Student Suggestions: 7 ways to pick

Is he tall or microscopic? Where does he live? Why is he so sad? 

Whether you’re working on a One Word Image, asking a story or adding details to a Movie Talk, the fun part of our jobs is creating with our students. And most days they come up with fabulously hilarious details and you are tasked with picking the best one. You can just pick the one you like best…but here are a few fun ways to add novelty, get in a few more repetitions and decide on a detail. (FYI- there are a few Amazon Affiliate links below, which means if you buy something, Amazon mails me like .002 cents, so I’ll be getting rich and retiring any day now…)

  1.  Vote- ¡Clase, a votar! But you don’t just vote. Set up the vote with lots of language. Solicit student suggestions, pick a few you like best and them summarize the options in your target language. Class, we have 3 options: Is our guy a basketball player? He might be a basketball player. Is he a McDonald’s employee? It is possible that he works at McDonald’s. Or Maybe he is an old man. Now, let’s vote…(switch into English) Wait, before we vote, tell your partner what we’re voting  on (just to make sure everyone’s awake and tracking with you!) (Now back into Target Language:) Raise your hand if you think he is a basketball player. Ok, thanks. Who wants him to be a McDonald’s Employee? And who says he’s an old man? You could just count and go with the majority…but that isn’t that exciting…
  2. Rock Paper Scissors- Tell 2 kids who voted for different options to stand and play Rock Paper Scissors, of course narrating in your target language…If Sam wins, our guy is a basketball player but if Ryan wins he is an astronaut…Kids love this one because someone wins. And everyone loves winning!  Just to make it another opportunity for CI, here’s a slide I project to explain the game in Spanish. If you’d like to translate it into another language, I’d love to share it here!
  3. Whiteboard spinner- I got these nifty magnetic Whiteboard Spinners that are fun to use. Follow the whole voting procedure, but write out the options on the board, plant the spinner in the middle and call up a lucky kiddo to spin the spinner. It is also fun (maybe more for me than them!) ask the class if we should do a listening/reading/vocab quiz and let the spinner decide BahahaWe’re reading Bart quiere un gato in Spanish 1…it’s a fun choose your own adventure style novel that I highly recommend!
  4. Giant Dice- I suppose you could use normal sized dice but Jumbo Foam Dice are more fun! Like with the spinner, solicit suggestions and write the 6 you like best on the board with a corresponding number. Ask a volunteer to roll the dice to decide the character’s fate. This one is fun for more elaborate back stories or motivations. You could really discuss and write out a short paragraph for each number. This one is also fun because we live in Nevada and it feels like you’re at a high stakes craps table in Vegas rolling for Big Money. It might not feel as thrilling in your school…Again Bart quiere un gato…choosing the next chapter with a giant dice.
  5. Magic 8 Ball- Magic 8 balls are always fun! I found an awesome one from Teacher’s Discovery years ago that answered in Spanish! But unfortunately it looks like they don’t make it anymore. Here’s the old classic Magic 8 Ball from Amazon, or here’s a post about an online Spanish version.
  6. Magic Cards- Sometimes I’ll ask a question, listen to student suggestions then randomly select a student with the awesome magic cards to tell us the answer. Ask them a question in Spanish, and if their answer demonstrated they understood, give them a listening grade right on their card. And if they answered back in Spanish, go ahead and give them a speaking grade as well. Triple whammy! 
  7. Secret number- Teacher (or a student) writes the secret number on the board, and then covers it up. Teacher asks for suggestions and then the student guesses the number…the kiddo whose number is closest to the secret number is the winner and their suggestion is incorporated into the story.


  1. […] I have a confession…I prefer doing Free Reading in class, rather than teaching whole class novels.  But…I do think it’s important to read at least 1 novel together in level 1, just so they know they can do it. This year I taught Bart quiere un gato which is so much fun because it’s a choose-your-own-adventure book. At the end of each page, we decided the next phase of the adventure. […]


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