Resources for Teaching Languages to Children


March Madness with a Twist-How I Made Brackets with Animals for my Elementary Spanish Classes

HELLO MARCH and HELLO MARCH MADNESS! It is exciting to see teachers engaging in music brackets in their foreign language classes and to hear how much kids are enjoying them! Last year I tried it out, with great music suggestions from a Twitter colleague, but I just couldn't manage it in my 30 minute classes-clearly operator error! As this March came ever closer, I wracked my brain to find a way to participate that I could pull off..... and then I came across this really cool project out of Arizona State University (March Mammal Madness) and realized THIS I could do-especially since my Third Graders had done research on endangered animals in South America in December, so this became the perfect followup.

March Madness Brackets with Animals for FLES Spanish and French

I SIMPLIFIED THE BRACKETS FOR MY CLASSES since we only meet twice a week and have other theme activities to do... I chose 8 animals from South America, including the ones we had focused on back in December, and created the bracket. Since I have 4 third grade classes, each class will vote on each part of the bracket before an animal is advanced-this was a challenge for me last year-keeping four sets of votes on music as we progressed. Again, operator error I am sure! I've used white poster board for the brackets this year and as we vote, I put tally marks right on the brackets (oh, a little math, too!!! sneaky!)...I copied smaller pictures of each animal to place along the bracket as the vote moves forward. (The animals on the board this year are: el lobo de crin (aguará guazú), el guanaco, el puma, la guacamaya roja, el zorro chilote, el oso andino, el pingüino de penacho, y el jaguar)

March Madness Animal Brackets for FLES Spanish and French

SINCE I KNOW MY STUDENTS will want to also make commentary about the animal they are voting on at any time, I also put up some phrases they can use in the course of the conversation, and as we really get into it I anticipate others will come up as well that I can add to the board. I am really excited, and so are my students- I will let you know how it goes...and which animal is the winner!

Here is a video of me introducing the activity and our first round of votes:

Interested in doing something similar? I have a bunch of animal photos saved on my Pinterest board here. :)

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