Palabras

by Ann Adams

Ann teaches second grade at Longfellow Elementary School. She is married and enjoys bicycling and roller blading.

Instructional Objective The instructional objective of the card game is for students to practice using Spanish vocabulary in comprehensible sentences.


Learners/Context The learners are second graders at the Spanish Language Immersion Magnet, Longfellow Elementary School. The students are second language Spanish speakers. The goal of the program is for the students to become bilingual and bicultural. There are 26 students in the class. Of the 26, 20% are African-American, 30% are Hispanic, 10% are Pacific Islander and 50% are Caucasian. The class is instructed 100% in Spanish.

The card game will be used to reinforce oral language. Every week the students are given a new "tema" or theme of vocabulary. They are given 16 vocabulary words; some are review words and the others are new. The children are constantly learning new vocabulary while maintaining what they already know. The card game will serve as reinforcement and will make practicing oral language with a partner fun.


Rationale Every week my aide introduces the students to a new list of vocabulary words. This routine can quickly become quite boring and monotonous and the children often forget words. By playing a memory-type card game, the students will be actively involved in learning. The game will reinforce language, reading and comprehension skills, while still being fun. Memorizing has always been a favorite game of my students and by applying this type of format to the vocabulary list, their vocabulary will be reinforced while they enjoy finding matching pairs.

Throughout the year, several memory games will be developed. The students will eventually be able to pick from a wide variety of themes which will give them the opportunity to review vocabulary they have previously learned. I believe this type of memory game will be a very effective learning tool in the immersion classroom.


Rules Anywhere from two to four players may play at a time. The deck needs to be shuffled, then placed face down and separated. The first player turns over two cards. If one card is a vocabulary word that correctly fits

into a sentence of the other card (for example sun and When it's hot, the _____ shines in the sky), the player gets to keep both cards and continue with his/her turn until he/she doesn't find a matching pair. If the cards do not match, the player must turn the cards face down again and the next player takes a turn. The rest of the players continue the game in the same manner.

The game is played until all the cards have been matched and there are no remaining cards. The winner is the person with the most cards at the end of the game.


Card Design Half of the cards will contain one vocabulary word with a picture illustration. The other half will contain a sentence with a blank. The back of the cards will be designed so that students cannot see through the cards to cheat.


Deck Design The deck will contain 32 cards. Sixteen of the cards will contain a single vocabulary word. The other 16 cards will contain a sentence with a blank. One vocabulary word will clearly fit into the blank of one sentence card.


Design Process When I first thought of using a memory card game, I wasn't sure if I should simply have the students match identical cards or have them match a vocabulary card to a sentence. I finally decided on the latter so that they would actively be learning and reading instead of simply matching a picture with one simple word to another card with a picture and one simple word. Also, by having them match the word with the picture, the students must understand (comprehend) the vocabulary word in order to recognize if it makes sense in the sentence.

I wasn't sure, and I'm still not, if 32 cards are too many to have in a deck. I removed cards from the deck until I found the number that seemed to make the game enjoyable, while still being educational.