Monday, May 4, 2015

Centers in the WL classroom - Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Whether it is because you want to bring an exciting new aspect into your teaching methods, or you would like to encourage more movement and active learning, or perhaps you want to differentiate learning, there are various reasons to implement “centers” into the World Language classroom. 

On this particular occasion, I was able to volunteer as a cultural guest speaker in order to share my knowledge of the “Cinco de Mayo” celebration of Puebla, Mexico. The lesson and centers were used in Spanish 1 classes consisting of students from Grades 6 - 8.

The lesson began with a 2-minute video to introduce the “Cinco de Mayo” historical background. Next, using Haiku Deck (and 2 decks), I introduced 20 new vocabulary words through images, oral response and pronunciation “gimmicks,” along with a little TPR. Finally, students were separated into six groups of 3-4 students for centers for small-group play. 


-Tierra de Dulces (Candyland) - using stuffed colorblock die, 4 game pieces (Go-go’s), a gameboard (hand-made on foam board), and the Haikudeck cards (images printed on cardstock as a PPT, with 9 slides on each page, cut apart) Students move along, while identifying cards by naming the correct word/phrase in Spanish.

-Lotería (Mexican Bingo) - Using a simple “table” in Word/Pages, within 16 boxes, I copied the images randomly into the boxes, and then labeled the Spanish terms under each image. Second, I randomized it and made 3 different boards. Third, I made a black-and-white copy of the PPT (9 slides on each page), cut them out, and placed them in a SOLO cup (for individuals to draw upon). Taking turns, students would draw one card from the cup, and give the group a clue or riddle, in Spanish. All of them would place a penny, or Bingo marker on the word, if they have it. First to get four in a row yells Lotería and wins the game.

-Matamoscas (Fly Swatter) - I wrote the names of all the vocabulary words in Spanish on the board in random “directions,” and handed 2 of the 4 students a swatter. I then called words aloud in English (or gave a riddle), and then students hit the correct Spanish translation. The students took turns in teams of 2. Whomever got the answer correct first, received the clue card and held onto it until the end of the game. Whichever team acquired the most clue cards won.

-Cabeza Arriba (Head’s Up) - created with the Card Creator app and allowing students to use my cell phone, a group of 3-4 students played the game. This game resembles Charades, but backwards. Whomever gets the most points (or most answers guessed correctly) wins. 

-Tiny Tap - Students can independently create an interactive question-and-answer session using the images from Haiku Deck, and their own voice/written questions to test for comprehensibility.

-Thinglink - Students can independently create an interactive “photo” where they add their voice/video using the images from Haiku Deck to demonstrate understanding.

Hope these activities prompt your own creation of CENTERS, whether it be for “El Cinco de Mayo” or any other vocabulary unit you have. Happy active learning!

Haiku Decks:

Cinco de Mayo - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Cinco de Mayo - Vocab - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

All my files can be found here:

Uno más: Here is another resource I have from a teacher from Schoology: