JELLYBEANS AND PLAY MONEY IMG_2461[1]Perhaps because my business is small and there’s no budget other than my own, I’ve always created my own teaching supplies. This summer, however, I decided to invest in some ‘proper’ educational materials and, credit card at the ready, spent a day or two browsing through the Spanish section of an on-line teachers’ store. Three hundred dollars and two weeks later, a tiny box of superb Spanish activities arrived in the post but I knew, as fabulous as they were, they weren’t going to save me that much prep time.  Furthermore, they were suited for high school students, not for people raising families, holding down full-time jobs or for retirees tripping the light fantastic in Latin America.  On the bright side, I now had 100 glossy mock menus for a Mexican restaurant, a hundred menus which my classes of 4 to 10 students would really enjoy … oh yes, and three hundred more dollars owing on the credit card bill and a husband with ‘I told you so’ written all over his face. When you’re married to a Mexican from rural Michoacán who can fix a car with a potato peeler and make items work with things that shouldn’t make them work, you get used to rummaging through all kinds of stuff outside the figurative box. So back to rummaging it was, the first finds being jelly beans and play money — for the lesson on numbers of course.  The jellybean jar went around the circle of students for twenty minutes at least until someone guessed the exact number.  ‘Hay 35 gomitas.’  ‘Hay 67 gomitas.’ ‘Hay 105 gomitas.’ So on and so IMG_2470[1]forth.  The activity was a hit. Then in the advanced class: ‘Espero que haya 35 gomitas.’ ‘Quiero que haya 67 gomitas.’ ‘Dudo que haya menos de 50 gomitas.’  So on and so forth. The activity was still a hit.  And the best part was this old-fashioned party game translated into Spanish cost me less than five dollars.  In class #1, the winner shared her winnings and left me the jar so I could use it again. The activity with the play money took longer.  I divided up the bills, putting a variety into badge holders.  With a resounding ‘yo tengo’ (I have), each student had to tell me how much money he or she had.  Once they’d mastered the hundreds, I gave everyone a few thousand dollars to add to their stash and they had to tell me their new amounts (it surprised me how excited people got over fake bills). Then, each student had to give some of their bills to the student next to them and, again, everyone had to tell me their new amount.  Just when they were getting comfortable, I gave everyone a handful of real coins which changed the amount again.  In a more advanced class, IMG_2478[1]I’d extend the activity and have the students tell me what they could buy with their amounts or what they want to buy with them. Yo puedo comprar boletos para un concierto con quinientos dólares.  Yo quiero comprar una bicicleta con estos tres mil dólares.  For a class working on the subjunctive, each student could tell another what she hopes that student will buy. Espero que compres un abrigo con tus ochenta dólares. You get the idea, right? The cost of the play money: $4. The cost of the badge holders: $2 for 12.  And I can use them until the bills become too ragged.

cialis generico miglior sito Each of these activities were tactile, had the students talking continuously, cost next to nothing and could be adapted to different levels without much effort. Official learning materials are great but they can be expensive. Buy some jellybeans, play money and badge holders and you won’t be disappointed.

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