Teaching the Super 7 Verbs in Spanish
Most language teachers have been where their students are at some point in their lives. Those first few classes (or experiences with a new language) where you are excited to learn and a little bit nervous that you won't be able to do it well. All langague learners have had those oh so humbling moments when we realize that we have so much to say and absolutely no way to say it in that second language. Enter, the Super Seven Verbs. This concept of compiling and teaching the highest frequency verbs in a language was first used by Terry Waltz and has since expanded to include all languages, all around the globe. Here they are in Spanish.
1 está (is at a place / is feeling)
2 hay (there is / there are)
3 tiene (has)
4 es (is)
5 le gusta (likes / is pleasing to)
6 va (goes / is going)
7 quiere (wants)
These Super 7 are the perfect way to set your Spanish students up for success and help them build their confidence. With these high frequency verbs your students have the potential to talk about things that are important to them with simple sentence structures and the vocabulary they are learning in your classroom. The best part about the Super Seven Verbs is that they can be recycled and repeated in all different contexts without becoming monotonous or boring and they can be introduced at any age.
So, what are some of the best ways that we can practice these verbs? First of all, we’re big fans of putting useful language up around the classroom where it can be used as a quick reference and visually reminds our kids of what we’re working on. We find it helpful for our visual learners, and we like the idea that you could put it up blank and add the words to it as you practice them in class. Here are some of our favorite ideas to practice the Super Seven.
Practice this verb combined with feelings "estoy + feelings" with these teaching resources for children. Sing and dance to this song, print out and color the lyrics, play the online digital game that corresponds to the vocabulary, use and resue the flashcards, and save the picture dictionary for future reference.
Don't forget that we also have this Spanish worksheet for kids to build literacy skills.
Use this graphic video comic about feelings as a form of digital storytelling to practice listening comprehension
Practice this verb exploring the city and city related vocabulary with these Spanish resources for kids
+ Younger children love story time, and so do teachers, especially when it's practicing a high frequency structure that's easy to understand with strong visual clues and repetitive. Check out this story recomendation by Spanish Playground for the book La Casa Adormecida.
"This is a wonderful translation by Alma Flor Ada. The repetition and the rhythm of the lines as something new is added with each page soon have children predicting and repeating the Spanish.
Y en esa casa hay una cama…
Y en esa cama hay una abuela…
Y sobre esa abuela hay un niño…
Y sobre ese niño hay un perro…
The book has beautiful illustrations, and children love looking for the pulga (flea) and the ratón(mouse) on each page. Reading this book is an excellent Spanish language learning experience and a wonderful way to spend time with children."
+ For a very low-prep and fun speaking activity to practice in class is to choose a picture of photo and have your students comment on what they see using the structure “Hay….” This activity is wonderfully adaptable and can be used with pictures from a book, if you use one in class, a favorite story you’ve read to the kids, an image from the internet or a photo you’ve picked out that practices the vocabulary you’re currently working on.
Combine vocabulary about the family, the verb "ser", and "tiene" with this Spanish song for kids and these related resources.
+ Add a speaking element by going around the class and asking how many brothers or sisters each student has. Once some students have answered check that the class was listening by asking them to tell you how many brothers or sisters one of the their classmates have, practicing the él/ella form of the verb tener.
+ Practice the simple sentence structures seen in this song, which include tener by first listening and then interviewing students in your class asking for key information like: name, where they are from (to combine with ser) and their age. With younger children introduce the information bit by bit and make sure to give an example first. For older students you could put the interaction in writing on the board that could be looked at in case they need a reminder.
¿Cómo te llamas? Me llamo….
¿De dónde eres? Soy de…
¿Cuántos años tiene? Tengo…
If you have lively classes that are excited to participate have two students participate in the interaction, one asking the questions and the other answer. Practice first in pairs and then present in front of the class.
