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Levántense: An Engaging Vocab Game for Spanish Class

Sneak peek: Levántense is an engaging vocab game that gets students moving and speaking.

Are you looking for a fun game to increase classroom participation while also practicing vocabulary and pronunciation in Spanish class? Levántense is a super competitive, device-free game that gets students up out of their seats and pronouncing vocabulary words.

I first learned about this game from my cooperating teacher during student-teaching and it has been a regular in my class ever since. You can play this game inside or outside, as the weather permits. I recommend this primarily for L2 learners since the main focus is on vocab memorization and pronunciation. In fact, I have never played levántense with my heritage speaker classes because we don’t do much vocab memorization.

Materials & Prep

You will need 2 sets of vocab lists printed out on cardstock paper (I put two terms per page in landscape orientation, then cut them in half). The sets should be the exact same vocabulary list, but each set should be printed in a different color. This is because there will be two teams and each team should have the same set of cards but in their own team color. You should also print out a master vocab list for yourself to use during the game.

flash cards for Levántense game for Spanish class

The sets should be the exact same vocabulary list, but each set should be printed in a different color. This is because there will be two teams and each team should have the same set of cards but in their own team color. You should also print out a master vocab list for yourself to use during the game.

The Set-up

1. Divide your classroom into two teams. It’s best if they are located in the same area of the room (left side of the room vs right side of the room).

2. Hand a set of cards to one person from each team. They should pass the cards out to their teammates until they are gone. The vocab cards should be evenly distributed so each player has approximately the same amount of cards.

flashcards in hand

3. Give students time to look up the words on their cards and to make sure they know how to pronounce them correctly. They can ask other students or the teacher if they don’t know how to pronounce the word.

4. Before you can begin, students should be seated in their desks and they should put their cards face-up on their desks.

flash cards out on desk

5. Write the team names on the whiteboard (I usually use the color of their cards for their team names).

Gameplay

1. Make sure you have your printed out list of vocabulary words because you will begin the game by calling a vocab term in English. Call out a term from your list in English. 

2. The students from each team who have the card with the Spanish translation must stand up, hold the card, and pronounce the word correctly before the person from the other team. They must do all three of those things (stand up, hold the card and correctly pronounce the term) or they can’t earn the point.

**Sometimes it can be tricky to tell who said it correctly first. You can say that it was a tie and instead of awarding a point, warn them that you will call that word again.

Spanish flash card in hand

3. When you get through the whole list of vocabulary (I mark them off as I call them), you have completed one round. 

4. Declare which team won that round and play again. 

5. Tell students to pass their cards to another teammate for the next round. This way they are mastering different terms. When they switch cards with a teammate they can tell them what they mean and how to pronounce them.

flash card game in Spanish class for vocabulary

Rules

Before you begin playing, you will need to go over these rules with students so they understand how to play.

  1. If two people from the same team stand up they disqualify their team for that point. 
  2. Students must be loud-if the teacher hears you better, you might just get the point. 
  3. If students are not pronouncing it correctly, they can continue to try. As long as they pronounce it correctly before the other team does, it counts. 
  4. Their teammates can even help them, but the student with the card must be the one to pronounce it for the teacher. The teacher will keep listening until a player from one team says it correctly (I put my hand to my ear as a signal to keep going because I am listening). 
  5. The teacher is the ref. They may not always be right, but they make the final call. They will do their best to hear who said it first. 
  6. Don’t argue with the teacher or you will lose your team a point.

Outdoor Version

On nice weather days, my students like to play outside. Instead of having them sit on the ground, we play at a concrete wall near our school that has a cement line about 6 ft in front of it. Students must stand with their backs to the wall, holding their cards, and in order to submit an answer they have to step forward across the cement line.

I hope your students enjoy this game!

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Levántense: An Engaging vocab game for Spanish class!
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