/ Teaching Ideas




Give 'em a Break!


I've heard it said that people can pay attention, typically, one minute for every minute of their age. My students are 14-18. I teach on a 90-minute block. Which means that on average, after about 15 minutes, my students are physically incapable of paying attention.  I teach on a 90-minute block.  90/15 = 6. 6 changes in tempo.  6 breaks in the action.  This was a daunting number to see.  I use a lot of activities in class, I work hard to engage students.  I've even considered myself creative from time to time.  But to do 6 changes of gear during one class period? What if what I'm doing requires more than 15 minutes? How many different ways can I change up what I'm doing with a topic?  How can I recharge the students and keep our class productive? With brain breaks. What IS a brain break? I'm a child of the 80s, and I love playing Atari games at my neighbor's house, and later challenging my brother on our Nintendo (he ALWAYS won).  But the one thing that all those systems had in common, and most current video games I've seen also have in common, is the reset button.   It stops the game, lets the player refresh, get into a better place, and then move on.  The player could use the reset as a chance to take a breath, apply knowledge (you die if you turn right; a coin is hidden in those bricks),  and get a fresh approach a the problem, with a full stock of lives or health points. Our students need us to hit the reset button.  Their brains need a breath.  They need to approach our classwork full of life. Inspired by Annabelle Allen and her work with brain breaks, I have compiled a list of some of my favorites.  The first 19 came from Annabelle's blog, and you can find more complete descriptions there.  The next bunch are from a variety of sources, including several from the Colorado Education Initiative and my own ideas of games, camp experiences, and shamelessly stolen from a number of random presentations by colleagues for which I can no longer remember whom to give the credit.
  1. Copy my dance moves (or other moves not so dance-y)
  2. Rock-Paper-Scissors (when music plays, dance.  When stops, challenge)
  3. Use musical chairs type of partner chat (move during the music, chat when it stops)
  4. Look up a goofy word
  5. Stand up, high 5 someone, sit.
  6. Stand up, touch your head, sit
  7. Stand up, jump a few times, sit
  8. Stand, do 1 rock paper scissors match, sit
  9. Choco-choco, la-la, te-te chant with actions (fist bump, palms, back of hands)
  10. Stand up, switch seats with someone wearing same color shirt as you, sit.
  11. Stand up, move 1 seat (direction), sit.
  12. Stand up, turn to partner and make dumb face, sit.  (1st to laugh loses!)
  13. Take a group selfie (slideshow at end of year, use on website or blog, or for picture talk)
  14. 2 lines, touch body parts with partner
  15. Invent a high 5 with a partner
  16. Drive by compliments (write 1 for each person in group and then extras.  Stick on each other as a drive by)
  17. Handshakes & Introductions
  18. Handshakes & Name favorite ____
  19. Stop and Text/Tweet/Snap (something curricular) on phone (or post-it for a low-tech variation)
  20. Take a lap around the room
  21. Stretch together or individually
  22. Massage pressure point between thumb and pointer finger 30sec and switch hands
  23. Breathing exercises
  24. Cross feet and hands, bend elbows so hands by face.  Breathe deeply holding for 30 sec
  25. Clockwise circle on foot, draw 6 with hand
  26. Be the Mickey Mouse on a watch.  Or mirror the hands on a watch.
  27. Nose/ear touch with opposite hands.  Then switch sides.
  28. Mime hiking, swimming, cycling, paddling (sitting or standing for all)
  29. Put fists together, point 1 thumb and other index finger.  Switch. How fast can you go?
  30. Blink 1 eye while snapping fingers on other hand (or hop on opposite foot instead of snap...or add that)
  31. Forward/backward circles
  32. Win by getting to 21:  high 5 once or twice each turn counting up.
  33. Aw-so-go  Aw= arm horizontal at chest.  SO=arm horizontal at belly.  GO= Arm straight forward.  Stand in a circle & signal another player.  Get it wrong and you’re out.
  34. Toss a ball around circle and answer questions as you get the ball
  35. 4 corners (strongly agree/agree/disagree/strongly disagree) with various statements
  36. Cross crawls (touch raised knee with opposite hand, switch)
  37. Boot scoot (touch hand to opposite heel behind your back)
  38. Mirror drill (mirror your partner. Can limit to just hands or whole body)
  39. Tippy Toe Walk
  40. High Knees Walk
  41. Heel Walk
  42. Foot Rock Paper Scissors (feet together, feet apart, feet crossed)
  43. Chair Roller Coaster:  harness on, climbing turns, drops, finish (lift harness), exit (grab stomach)
  44. Arms straight up, one leg straight in some direction, turn body as horizontal as you can
  45. Act out action verbs in a text
  46. Higher/lower  (ss has back to board, teacher writes number.  Student guesses.  Class indicates higher/lower by jumping or squatting
  47. Make a beat  (clap, snap? Unh, whoop).  See how long it takes to become a recognizable pattern. (Credit:  Sr. Wooly)
  48. Get up, touch 10 chairs not in a row, sit.
  49. Touch 8 elbows from other people.
  50. Touch 6 different colored shirts in the room.
  51. Rainstorm (the bigger the group, the cooler this is!)
  52. Human Tic Tac Toe groups of 8-9
  53. Ninja
  54. Kickboxing moves (jab/cross).  
  55. 360 turn and dunk like you're an NBA star
  56. Fast feet (Like football players running through tires, but in place)
  57. Alice the Camel song
  58. Captain’s Coming (Consider starting small & adding new actions each week or so to limit vocabulary for novices.  Feel free to leave off/modify any actions you don't like.  The "mermaid" one described here is one I'd skip, but the description of the game is good.)
  59. Camp Songs, especially those with hand or body motions
  60. Baby Shark song
  61. Children's songs
Most of these would take less than 5 minutes, many could take only 5-15 seconds, but they can provide that needed mental reset button that students need to stay engaged and work out some physical energy in order to be able to concentrate.  Do these help students acquire language?  If done in the target language frequently enough, they may directly do so.  But the general brain science behind these does mean that they can help students learn better, in general.  So share these with your non-world languages colleagues too!

