I’ve been sitting on this game for years, trying to figure out how to turn this output game into an input game. I can’t remember where the original came from, but this version is my current favorite game. It’s fun, something new and requires ZERO prep. My Level 1 Little Darlings are loving it! I’ve introduced my Heritage and Spanish 4 Little Darlings to the original version, and I’ll describe both ways to play, below.
¿Dónde está la araña? The input game
Warning: This is a great game if you trust your kids, since the teacher will step outside the classroom for about 20 seconds. If you can’t step out of your classroom because all hell will break lose, this is not the game for you. Sorry!
You’ll need something small to hide. I just happen to have an awesome plastic spider, but you can use anything. Change your game name to match your object.
To Set Up:
- Divide the class into 2 teams.
- Explain the premise of the game: While the teacher steps out of the classroom for 20 seconds, Team A will hide the Spider (or whatever!) somewhere in the classroom. ALL of Team B will watch and know where the spider is hidden. When the teacher returns, she’ll ask Team B questions about the spider’s location until she finds the spider. Meanwhile, Team A is timing to see how long it will take for the teacher to find it. Team B’s time to beat is written on the board. The teacher steps outside again, and this time Team B hides the spider. When the teacher returns, she asks Team A questions about the Spider’s whereabouts, while Team B is keeping track of the time. The fastest team (shortest time) wins the round.
- Set some ground rules. Decide where you don’t want students to hide the spider. In my classroom, my desk area and my Hallway of Mystery are off limits. Also, they cannot hide the spider touching a person OR in anyone’s personal stuff (backpacks, etc.). Lastly, it must be within my reach (They can’t throw it behind a bookshelf or remove a ceiling tile, for example). The first time we play, I explain these in English, every subsequent time we play, I review the rules in Spanish.
Pass the spider to some lucky kiddo on Team A (preferably someone you’re really working to strengthen your relationship, because let me tell you, hiding the spider is quite an honor!)
The teacher steps outside, enjoys the sunshine, removes her mask and drinks in the deliciously fresh air (If you’re in a portable, like me! If not, I guess, just stand in the hallway). I count to 20 slowly, then I knock on the door 5 times, to signal that I’m coming in and the kid has 5 seconds to get back to his seat.
Establish a timer (on the same team that just hid the spider) who will keep track of how long it takes. Tell the timer to stop you at the two minute mark, if you haven’t found it yet….no sense in dragging this out forever! (Twice I haven’t been able to find the spider, and so at the 2 minute mark I give up and the team cheers. They really stumped me!) The timer should start the time when the teacher begins asking questions and stop it when the spider is in the teacher’s hand.
Ask questions to Team B, using all your tricks to make the language comprehensible. You know, speak slowly, use gestures, point to establish the meaning of new words. With my Spanish 1s, I like to ask Yes/No questions and Either/Or questions. Is the spider to my left or to my right? Is the spider in front of me or behind me? Is the Spider on the ground? Is it close to Alex?
Wanna see? I love how frustrated they get when I can’t find it, hilarious!
I found the spider in 51 seconds with Team A answering the questions…then Team A hid the spider for Team B.
With Team B answering the questions, I found the spider in 42 seconds, so Team B won this round.
¿Dónde está la araña? The output game
Like the version described above, the class is divided into two teams, however a student from one team steps outside while the other team hides the spider. Everyone in the classroom knows where the spider hidden, except the kid outside. The teacher stays in the classroom.
When the student returns, his team will tell him, in the target language, where the spider is hidden, while the other team times it. Have the team describing sit on their hands. Seriously. They just can’t help pointing at the Spider’s location!! Also, tell them, if anyone says anything in English, the other team automatically wins the round. Without this little caveat, you’ll have a Little Stinker ask innocently (in front of the finder) “¿Cómo se dice in the trash can, underneath the plastic liner?”
Since the teacher stays in the room for this one, the team that will be describing the location always ask me, “¿Cómo se dice _______?” before the student returns. I don’t tell them (because obviously, the kid outside isn’t going to know that word either) so I give them a minute or so to work as a team to figure out how to describe the spider’s location.
In smaller classes, the students just holler out their directions. In bigger classes (or classes with super participation where everyone is yelling and the finder can’t hear the instructions,) I’ll use my Magic Cards. Before we play I divide the cards into two piles (students from one team in one pile and the students from the other team in the second pile) and then I’ll call a student who will give a clue (if they can’t think of anything, they can just repeat what the previous student said) and then I call another student. I usually use the Magic Cards to record speaking grame, but this game is just for fun, so I don’t add anything to their card while we’re playing.
In my Spanish 4s, before we play, we brainstorm some circumlocution phrases that might be useful. It’s next to the purple plastic thing. It’s under the big red thing.
I love listening to my Heritage kiddos play this game. Although they’ve gained a lot of confidence in speaking in the past two years I’ve known them, overall they’re pretty hesitant to speak Spanish voluntarily. For some reason (I think because the clock is running and their honor is on the line), their inhibitions vanish and they really let their Spanish fly! It makes makes my little Spanish teacher heart soar. (And I’m like, why don’t you answer me like that when I’m trying to facilitate a class discussion and all I hear are crickets?!)
Oh friends…the end is in site! In my neck of the woods, we have 5 weeks left of the school year. I hope you’re hanging in there and see the light at the end of the tunnel. This year has been rough on so many levels. ¿Podemos hacerlo? ¡Sí se puede!