Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunshine, sidewalk chalk, and surviving


6.5 days. That is how many days of school we have left. (Not that anyone is counting, right?) The anticipation of summer vacation has students acting crazy and teachers struggling to find ways to harness all that energy while still being academically-productive. Getting students to focus this time of year is TOUGH. Most are day-dreaming of swimming at the lake, trips to the beach, summer camp, and driving around with their friends. One trick to keeping them on-task and productive? Sidewalk chalk! With sidewalk chalk, you can turn just about any lesson into an engaging, hands-on activity that gets students outside like they have been begging for AND provides students with a meaningful learning opportunity! Win-win!

Ideas for using sidewalk chalk

REVIEW: The Spanish 1 students in the picture above are reviewing for their final project by writing sentences about a variety of topics. Each square was labeled with a different theme that we covered this year in class (la comida, la ropa, la ciudad, me gusta(n), mi familia, etc.) and students rotated to each square and wrote one complete sentence for the topic, plus drew a simple picture to illustrate their sentence. Could we easily have done this in my classroom? Of course. Were students waaaaaay more engaged and excited about writing sentences when they had a piece of chalk in their hands and drawing/writing on the ground? YES. The format also made it simple for me to go around and give feedback to students on their sentences. You could easily adapt this activity to review topics you covered in your own classes.

The Spanish 2 students below are reviewing for their final exam by working in pairs to compare and contrast preterite and imperfect. Each group took over a square and had to draw a picture to help them remember the differences between the two tenses, write five "buzz words" for each (siempre, los domingos, el jueves pasado, etc.), list five examples of when each tense is used (weather, age, single completed action, etc.), conjugate 3 verbs in each tense, and write two example sentences for each. Once squares were complete, we spent 10 minutes gallery-walk style checking out all the squares. Students had to discuss with their partners what made sentences examples of preterite or imperfect. Again, could I have done the same thing as a worksheet? Absolutely. Did my students have a lot more fun, were more engaged, and retain more by doing the task this way? Absolutely. Lots took their phones out afterwards to take a picture of their square to use as a study tool over the weekend. Love it! This activity works great for any review day, any level of Spanish.


SENTENCE WRITING: Give students scrambled sentences and have them write out the sentences with the words in the correct order.

VOCABULARY REVIEW: Call out vocabulary words in Spanish and have students draw pictures to show understanding and label in Spanish for spelling practice.

TIC-TAC-TOE: Have students play Tic-Tac-Toe with verb conjugations.

GAMES: Turn any game into an even more fun competition by having students compete outside with sidewalk chalk! Check out THIS BLOG POST for games I love playing with task cards. The relay race game would be really fun outside if you had a good wall to write on!

TASK CARDS: Love using task cards as much as I do? Lay them out and assign students certain ones to complete using sidewalk chalk!


Looking for task cards to review everything your students learned in Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 before you send them out the door for summer? Check out these cute summer-themed sets! Each is designed to give your students a well-rounded review of topics covered in Spanish 1 and Spanish. Click HERE for the Spanish 1 task cards and HERE for the Spanish 2 task cards! These would be perfect for using outside with sidewalk chalk!













There are hundreds of different ways you can use sidewalk chalk with your classes. Please leave a comment below if you have a great idea you want to share! I would love to hear it!

*Disclaimer: Make sure you run an activity like this by your principal first! Mine has always loved the idea, but you never know! Better to be safe than sorry. :)



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