A day (or week...or month) in the life of a Sr. Wooly Song


If you know me, you know that I LOVE me some Sr. Wooly. The why is easy--the songs and videos are fun, comprehensible stories that engage students and help them acquire language. But the HOW could be a different matter.  What do you DO with the songs?  That is a loaded question.  Loaded, because there is no right answer.  There is no wrong answer.  There are just a LOT of things you can do with any given song, so putting too much stock in what I do could lead you to believe that your ideas aren't correct.  PLEASE, do NOT take this as THE way to use a song.  There is no magic to my order or flow.  I have just been using this stuff long enough that I can see how things will/may flow in a logical way.  This is just how I am currently picturing me doing this. Heck, this isn't even how I *am* doing it.  I'm writing this in the middle of July!  But here is how I would approach the story/song. A bit of my context first.  I teach levels 1-AP Literature.  And I do it on 90-minute blocks.  As I describe my plans, I'm going to write about 10-30 minutes of activities as a whole day.  If you're on a 45-minute period, you may not want (or be able) to devote that much time on any given day to Sr. Wooly.  And that is okay.  We won't tell Jim that his site isn't your everything.  It can be our little secret. "¿Puedo ir al baño?" According to a completely non-scientific poll on the Woology facebook group, this is the first song many teachers use. So, it's a great way to show how I teach a song. Hopefully this helps you get ideas at the start of the year. Kelly's first step:  Activating vocabulary
  • I always check out the supplementary packet.  While I don't always use the clip art matching activity, it's good especially in level 1.  In this case, rather than just doing the matching activity, I will put up the clip art, or my own images found online for these words.  
    • I do a little talking/questioning about things related to this vocabulary.  So, looking at the first image, it is "maestro".  Since I use "Profe" in class, I will mention that maestro = profe, and then talk about teachers at my school.  "¿Cómo se llama un maestro de arte?"  I might ask if they are good teachers, or if they are strict teachers, or if they are crazy teachers.  As much as I think students will easily understand so they can hear the word "maestro" without me being boring and repetitive.  Lather, rinse, repeat with the other words.
  • Because I love reading in class, and because I love holding off on the big reveal of the video, I would then read the embedded reading.  Because this could be one of the very first readings they do in Spanish, we will go through and as a class say what it means in English.  I don't say we're going to "translate" it, because I want to avoid word-by-word translation.  I want to get at the meaning of the story.  And we are going to start with the 2nd reading, the "Versión Pequeña".  You will see why later.  How do I do this?
Justin está en el pasillo de la escuela con un amigo.     (Okay, the words in bold may be new.  I will simply make "pasillo" comprehensible by writing it in English.  I might ask which "pasillo" our class is in. Or which "pasillo" their English class is. (Our school has labeled wings, so they can say "A wing" or ""pasillo A").  Then we would talk about amigos.  Knowing what is coming up next, I might ask the names of their friends.) Su amigo se llama Patrick. Los chicos van a la clase de español.  (I'd probably ask friend names and if they go to Spanish class with friends.) La clase de español es su clase favorita porque es muy interesante. (This is easy to read...lots of cognates.  But I might ask if OTHER classes are interesting.  Or what classes are their favorites.) Pero hay un problema. (GASP!) Justin necesita ir al baño. Le dice a Patrick: —Necesito ir al baño. (Necesito looks like necessary, so it's pretty quickly acquired, at least from a comprehension point of view.  I'll probably ask a bit about if they need to go to the bathroom now.  Someone will say yes, and I'll let them go. When we get to "le dice", I don't worry about spending a LOT of time here...also I can't think of a lot to say which would get me a lot of input for the kids of that word.  Maybe ask "Who says ' Yabba dabba do'?" Or things like that.  Don't worry about the indirect object pronoun.  Trust me.  Just tell kids it means "says to someone".  This is about comprehension, not grammar mastery.) Patrick le dice: —La clase empieza en un minuto. (We'll probably spend some time on this, maybe asking if Patrick says "la clase empieza en un minuto" or if he says "yo quiero Taco Bell".  I can't think of how to make "empieza" really all that engaging, so I just would tell them what it means.  If my kids knew a lot of numbers or how to tell time, it's a great thing to compare when different classes start.)   Justin no tiene tiempo para ir al baño. (Super high-frequency word here.  Honestly, my kids learn "tiene" on like the second day, but we'd spend some time here anyhow.  We'd review what kids have.  Terrence has a hat.  Kaitlyn has a red notebook.  Lindsey has a small backpack.  Colton has a big backpack.  In class we don't have time to take a nap.  Justin doesn't have time for going to the bathroom.) Justin está frustrado. Es una situación mala. (Yeah, lots of new words...but super comprehensible cognates.  I'd help them with anything they don't get, but I'm guessing kids can follow these.  Neither of these are huge targets for me, so I'd just make sure they understand and move on.) Justin y su amigo van a la clase.  Justin le pregunta al profe: — ¿Puedo ir al baño? (By this point in the story, they'd be able to guess what Justin says.  I'd just ask them to predict how "pregunta" and "dice" are different.  I often accompany the word "pregunta" with a giant question mark in the air.  And often a sound effect.  For a glimpse of this, watch Victor Borge's Phonetic Pronunciation video.  