Saturday, April 1, 2017

Activities with Play Food in the Foreign Language Classroom

FOOD IS ONE OF THOSE TOPICS IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSES that gives a lot of bang for the buck.. we all like to talk about food, and there are so many ways to make it part of our lessons. Since I am a huge advocate of hands on learning, I use both plastic and paper play food whenever I am doing activities related to food- not only do they give little hands something to engage in, but it also provides visual support for my students. And this applies to all age groups, not just the littles- when I was teaching Russian to adults, I frequently incorporated manipulatives to support learning. Here are some ideas for using play food in your class:

Activities with Play Food in the Foreign Language Classroom


*CATEGORIZE ACCORDING TO PREFERENCE: This is a simple way to practice expressions of preference, even if your students don't know the words for all the food items. For my younger students, I make up ziploc baggies with approximately 10 foods in them along with a set of cards indicating 'I like', 'I really like', 'I don't like', and 'I don't know' (for those foods they've never tried) and divide the class into pairs. Each pair gets a baggie and takes turns categorizing the foods based on their preferences. After a few minutes, I have them leave the foods in a pile, and they move to the next set (each baggie has different foods in it) so they can categorize again. I encourage them to say how they feel about each food in Spanish as they place it under a preference card. For older kids, you could have them add reasons why they like or don't like a particular food- It's too spicy, It's sweet, It's gross, etc.

*PLAY RESTAURANT OR MARKET: Play food lends itself really well to activities involving restaurant or market vocabulary and provide a hands on component to the action. Students can "order" food which is then delivered to them (put the play food on a plate!), or the play food can be displayed as part of a market stand where students can "buy" what they need to make a dish or to get items on a shopping list.

Activities to Use Play Food in Foreign Language Classes

*"ILLUSTRATE A RECIPE":  Provide students with an authentic recipe and a basket or bin of printable food. Have them read the recipe and line up the ingredients below the recipe. This is a great center/ station activity! ALTERNATIVE: Have multiple sets of play food available, pair students up and have one student tell his/her partner which foods are needed for a particular recipe or dish.

Activities to Use Play Food in Foreign Language Classes


*PLAY 20 QUESTIONS: Have student go out into the hall and choose a food from a basket or bag. Upon re-entering the classroom, the rest of the class tries to guess the mystery food by asking a series of questions that can be answered with yes/no. Is it a fruit? Is it round? Is it an orange? etc. Once guessed, or the 20 questions are spent and the food revealed, choose another student and play again!

*PLAY 'I'M GOING ON A PICNIC AND I'M BRINGING...': I love this old favorite, but I find it is easier for students to engage in when we have the food visuals in front of them. It helps with recall, and provides some structure and limits to what they can choose from. I put out a bunch of play food that they know the names of and as one is named by a student, they put it in front of them so we can all reference it. This also helps keep the game moving, as the task focuses on remembering the Spanish vocabulary, rather than what someone said on down the circle.

*CATEGORIZE INTO...: There are so many ways students can categorize food- healthy vs unhealthy foods, groups based on the food pyramid, meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), foods they've tried vs foods they haven't, types of food (fruits, veggies, drinks, desserts, etc), and so on. Provide a graphic organizer for students to use as a template, placing food in categories they write at the top (or have the categories pre-written).

Activities to Use Play Food in Foreign Language Classes


NEED PLAY FOOD FOR YOUR CLASS? Look no further! We have an ever growing set of play food in Spanish, as well as the same set unlabeled, and sets in German, French, Russian, and English on the way! Visit our shop and grab it now- click here!
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMk0RMH8MFmOB_yJMuvVMH7xBx_qfLl8oqOQXbA

4 comments:

  1. On my opinion the best way to learn any language is to have constant speaking practice. In such case the best way is to find a tutor and native speakers. I can advise https://preply.com/en/wroclaw/spanish-tutors for searching native speaking tutors. I've learnt Spanish using this website. All other methods you can use as aditional way to gain new knowledge and practice already completed material. But I'm looking for new methods to improve my skiils. Can you help me?

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  2. Another use for plastic food or empty cartons from authentic brands....,use them to demonstrate direct object pronouns!
    I also like your idea of using them to ask what favorite dishes are made of!
    Angela Burbano @SraBurbano. ☺️

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    Replies
    1. Hello Angela! Love that idea, thanks so much for sharing! ~Julie

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