So, the trick to teaching with comprehensible input is to get a million repetitions in a way that doesn’t feel repetitive. Games are one way that make that task easier for me and this game is especially good at giving them lots of repetitions without them realizing it.
Remember that memory game where you spread all the cards out on the table and flipped over two, hoping they were a match? Well, instead of pictures, write questions and answers and you’ve got a repetitive and comprehensible input game. Easy Peesy. Either the teacher can prepare the cards beforehand or the students can prepare them in class. It works well to review a class story, a class novel, or I use it to review all the fabulous drama in the telenovela Gran Hotel that we’re watching, discussing and obsessed with in Spanish 4.
To set up: On pieces of Construction Paper and using markers, write out questions and answers, being cautious to write big enough so that when you hold it up, students can read it. (Write either a question or answer on a single piece of paper.)
Pro Tip: Don’t use regular printer paper or else you can read through the paper!
Then flip all the questions and answers over and shuffle them well. Number all the papers and spread them out in order. (Sometimes I use magnets to put them on the board, sometimes I spread them on the floor. My students sit in a U formation, so they can see them on the floor.)
Pro Tip: When I played this in class to review Episodes 1-3 of Gran Hotel my students wrote the questions and answers. Working in in pairs they were assigned a part to review by rereading their summaries. (So one pair was assigned scenes 1-14 of episode 1, and a different pair had a different section so that everything we’ve watch so far was assigned). Then they wrote 2 review questions and the 2 answers in Spanish, each on a different paper. (They first wrote their Q and A on a white board and showed it to me to make sure it was correct, them wrote it on their paper- if they’re writing their Qs and As, be sure to correct them so everyone is getting nice, clean input!)
To Play: Students are divided into 3 teams and within each team, students are paired up. They work with their partner to earn points for their team.
Starting with Team 1, the first pair of students announces two numbers. The teacher flips one paper over, shows it to everyone and reads it out loud, repeating two or three times. Then the teacher flips the other number over they requested, shows it to everyone and reads it out loud. If the two papers match (a Q and an A that go together) they are given to the team and count as 1 point. If the papers do not match, they are replaced face down and the teacher asks the first pair of students in Team 2 to pick two numbers. Rotate through all the teams. A new pair picks the cards each time. Play until all pairs are found the winners, of course, is the team with the most Q and A matches. In my class, this means the winners bring me their stamp sheet for a highly coveted stamp.
It’s so great because kids are focused and engaged remembering which numbers contain which questions or answers and there are so many repetitions because most numbers get called many times before they figure out which papers match. Ha! How’s the for fooling them into enjoying lots of repetitions?!
Pro Tip: I like my kiddos to exclaim ¡Qué casualidad! (What a coincidence!) when their team gets a match. (I withhold the papers until the whole team says it). They also have to express their disappointment when the cards their team called are not a match. I write up a few options on the board: ¡Híjole! ¡Qué triste! ¡Ay chihuahua! ¡Caramba!
Wanna see it? Here’s a video…the entire game lasted 30 minutes…but don’t worry, I trimmed the video for you. Playing Parejas starts out pretty slow until they start finding matches and then it gets really fun. The clip below skips the first 10 minutes of actual playing time, because, let’s face it, you’re probably an overworked teacher who’s spending her (his!) own, personal time reading teaching blog posts…so I cut to the good part!
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