Or, just watch it because it's funny.   Okay, that's enough for day 1.  Now for the NEXT day... Warm Up:  I would have students read the reduced version (the shortest one) of the embedded reading.  The great thing about embedded readings is that the text from one version is embedded into the next longer version.  So having read the 2nd one in class together yesterday, the 1st one should be more comprehensible.  They would write a summary.  Yes, they already know it.  Yes, they probably have yesterday's story with the answers on it.  I don't care.  I just want them reading the words. Then, I'm going to steal the yes/no/sometimes sentences from the Supplementary Packet and we'll talk about those.  Where/when can kids go to the bathroom?  When/where can they speak English? Or Spanish?  (My target is really "poder ir" and "necesitar ir" in various forms.) FINALLY, I show the video.  I might do some pause and talk moments during the intro especially.  But I'll let the song play.  In level 1 they watch with both English and Spanish subtitles.  And then that's it for day 2.  Always leave 'em wanting more, right? DAY 3 Yep, I drag these out for about a week.  So we're about halfway through.  Today I would give them some true/false sentences about the video which we will discuss.  "T/F--Justin necesita ir a Target".  "T/F--El profe tiene mucho pelo".  Whatever makes sense that they'll understand. We will watch the video again.  THIS time, I will be annoying and stop it about every 6 seconds so that I can give even more comprehensible input and conversation about EVERYTHING that happens or can be seen in the video.  Yes, this is annoying.  Too bad.  I bet their math classes have annoying things that happen too.  And English.  And social studies.  They can deal.  Embrace the fact that you are probably going to frustrate them. Before they are totally over how awesome this song and its video are, we will start in on the nuggets.  I typically give them about a week to complete any online assignment, since not all my students have internet access all the time.  We are on our way to being a 1:1 school but in the meantime I have a chromebook cart in my room, so pretty easy access to the technology to do these things in class. For this first one, I will assign them to complete Nugget 3, and give about 30 minutes to work on it. We have Dyknow at school so I can block all other sites from their Chromebooks and see who is on-task and who is goofing around.  I would set all my level 1 kids to the Novice Low level early in the year, but later would allow kids to request a "bump up" to more complex tasks.  Some kids I just bump up during the year anyhow, because I know they're ready. DAY 4 Today I will probably pirate one of the nugget activities, such as the one pictured below to use as a warm-up.  I would choose one from later in the nuggets that they haven't seen yet.  This is Nugget 9, Read & Review.  I'd reformat it so that I could have a couple of questions on the screen as the warm-up. Because I'm doing other things in class besides this song, we probably won't spend as much time on it today as we did yesterday...remember, I've got a 90-minute block.  I would probably just show the video one more time, maybe with pop-ups as a treat.  Sometimes we sing the song, with different groups being responsible for singing different parts of the song. That depends on the class.  Since I do this quite early in the year, some classes aren't ready for the locura that is life in my room.  What about homework?  I would give kids copies of the remaining embedded readings and assign a "ROBERTO"...an idea I got from Jorge Perez de Jesus.  ROBERTO means "Read Or BE Read TO".  They need to read the long version of the story to an adult and have that person sign the page, or take a selfie with that adult and the reading and send it to me.  But the medium and extended versions are on the sheet.  I let them know that they can do one of the other versions, secretly hoping they will choose the long ones to show off to their parents...and make ME look good in the process! Mwa-ha-ha! DAY 5 Our warm-up today could be the "translate" activity from the supplement packet. We might listen to the song today as a class, just for a quick review.  If I haven't shown the pop-ups, they will see that version today.  Then, I often retype these scrambled sentences from the supplement packet into SMART Notebook so kids can physically move them around and create the lines of the song.  This could also be easily done on pieces of paper.  I would color code each line so that they keep lyrics from each line separate.  Or don't...that could be an added challenge especially for higher level students, or those who have heard the song before in previous classes. To finish up with this song, we would play the Rocola video game.  I do this game in a few different ways.  Sometimes I have one class compete for a top score against another class, with students taking turns at the SMART Board touching the right answer.  Other times I do 2 groups in one class.  Still other times I have kids play on their own to get to a certain level or beat a benchmark score.  I've even given extra credit for kids who beat my top score on a given level.  (I didn't get perfect scores on purpose.  No, really, I planned it.  Seriously!  I did!) As they say, Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV).  This is a fairly typical week of me approaching a Sr. Wooly song.  This is NOT how I do every song.  I don't spend this much time on all songs.  Others really connect with my students and we do WAY more in terms of extension activities, because if kids really get into something, I want to run with it.  But as they say in theater (or is it "theatre"?), always leave them wanting more.  If you beat a song to death, kids are NOT going to spend a lot of time outside of class obsessing on the song, doing the videogame just for fun.  Sometimes, less is more.  

