Get Your School Involved in National Foreign Language Week
Earlier this week we explored some ways to celebrate National Foreign Language Week, so today we’re expanding on the subject with different ways you can incorporate this event in your school! Spelling bees, student-oriented activities, and interclass events are just some of the things we’re going to look at today. Getting your students involved in National Foreign Language Week (NFLW) is a great way to foster a sense of community within the school and open them to a world of possibilities. Let’s get started!
Foreign Language Spelling Bee
Spelling Bees are loved by many, disliked by few. Hold a week-long Spelling Bee tournament and bring some competitive elements to your celebration. Students who register to participate will go through the elimination round, where they compete against other students and the winner gets to stay for the next round. Then, they are placed on a final bracket that will determine the best spellers.
Incentives for participation can range from a few extra credits to something fun and simple like candy bars. Give the students specific subjects to study ahead of time in order to prepare themselves, such as days of the week. This activity is flexible, in that it lets you incorporate related elements of your curriculum, or you can use it to review past content.
Vocabulary Labeling Game
A common practice I’ve seen foreign language students use to learn vocabulary fast is to label all of their household items with little paper tags. It’s likely that you already do this, but for National Foreign Language Week, take it beyond the classroom with this activity!
First, you’ll need to convince other teachers to celebrate this week with you. Collaborate to make some big paper tags for all the things around the school. Go crazy with it! Sports gear, science equipment, books, computers… the possibilities are endless! Go a step further by encouraging students to use the foreign words for the tagged items in other classes, and they are sure to have a blast reading them out loud.
Foreign Food Market
In our post about National Foreign Language Week (NFLW) activities, we mentioned cooking up a Spanish-inspired dish or reading a recipe in Spanish as options for celebrating this uplifting event. To get your school involved, adapt this activity to make it a school-wide foreign food market! Students will make dishes from different countries and sell them. Then, profits can be used to donate to a charity of their choice. Talk to the other language teachers in your school to set up foods from all over the world!
Encouraging students with foreign backgrounds to share some of their heritage through food is also a great idea. You will learn from different cultures and how they name their foods.
NFLW Talent Show
Talent shows give students the chance to express themselves in a healthy and artistic way. Set up a talent show with the added challenge of a foreign language to encourage participants to get out of their comfort zone. Here are some ideas on what your students could do:
Spanish Poetry Readings
As an assignment, students write a poem of their own or do an oral presentation of an existing one. Pablo Neruda is a great option for some Spanish poems.
Sing a Spanish Song
Give your students a song as simple as La Macarena, or let them choose their own, to learn some vocabulary and have some fun at the same time. Then have your students present their song in front of the class. Singing songs is one of the best ways to learn and practice a new language.
Storytelling is an art form as old as human history. Telling a good story in a foreign language is a mark of mastery for sure! Have your students choose from reading original or existing stories, and give them extra points for being expressive. This is a great chance to make an exercise on public speaking.
Encourage Creative Freedom
People have many different talents. Encourage your students to show their special skills, and challenge them to add a special flair though foreign language!
Informative Classroom Decorations
No celebration is complete without decorations. Work together with students and other teachers to decorate the school in celebration of foreign languages and cultures! Assign a language to each classroom and have them decorate it appropriately. For example, a Spanish-themed classroom will have hispanic flags, foods, famous people, and even memes.
Give students the opportunity to present on a topic that they’re passionate about. One of the best things about education is the community that’s built around it. While the internet provides an ever-present resource for information, it lacks the ability to teach valuable social skills to students. By comparison, schools provide the necessary environment for developing curious and creative people who know how to think critically. Challenge your students by asking them to provide the vocabulary for the subject they choose to talk about!
Student-led lessons consist of lectures designed by students and facilitated by teachers. Ask your students to take the lead of the class for 5-20 minutes, and make sure to guide them and check the thoroughness of their presentation before the presentation takes place.
Host a Game Day
Games are another great way to encourage learning. Make NFLW fun by incorporating games into the classroom. Games like Pictionary and Scrabble are great options if you want to host a game day. Here are some other games that would work well in a different language:
Werewolf is a social deduction game where the participants must catch the werewolf before they get eaten. The teacher serves as director, giving instructions in another language, and the other players have to answer back in that language in order to progress through the game. For example, each morning the director will say “Last night there was a tragic event, someone was eaten by the werewolves!” This game is great if you want to practice listening more than speaking, but speaking is involved and important as well.
Videogames can help you learn other languages! Try out games like Jackbox TV or Kahoot as well to accommodate larger student groups.
Organizing a week’s worth of activities is no small feat. Simplify your tactic to achieve your goals by setting up a Language Fair. Assign your students a theme and throughout the week, they spend time practicing vocabulary, learning about the language and building their booth/presentation. At the end of the school week, students will proudly present what they have been working on for four days!
That way, your classroom will come alive with music, decorations, food, games, and presentations all related to foreign languages.
Celebrating Different Cultures
National Foreign Language Week is an opportunity for everyone to expand their horizons by learning about different languages and cultures around the world. By exploring different languages and experiencing different cultures, you reinforce a powerful sense of international unity that is critical for older students to understand.
And who knows? You might even encourage one of your students to go live abroad in the future! Having been inspired by living abroad is the reason why the CEO of HSA became an entrepreneur in Guatemala. If your students find the same inspiration abroad, they’ll become successful business people and contribute to the well-being of society.
Learn From Other Spanish Teachers
Do you want to know about the unique experiences of our Spanish teachers here in Guatemala? Not only do we offer group Spanish classes for schools, but we also provide supplemental support for Spanish teachers who may have struggling students. Sign up today for a free class at Homeschool Spanish Academy to find the support you’ve been looking for!
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