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Five Icebreakers for the Beginning of the Year in Heritage Spanish Class

Sneak peek: Five icebreakers for heritage Spanish class for the beginning of the year.

At the beginning of the school year, icebreakers are the name of the game in classrooms all across the country, and heritage Spanish classes are no different. 
Here are five icebreakers for your heritage speaker class to get started on building a strong sense of community as the year gets underway.

1. La historia de mi vida

icebreaker for heritage class

This is an icebreaker that doubles as a project! Your students will need a couple of days to prepare their drawing before they are ready for the icebreaker part. 

For this activity students use artistic expression to draw their life story and use their drawing to share about themselves to a small group of peers.

icebreaker for heritage speaker class

For more details on this icebreaker and a free download of the project instructions, check out this post.

2. Hand trace with magazine cut-outs

hand trace cut-out bulletin board for heritage speaker class

Here is an easy get-to-know-you activity that will take about two class periods and simply requires 11 x13 paper, magazines, scissors, and glue sticks. 
First, have students trace their hand and forearm on the 11 x 13 paper and cut it out. Provide plenty of old magazines for students to browse through. Students then cut out images of things they like or things that represent their life and then paste them onto their hand and forearm cutout. They should also include their name somewhere on their hand.

The next day, students will use their creation to introduce themselves to a small group of their peers. They should explain why they chose to include each image on their project. You can assign students groups by numbering them off, or do two lines for introductions “speed-dating” style.

After the introductions, collect their hands and forearms and turn it into a beautiful bulletin board for your classroom. The text I included in the center of the bulletin board pictured above says “Compartimos nuestras similitudes, celebramos nuestras diferencias.”

3. Loto de vacaciones

loto de vacaciones

Time for a digital icebreaker! While this is digital, it requires that students work together in the classroom. They will need access to a computer and also their cell phone.

There are three parts to this lesson. 

  1. Students must work with their group to fill a digital bingo board (sort of like blackout bingo) with actual photos in order to prove they did certain activities this summer. This is a race! The first group to share their document with the teacher wins! Students look through their phones and email themselves pictures to upload to the shared Google Slides for their group or they can use the Google Slides app on their phone to easily upload photos from their phone.
loto de vacaciones

2. Students complete a rewrite assignment individually. They practice the preterite tense by rewriting the sentence from first-person to third-person. This is digital but you could also print copies if you prefer they write for this. My heritage speakers often struggle with knowing where the accents go for the preterite tense so it is helpful to remind them of the endings for “yo” and “él, ella, usted” in the preterite.

loto de vacaciones preterite tense practice

3. Each group will present their bingo board to the class, explaining the activities they did that summer.

4. Poema acróstico de mi nombre

acrostic poem icebreaker for heritage class

Here’s yet another icebreaker that doubles as a project and provides you with colorful work to display in your classroom and is appropriate for both middle school and high school!. 

This is an acrostic poem lesson packet that students will complete by highlighting the identity terms that apply to them and then putting some of them into an acrostic poem using their name. They can use their first name or their last name. They need to also include pictures and color onto their final product. The rubric makes it clear for students how they will be graded.

acrostic poem for heritage speakers

This icebreaker will take your students approximately one hour to complete the project portion and then about 15 minutes for them to introduce their work to a classmate. I would give them the first day to prepare and then begin class the next day with the introductions. Once students have introduced themselves to their classmates (either in small groups or in front of the whole class) you can collect their work and display it!

5. Crecemos en Comunidad

crecemos en comunidad

In need of a quick-hitter icebreaker? For this 30-minute icebreaker, divide your students into small groups. Students must work together to fill in what things they all have in common in the pot, while filling in items that make each of them unique on the leaves.

I love this icebreaker because it gives students an opportunity to talk with one another, asking each other questions about what they like to do, or how many siblings they have, without feeling weird about it. They have a task at hand (a worksheet to complete) and that task requires that they ask each other a lot of questions! If your students have fun doing this, you can put them into new groups and have them do the exercise again, getting to know other classmates!

Of course, you can hand draw a potted plant like the one shown here, but I also have several versions of this worksheet available for free exclusively for those on my email list. If you want this worksheet to show up in your inbox in a few weeks, subscribe here

If you want more free resources of mine, see this post.

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