. Super simple! 

The secret sauce is what comes next. Once they choose their side, they have to get in groups of 2-3 people and discuss in Spanish why they chose that answer. Everyone has to give at least one reason. How do I monitor that? I walk around and listen. If some of my students are struggling, I allow other group members to help. The small group setting makes it so they feel comfortable trying. 

I give everyone a few minutes, and then ask some students to share their answers. I strongly suggest adding a sentence stem on the board to help them along. “Elegí esta opción porque _____________” 

Finger lights

This is my students’ second favorite way to play our “would you rather” classroom games in Spanish. I while back I bought these finger lights from Amazon for test prep. (If you would like to read more about how I use these finger lights for test prep, I wrote a blog post about it.) 

I give each of my students a finger light. We go over the rules and procedures for using them. Trust me, take time to go over the rules or this won’t end well. Your rules may be different, but mine are: 

  • Don’t touch the lights until I tell you to
  • Don’t turn the lights on until I tell you to 
  • Only point the light towards the answer choice – and only when I ask you to

As we go through each question, I turn all the lights off, and my students use their finger lights to point to their answers on the board. 

Again, the magic happens when you ask your students to defend their answers. When we play with our finger lights, I ask students to turn to their shoulder partner and explain why they chose that answer in Spanish. 

You could combine finger lights and two corners into one game. Students select their answers using their finger lights and then move to the corresponding corner to meet with their groups and defend their answers. 

Picture of would you rather games for kids displayed on a computer screen.
Would you rather games for kids are a great way to get students talking in the classroom.

Stand up – sit down

Very similar to the other ways of playing these classroom games in Spanish, but this time students will share their answers by either standing up or staying seated. This is perfect if you are using this game during your morning meeting (more on that later.) 

Once again, don’t forget that the objective of these games is to get students to speak Spanish. Therefore, it is essential that we ask students to support their answers in the target language. When we play this version of the game, I ask my students to tell their shoulder partners at least one reason that supports their answer. 

Hold a sign

This is a great option if instead of speaking Spanish, you want your students to practice writing in Spanish. Give each student a whiteboard and Expo marker. After displaying the question on the board, give students a few minutes to write their answers in a complete sentence. Their answers would include why they chose that answer. 

This one will require some modeling. Choose one question to answer with your students, modeling how you craft a response. Give students a sentence frame to help them out, too. Yo preferiría ___________ porque _______________. 

Call it the silent game for some extra fun! Anyone who talks is out until you start again. 

How to play “Would you rather” Classroom games in Spanish virtually 

If you teach virtually, you can still play these classroom games in Spanish with your students. Although you could play it whole-group, you are limited in the amount of talking and sharing your students can do. Since the whole purpose of the game was for my students to talk, playing it whole group was not the best choice for me. 

Instead, I allowed my students to play in breakout groups of 3-4. I know it can be scary to allow our students to be in a breakout group “unsupervised,” but if you establish some clear rules from the beginning, they will rise to the occasion. Sometimes, I think we don’t give students enough credit. 

Here are some of my rules whenever my students were in a breakout room:

  • Meeting were always recorded, and I will watch them later, so behave accordingly
  • One strike and you’re out! 
  • No foul language or unkind words to friends 
  • Stay on topic! Do not talk about or share content that is not school appropriate or relevant to the topic at hand 
  • I will be joining your group at any given moment. Make me proud! 

I taught virtually for a whole year and never had problems during breakout groups with these rules. 

When to play classroom games in Spanish 

Now, I know what you are thinking! I love these classroom games in Spanish, but when am I supposed to use them? I don’t have any time! I hear you, and I used to think the same way. But once you see the benefits of playing these games, you will find time in your schedule to play them. Here are some of my suggestions. 

Morning meetings 

To be quite honest, this one did not come to me at first. But one of my customers mentioned on a product review how much she loved using these slides for her morning meeting. Every day she shares one question that they answer during the meeting as a class. How neat is that? The best part of all? The bundle includes a total of 120 slides, with more on the way! That’s a lot of morning meetings!

Classroom parties 

With schools slowly going back to normal, classroom parties are resuming. These games are a great way to keep your students entertained. You can even play them if the parents are visiting, so your students can show some of their language skills to their loved ones. 

Special “odd” days 

We all have those “odd” days in the classroom. From assemblies to early dismissal days, sometimes we need a fun activity that will get our kids moving and fill in some time. I love these classroom games in Spanish because my students are still engaged in a meaningful activity that will move their learning forward. 

Coming back from a long break

This is my favorite way to use these games! We all know that students come back from a long break in need of a refresher course on classroom procedures. Many of my students also haven’t heard Spanish for quite some time because that is not their home language. Every time we have a long break, I bring out one of these classroom games in Spanish. 

I begin by going over our classroom procedures and how we will play the game. Then, as we play, I remind my students of our behavior expectations and address anything that needs to be addressed. Because they want to keep playing, they are much more willing to listen and correct. By the time we are done playing, my students know and remember what the expectations are in my classroom. And we did that while we had fun! 

Picture of a would you rather for kids displayed on a computer screen.
Would you rather for kids can be used to review classroom rules and procedures in a fun way.

Classroom Games in Spanish for the WIN! 

As you can see, these classroom games in Spanish are a great way to get your students to participate in class in the target language. Plus, they will add so much fun to your classroom! 

Currently, my bundle of “would you rather” classroom games in Spanish includes the following sets:

  • First days of school 
  • New Year
  • Spring 
  • Summer
  • Fall 
  • Winter 

I plan to add more sets to this bundle in the future. If you already own the bundle, you will get all new sets for FREE. Visit my shop if you are interested in purchasing these awesome classroom games in Spanish. 

Also, don’t forget to download my FREE guide with nine teaching strategies for dual-language teachers. It’s a must-have! Click here to get your own copy.

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Hi, I'm Rebeca!

I help upper elementary dual language teachers with resources and ideas that promote bilingualism and biliteracy.  

Learn more about me and how I can help you here.

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