We’ve worked really hard the last couple of years on building our students’ cultural capital – see our blog on our Year 7 SOW here. During lockdown we wanted to find a way to engage students, not just in their Spanish work but everything that goes with learning a language.
We began to run ‘Scavenger hunts’ with a variety of challenges for students to do – some were cross-curricular, some were more challenging than others and some were based purely on cultural elements. They were for all year groups and we gave out rewards for the most tasks completed as well as overall prizes in a raffle style draw! We were amazed at how well every year group responded to the challenges we set and the responses we got were fantastic. It was quite a lot of work to collate and keep track of the entries but it was 100% worth it for the enjoyment they got out of it! Links to: Scavenger 1, Scavenger 2, Scavenger 3
We then did an advent calendar for December for our Year 7 students, with daily information/tasks for them to do, and again, the engagement was incredible. It started a discussion in lessons and they were really keen to tell us what they’d learnt and done.
We wanted to keep this momentum going but make collating it a bit easier for ourselves so, inspired by the word a day calendar on mfldatablog.com (which our GCSE students LOVED) we made a Year 7 version. Each month they ‘visit’ a different Spanish speaking country and has monthly challenges for them to complete. There is always a tongue twister, a recipe and some research involved. We also added some employability skills as finding a way to interleave these into our lessons regularly, is our next challenge! We have so far talked about the calendar a bit in our lessons to introduce it and will refer back to it every so often asking questions about who has done what or displaying some of the class’ entries and getting them to talk about it – this worked well with the advent calendar! The recipe this month has been especially popular – our Food Tech department are VERY happy with their cooking skills!
Now that we have re-entered lockdown we hope this acts as another way to engage students – we don’t want them to miss out on the cultural elements which are easier to include with face to face teaching, and we also hope it inspires a love of Spanish within them and some much needed distraction/down time too. The calendar itself will also be useful for them to get themselves organised and keep track of dates/plans – and count down the days until they’re back in our classrooms!