Música Madness 2017


After using Dustin Williamson's Navidad Madness bracket for holiday commercials in Spanish, I wanted to do another bracket tournament.  After all, my kids loved it in the fall, and I've got a new class this new semester. So as the spring basketball tournament approached, I wanted to follow suit of other teacher I know and do a music bracket challenge. So I combed the internet and Billboard lists of the best Latin music hits of all time and recent years.  There were folk anthems like Guantanamera and groundbreaking thees like El gran varón.  New hits by Shakira and Juanes and Enrique Iglesias, and some cheesy older songs like Gerardo's Rico Suave.  64 songs in all. NOTE TO SELF:  64 songs is WAY too many.  Maybe 32 songs next year.  Heck 16 would be nice. It was difficult for me to come up with songs, and actually as I realized the "oldies" outnumbered the "newbies" by a huge amount, I replaced some of my original songs with newer, cooler ones.  I did this before we listened to those songs.  I didn't give the kids copies of the bracket until round 2, so there was no problem with making the switch.  Next year I'm going to consult Sharon Birch's database!  She has something like 1400 songs and counting!! PREPARATION:  Not wanting to be able to lose my results, I created the bracket online at Challonge.com.  It was simple, and free.   Just plug in the list of participants and it makes a randomly structured bracket.  This program can handle double- and single-elimination tournaments, and even set up byes for tournaments with an odd number of participants.  After a little playing around, I figured out how to edit my list of songs ("participants") and report winners.   I also went to YouTube and found a version of the song with the lyrics in the video.  More often than not, these weren't the actual video, but a home made karaoke style video, often with questionable spelling.  I did this because I thought it would give students the best leg up in understanding the song, although at this point it is mostly voting based only on what their general impressions of the song were, rather than anything much deeper.  I put a picture and the name/artist on the Smart Board, with a link to the lyric video for each song.  This took a LOT of work. NOTE TO SELF:  Save these links for next year.  Even songs that got voted out, they might be winners in a different class.  And it will save a ton of work later. Each day during round 1 (64) and round 2 (32) we listened to 2 songs.  On a couple of days we ran out of time or wanted to move things along quicker so we did two battles, 4 songs.  Students voted by a show of hands which they preferred.  Beginning in the round of 16, my plan is to spend a few minutes looking at the lyrics of each song and being a bit more in-depth with what they mean.  In the round of 8, we'll talk more about the artists and also do some partner conversations about why they like certain songs more than others, with the help of a vocabulary cheat sheet for things like "rhythm" and "lyrics".  We will also watch the official videos for these songs, if I can find them. Here is a link to our bracket, feel free to follow along live and see which ones win! Round 2 starts on April 3.

