6 student-focused ways to teach farm animals in Spanish
Happy New Year to all of our Rock A Lingua teachers! We hope that you’re having a smooth transition back into the classroom after the holidays and that you’re taking on 2018 with a lot of energy and enthusiasm! ¡Sois campeon@s! Today on the blog we’re going to take a look at different ideas for teaching farm animals in Spanish (la granja y sus animales).
The topic of farm animals is one of the best units to teach kids in Spanish. It’s a topic that they are naturally interested in (who doesn’t love animals?), have experience with in their native language, and that they can relate to because they’ve usually seen the animals before in person, at petting zoos, or in films. Plus, it’s easy to make it into an active topic and gives ample opportunities to put your students in the drivers seat and produce the language.
You can start by introducing the topic in multiple ways: visually (pictures), with sounds (guess the animal), or with our song and lyrics. The song combines the names of the animals with simple sentences and a natural use of the language. It also gives the students the chance to hear what animals say in Spanish! If the sounds are different you can take the time to compare what the animals sound like in Spanish versus your students’ native languages. For classes that are reading and writing you can download the lyrics and drawings to help your students follow along.
Here are some of our ideas of how you can practice La granja y sus animales in your Spanish classroom. If you have any different ideas or any spins on our ideas, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!
1. Video comic
Video comics are the perfect way to practice because they are visual, use simple but natural language and tell a story that your students can follow along with. You can use the video comic in many different ways, which makes it easy to adapt to different class levels.
Reading and retelling a story: Have students read through the printed version of the comic before watching it. You could have them see the comic little by little and guess what will happen next or you could have them read through it all at once and then relay the events of the story back to you as a class to practice retelling the story in their own words. Once they’ve finished reading and retelling the story play the video comic for them.
Acting: First play it so that they can hear the pronunciation and see the way that the story is told. Once they’ve watched it you can put them into groups and have them act out the video comic either exactly how it is presented or allowing them to change it by including different animals or adding new elements to the story. Once the groups have had a chance to practice they can present their version in front of the class.
After you've played around with the video comic make sure to check out our farm animals video that combines animal sounds, characteristcs about the farm animals and has lyrics on the screen that your students can easily follow along with. You can use it along with our worksheets or as a quick warm-up/review!
Students can color their picture dictionary (which can be found on our website and printed for free) making sure to label each animal and practice the vocabulary. Once each student has their own picture dictionary they can glue it into their notebooks and use it as a reference during class if they forget the name of an animal or they can cut it up into cards and use it to play different games, for example Memory!
3. Animal descriptions
Writing: Have each student choose an animal and write a description about that animal using vocabulary and grammar structures you’ve worked on in class. Make sure to give an example and any useful language you would like them to use in the description. For lower levels you might create a template or skeleton outline of what you want and have them fill it in with different information about their animal. Once they’ve finished with the description you can correct it (or they can peer-correct) and draw a picture of the animal to accompany the text. You can display the texts around the room so that everyone can see.
Reading: Before class the teacher should prepare short (or long depending on the level) descriptions about different animals. Make sure that the descriptions are numbered and hang them around the room. The students must get up and go around the room reading the descriptions and writing down on a piece of paper which animal it is describing. You can make it competitive by giving the student with the most correct guesses a prize or do it in small groups or pairs.
Speaking: Write down the names of all of the animals that you are practicing on small slips of paper and put them into a bowl or a hat (or anything you have around that students can pull the paper out of). A student can come to the front of the class and choose a slip of paper. They then must describe the animal to the class until a classmate guesses which animal is written on the paper. *For this activity, it might be necessary to put useful language on the board to help students give the type of description that you are aiming for. It’s also important to give a good example of what you want before beginning the activity.
4. Read and draw
This is a simple no-prep activity that you can use to review vocabulary or as a fun activity to end class with. Each student needs a sheet of paper and something to draw with. Write the name of an animal on the board. The students must read the name of the animal and draw a small picture of it on their paper. You can expand upon the activity by having the students think of a sentence for each animal and writing it below the little picture.
5. Hot Seat (animal stye)
Choose a student to come to the front of the room. Have them sit in a chair facing the class but in a way that they can’t see the board. Write the name of an animal on the board. The student in the “hot seat” facing the class can ask questions to classmates by calling on them and then asking the question. The classmate who can see what the animal is can answer the question. The questioning continues until the student in the hot seat guesses the animal correctly. Another student comes to the front of the class and the game continues.
6. Animal masks
This activity is perfect to practice simple question formation. Give each student an animal mask without letting them see which animal they are. Sit in a circle. Each student will have the opportunity to ask a yes or no question about their animal to the class.
¿Soy grande? ¿Soy blanco y negro?
The class will respond with sí or no until the students can guess which animal they are. When multiple students have guessed you can collect the masks and repeat the activity by giving each student a new animal.
Download printable masks here or make your own!
Our units are designed so that each theme has mutiple activites for you to take advantage of. In addition to these ideas and videos make sure to check out the corresponding worksheets and online games that you can use to help practice the language either by playing drag and drop or a concept race both in easy or difficult modes
We hope our ideas can help make planning easier this January! Please comment below and let us know what your favorite activities are for teaching farm animals in your Spanish classroom. Thanks for reading and happy teaching!