+ For a fun game to play with young Spanish students try ROBA LA VACA from Fun for Spanish Teachers. “This game is really simple. One student stands guard by a small animal but is blindfolded. The students chant “Roba la vaca” while someone (usually chosen by the teacher) steals the cow and hides it. The blindfolded person may ask three questions about who stole it (in Spanish) and then must guess by saying “Maria tiene la vaca.” If the student guesses correctly, a new guardian is chosen.”
For older students we love the ideas that Allison, from Mis Clases Locas, put together in this blog post about teaching the Super 7. We especially love her “special person interviews” that focus on different verbs. There are many possibilities to use this for younger students, but so far our favorite is to first practice the question and the answer as a class with the teacher demonstrating pronunciation and leading the activity. Introduce it with this song: What's your name? ¿Cómo te llamas? (that has lyrics and drawings available!)
¿De dónde eres? Yo soy de….
+ Once the students have practiced, invite a stronger student to the front of the class and have that student choose three classmates to ask the question to.
¿De dónde eres? Yo soy de…. (Teacher asks one student and that student answers the question)
+ Elaborate on the activity by practicing the different verb tenses:
(Teacher asks the class) ¿De donde es?
(The class answers) Es de….
+ Depending on the age of the class you could use the musical brain break suggested suggested in the Super 7 blog post: Soy Yo, seeing how many times your students hear the word “Soy” or use it to play the statues game, pausing it periodically and having your kids freeze before pressing play and they can move again.
+ A fun speaking game to play with your students: Veo, Veo! Play as a class or play in small groups. You can use the traditional rhyme or make it shorter for the purposes of practicing “Es una/un…”,“No, no es / Sí, es”. For younger students it might be hard to choose an object under pressure, so make it easier by using the vocabulary you’re practicing in class. If you’re sitting in a circle put the flashcards in the center and have them choose one from there. If you’re in a traditional classroom setting put them up on the board either digitally or stick the flashcards to the board. You can put the cards up on the board and have them choose from there. Mix it up and get the whole class responding by calling a student up to the front of the class and having them face the class. Behind them on the board put a vocabulary card. The student then guesses which word is behind them on the board and the class responds by saying “No, no es una bufanda” , “Sí, es un abrigo.” Once the student guesses the answer call up another to take their place and repeat the game.
On our website we have lots of different teaching resources for kids to practice “me gusta”. From combining I like and I am to practicing transportation vocabulary and hobbies, this verb is super versatile and can easily be related to children's lives.
This song, video and printable lyrics focus on "I like and I am".
The resources about hobbies can very naturally be combined with “Me gusta / no me gusta” . Find them here.
Practice with transportation vocabulary
Practice “Me gusta” “a mi también” with this fun and simple speaking game, with super cute visuals created by Carolina over at Fun for Spanish teachers.
Talk about something that all of your children can relate to, how they get to and from school every day. Practice with the song and worksheet before turning it into a speaking activity either in pairs, small groups, or as a whole class. Take a class poll or just ask and answer.
+ Combine ir + quiere in this speaking activity: Start by telling the students what you want to do and ask if the place is correct for that activity.
Ex: Quiero leer un libro. ¿Voy a la piscina?
Call on a student to tell you were you should go, highlighting that they should use the structure “Vas a….”. Repeat with different activities and places. You can have students thing of their own examples and respond as a class.
+ Our hobbies video is another great way to practice voy in a way that is directly relatable to your students’ lives. Check it out here!
+ Practice "Quiero..." through storytelling with the book, ¡Quiero mi plátano! The story is repetitive, uses natural and simple sentence structures and has great visual images!
+ Teach “Te quiero / le quiero” with songs:
+ Use Valentine’s Day to practice saying I love you to all of your students’ friends and family members or follow this tutorial to make this Valentine’s day craft, which includes a video tutorial and craft template.
Once you’ve introduced and practiced the verbs, review them with this online game!
Thanks for reading along with us. We hope you have a wonderful week teaching and make sure to leave any comments about how you teach the Super 7 in your Spanish classes in the section below or on our Facebook page! Keep on rocking!