El capibara con botas--critical thinking in early level 1!!


This year I read El capibara con botas by Mira Canion in my Spanish 1 class.  We started this book on roughly our 8th day of every-other-day of block scheduling classes.  Which means in a typical HS schedule, this was about Day 12.  I can't stress how impressed I am that Mira was able to write a   book that is comprehensible this early in the year.  There are very few books that would be approachable this early in the year.  The only other one I know of is Pobre Ana by Blaine Ray. What I like about this book is that there is not only a cute and silly story (Carlos the capybara cannot swim well, but goes on a long trip to help save his rainforest lake home from the Puma and the Jaguar), but deals with real issues. This story is ripe with "other" topics to discuss--friendship and bravery, deforestation and environment, acceptance of self and others who are different.  It is fantastic. I'm not going to lie, this bright idea of mine was a case of necessity being the mother of invention.  We were doing "Instructional Rounds"...classes are observed by small groups, and then they discuss things that they saw in classes to determine trends across our school.  And one of our goals this year is to increase student collaboration and how students "interact with each other's thinking and a text".   So I knew I needed students to interact.  And think.  With each other.  And a text. So I divided them into groups of 3 based on where they were sitting and handed each student this chart.  Each student had to follow the example and fill in the first 2 rows with quotes from a book that also give some science information, even if it isn't explicitly stated.   As the example says, "Carlos doesn't swim well.  He isn't normal.  So the science information is that capybaras DO swim well.  After completing their own, in their groups of 3, they had to share their 2 facts.  Rows 3 & 4 on their form were to be filled in with information, one from each other person in the group's brain.  Row 5 could come from any brain in the group, their own or a partner's. It was really impressive that students were (mostly) able to infer items not explicitly stated from the reading, and while this was only one instance, this is definitely an Intermediate-Advanced level skill, and certainly calls for critical thinking on the students' part, without needing to have a huge amount of language at their disposal.  Because it was based on comprehensible input, although their discussions were mostly in English, there was a lot of analysis and interpretation of target language text.      

The Best Ideas are Stolen (Vol. II)


