I start my 8th grade class off with a lesson about Animals in Spanish. Animals is one of the topics that students really enjoy but you don’t see it included in many textbooks or early levels, so it is something that I definitely make sure to include in my curriculum. It is a fun topic where students can learn new vocabulary words and apply past learning for review in talking about animals.
I include about 20 animals for vocabulario. I have these words loaded up as flashcards on wordchamp.com so after the introduction of the words, I display a picture of an animal on the board and ask students “¿Qué animal es?” as they look through their notes to tell me the word. When I hit the ok button, the computer pronounces the word so they get to hear the correct pronunciation. Animals is such an easy unit since many of them are cognates.
One activity that I do is have the students watch the video for “Chocolate” by Jesse y Joy. As they watch the video, when they see an animal in the video, they put a check mark next to the word in their notes. (Objetivo: Identificar los animales en el video)
It’s a fun video and I’ve also used it during the food unit as it talks about many food-related vocabulary words.
The next day, I hand out flashcards in Spanish I’ve accumulated through my travels (1-2 per student). They read the description of the animal and write down any cognates they find. If you don’t have cognates, you can look up animal descriptions on Wikipedia Español:
I then have them do a small project where they have to describe an animal. I allow them to pick one of the animals they have or they can create a new animal by combing the two. (For example: vaca + tortuga = tortaca”) Or you can have them create their own superhero using the animal, since many are already based on animals: Spiderman= Hombre de Araña. Batman= Homre Muerciélago. I give them some vocabulario adicional to use in their project such as patas, volar, poderes, cola, etc.
Lastly, I also have a variety of libros en español that I lay out on the counter for students to read through. But my favorite is called “La vaca que decía OINK” por Bernard Most. I have the students sit on the floor and read them the story, hamming it up. The students enjoy the feel of sitting in a reading circle much like they would do in the primary grades.
This is a pretty easy lesson to put together. But if you are in a hurry and want to implement the lesson now, we’ve done all the work for you. You can get the whole unit which includes:
-26 Vocabulary Words Listed
-1 page Animal Project
-3 pages of pictures/clipart
-1 Page of 17 Questions
-1 Multiple Choice Quiz
all for less than $2. Quite a bargain, if you ask me.
-Esta actividad de “mascotas” de Zachary Jones, Twiccionario de mascotas.
-Estas tira cómicas de Macanudo por Liniers:
I used this comic as a bell ringer. Asking: Using the cognate in the text and using the context of this picture, what do you think la mosca is saying? You can follow up with questions such as: ¿Qué es el cognado? ¿Cuántas rana hay? ¿Cuántas moscas hay? ¿Cómo se llama la mosca?
And this is another fun one:
Check out all our resources for an Animal Unit in Spanish Class.