El verano fabuloso- a game to start the year

Today was The First Day of School! And, because I can’t help myself, I’m already planning a game for Day 2. Now…you know that my mission is to load up my little darlings with Comprehensible Input…so no matter what my class activities are, that’s my underlying objective. This game does just that and so much more.

This game gives them loads of listening and reading input. Score! It introduces yourself and gives them a peek into your life. Win! It sets you up well to explain CI, why we do what we do and how you expect them to participate all. year. long. AND it’s a game, so that makes it like 100x more exciting. So, without further ado…

Wait! One more thing! You don’t want to try this with your level 1s at the beginning the year… I play with my level 2s and up. I wrote the example below for my Spanish 4s…I would simplify and shorten or lengthen and expand depending on the level.  Ok, now I think we’re ready…

How to prep:

  • Make a slideshow of pictures of you, your life, your summer…whatever. Here’s mine to give you an idea, but of course, as fascinating as my life is, your little darlings would prefer to see pictures of you and your cute dogs. I Promise. Tip: I leave the first few slides the same every year, introducing myself and my family, and only update the last few slides explaining what I did during the summer. I am all about reusing material from year to year!
  • Type up the narration leaving out key elements, so that it looks like a CLOZE activity. Think about the level you’re writing for and be sure to make everything comprehensible.  It might look like this: (Pretend this is written in the Target Language) This is my husband. His name is _____________, he works as a __________________ in the town of ________________). Here’s what mine looks like. Tip: They think that the purpose of this game is to memorize the details so give them lots…names, places, ages, dates, etc. (We know the purpose of the game is to give them lots and lots of input!)
  • Copy and paste your narration into another document and fill in the answers, so that when you’re in the middle of class, you’re not scratching your head and wondering what you were thinking for that particular blank…trust me. 

To play: 

  • Pair up your little darlings and tell them they’re going to play a memory game. They have to listen carefully and remember all the details they can. They won’t be able to take notes while you speak…all they have to do is listen!
  • Tell them that you want them to understand everything you say, so you’ll go really slow and you’ll try to use words they know. If you say an unfamiliar word or if they’re lost, they should signal you, so you can give a quick translation on the board.
  • Project your slide show and describe each picture in slow and comprehensible language. (In your hand, keep your answer sheet and skim it as you go so you don’t miss any important details). Every few slides give the students a minute to summarize the information they understood in English with their partner.
  • Once you’ve finished explaining all the pictures, pass out the reading activity. Working in pairs, they’ll read it, figure out what it says, and fill in the blanks with the details they remember. If they can’t remember, encourage them to guess.
  • Once they’re finished, “correct” as a whole class…they think we’re looking for the winner, when really you and I know we’re milking the reading for all it’s worth, we want them to read it again together because, hello, more input! 
  • They tally up the number of correct answers and pass it back to the owners. Most details wins and gets a stamp on their stamp sheet.
  • Then you’re set up well to invite your kiddos to send you pictures of their summer vacations, so you can picture talk your little heart out!

Welcome to a new school year! Here’s to our best one yet!


    • Thanks! It probably takes 30-40 minutes to explain and then have them read… then maybe 5 more for grading… totally depends on level and how many details you include. This one is for my Spanish 4s… for my 2s it would be much shorter and simpler.


      • Thanks! I was thinking of it for 2s and looked at the example and thought it was kinda long, but that makes so much sense that it’s for your 4s! I love the idea of expanding it into a reading. Thank you for sharing!


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