My Spanish III students have been in the “travel” chapter. For the past 4 years, I’ve had my students “travel” to Argentina, and I have had them work quite a bit with maps and geography (two of the many links I use). One of the activities that I do is to have them compare Buenos Aires and Washington, D.C. Of course, initially, they don’t know what they are doing!
The first thing I do is divide them into groups (no more than 4 students per group) and give each group a packet of laminated, full color pictures (all pictures are located on the powerpoint below, just separated). Those pictures include geographical markers, sports, food, government buildings, etc. I ask the students to categorize the pictures into no more than 6 groups, and to write the names of the categories they chose. Buenos Aires DC categorization student group sheet The back of this paper will be used for the similarity/difference activity the next day.
I then asked them if they could guess the places/cities in the pictures. Of course, they came up with D.C. immediately, and because we had begun our preliminary introduction (Qué sabes de opening activity 2014) to Argentina, they guessed Buenos Aires. The next step was to divide the pictures into two groups: Buenos Aires/D.C.: quickly and easily done. We used this powerpoint Buenos Aires Washington, D.C. 2014 revised and started to talk about the similarities and differences between the two places. We continued this work the next day, but did not finish the powerpoint. Instead, I gave them the packet of pictures again and this time, also gave them captions Facts for Buenos Aires Washington D.C.. I asked them to match the captions with the pictures. Two members of the group were responsible for D.C. and two were responsible for Buenos Aires. They had to share information with each other when they finished, and I then also had them choose one picture/caption from D.C., and one from Buenos Aires that they were responsible for “teaching” to each other. They practiced reading captions to each other, choosing the appropriate pictures, etc. We then finished the powerpoint, and each group completed the paper Buenos Aires DC categorization student group sheet with their similarities/differences. It always amazes me how much the students DON’T know about their own capital!
The next day, in groups of two, I gave each student 9 words. Their task was to describe the nine words to their partner, without using the actual word, so that their partner would say that word(s). Each one had nine different words. Argentina questions Since we had been doing some map work, and we had watched several short clips about Argentina, I had them work with that partner to color code this map. La Argentina primer trabajo del mapa
Borrowing an activity from one of my colleagues, I had my students work with another partner to complete a reading/listening and map activity. Each partner got a description of an imaginary trip that he/she had taken. They read it silently, then they read it to their partner. I had them read aloud several times, using various “voices”. The next day, they each got a map, and the partner read the description of his/her trip one more time to his/her partner. This time, the partner was drawing everything that was said on the map. Once they finished, they had to write 5 sentences, using ONLY the map that they had drawn on, to describe the trip of their partner. While this activity was going on, I was conducting individual one minute speaking assessments with each student in the class. Partner description of trip to Argentina with drawing activity 5 sentence about partner’s trip
A final speaking/pronunciation assessment came from a Google Voice assignment that I gave them 2 nights to complete. We practiced reading a paragraph about a trip to Argentina several times. They all read, and I timed them. Finally, they called my Google Voice number and recorded it. Google voice paragraph read Hice un viaje a Buenos Aires
A final activity with maps that was 100% engaging (again borrowed from a colleague): I gave a group of two students a blank map of South America in a sheet protector; the map had NO political divisions. Each student had a different colored dry erase marker and eraser. Their task was to draw all 13 countries and capitals, the equator, the Andes mountains, and label the oceans. I had to see approximately equal colors on their finished work to indicate that both partners had shared equally in the work. I was amazed at how intently they worked on this activity!