In today's edition of thank goodness people are generous, I bring you the best new idea I didn't think of, and basically didn't understand until I saw it in action: Running Dictation. To give credit where it is due, I have to thank Martina Bex, who got it from Michele Whaley, who got it from Jason Fritze. What is running dictation? A great activity for my energetic and squirrely freshmen in Spanish 1, although clearly would be great at any level (I can't wait to try this with my 4's next week!).  As we are reading Piratas del Caribe y el mapa secreto, I took 8 of the "put these events in order" sentences from the Chapter 1 Teacher's Guide and printed them out in a large font.  I cut them apart into 8 separate papers and had my student assistant tape them on the lockers outside my room. To do the activity, students divide into groups of 4, and each person gets a job.  I used: Runner, Secretary, Illustrator, and Editor.  The first runner goes out into the hall and scopes out a sentence taped there.  The runner has to memorize the sentence and bring it back to the group.  The secretary then writes the sentence on the paper, with support from the editor and runner especially to spell things right.  Any question and the runner goes back to the source for clarification.  Then the paper is passed to the illustrator, who draws a quick sketch of the sentence.  The roles switch, and the process repeats. My kids were crazy...but engaged!  One of my least engaged gals was an amazing runner, and didn't seem all that frustrated when she had to make several trips to the hallway to check on one particularly tough sentence. So, what can go wrong?  What "tips" to make it work?
  1. Give everyone a job.  If kids are in groups of 5, make sure all 5 have jobs.
  2. Call it a game.  Everything is more engaging if there is a game.  I'm not sure what my kids thought they were competing for, but they REALLY hustled to the hall.
  3. Warn your neighbors.  If kids are going to be in the hall, you might want to warn the neighboring rooms that you might be louder than usual.  I've got one particularly picky science teacher across the hall.  He hates me, I'm sure.  Sorry, not sorry.  To mitigate the hatred, I stood in the hall when more than 1 or 2 kids were out there.  No major complaints!  Although, my room itself was really noisy.
  4. Sentence choice--be sure to pick sentences that are very easy and also a little harder, but none too complex.  There needs to be something the slower processors can memorize and comprehend, as well as having a few that give a challenge to the top kids.  I mention that groups may want to have strategy in picking their sentences and you should pick the hardest sentence you can do, so you don't stick someone else with one far beyond their level because all the easy ones were gone when they went out.
  5. Number of sentences.  I did 8 (2/kid in each group) but it took a good 30+ minutes to do this.  In my block period, I didn't worry too much about that, but if you've got shorter classes, consider how much time you want to do this.  It takes longer than you think.

The Best Ideas are Stolen Ideas (Vol. I)


In a workshop recently, Mike Coxon said he was told by a professor that the key to success in education was "CASE:  Copy And Steal Everything".

Of course, you want to make sure to give credit where it is due and respect other teachers' copyrights and intellectual property.  So in this first homage to that philosophy, I bring you the best new thing I've stolen--Strip Bingo.

No.  Not THAT kind of strip.  Although kids will appreciate that name! It's funny!  But be careful if you send a bunch of kids home telling their parents that they played Strip Bingo in class...could really raise some eyebrows.

Before I tell you the deal with this game, let me tell you my problem with pretty much all games: They are a waste of time.

Sure, I've played bingo. Does this sound familiar?

T: Take a couple of minutes to fill out your card.  (10 minutes pass).  Let's start. S:  I'm not ready. T: Hurry.  (Three minutes pass)  Okay, the first word is Apple. S: What? S: What does that mean? S:  (to another) What did she say? T: The next word is Banana. S: Did you call Kumquat yet? S: Wait, did she say Banana or Blueberry? (Someone finally yells BINGO!) T: Read back what you've got. S: Apple, wait--what is this? T: Banana. S: Yeah.  Um, Carrot.  (And so on) S: She cheated! And 30+ minutes of class are gone.

I've done flyswatter.  I've done Jeopardy.  I have turned college drinking games into language games.  Seriously.  And they DO have value.  They are a brain break for kids.  They are FUN. They generally aren't that mentally taxing for us as teachers. But they also don't often allow students to get good input, and to give output that isn't super challenging.

So I am always excited when Martina Bex posts about games in her blog.  Why?  Because Martina doesn't post many time-killers.  She is most known for spreading the Mafia game around the TPRS community.  But this post is about Strip Bingo.  My new favorite and potentially really, really low-prep game.  Martina gives credit to Kristin Duncan for this game, so I shout out to Kristin as well.

If you prefer fancy schmancy polished things, you can get yourself a copy of a template here.  It is 2-pages and suitable for framing.  If you're really bad at decorating, that is.  If you want to read Martina's post about this game, you can find that on her site.

How to play: Kids still make their own cards, but instead of a 5x5 grid, they use a strip with 5, 6, 7, or so segments in a row.  Heck, you could probably make a game last for weeks if you use enough squares!  They use vocabulary words of the current topic.  After cards are filled out, the teacher reads something that contains these words.  If the word on the END of a student's strip is called, that student rips it off.  Which leaves a new end!  Words from the middle may get called, depending on how the student wrote them.  That's fine, but they can only tear off the ends.  The first student to tear off all pieces and then have their last single piece called is the winner! We played in AP Spanish Literature, while learning about the historical context of El burlador de Sevilla y el convidado de piedra.  Just for contrast, I used this with my Spanish 1 kids doing some of Martina's day of the dead stuff!