No Prep Ideas for the Language Classroom

low prep ideas no prep ideas May 24, 2023

I recently attended a local presentation and was blown out of the water by the ideas the presenter, Deb Blaz, shared with us on no- to low- prep activities. Below are the ideas I thought would be most useful to me in my classroom. I also loved the idea of having the Special Person of the Week be able to choose from the list of No-Prep ideas if they didn't like their song. I was thinking about posting 4 different signs on my board that would read: Song, No Prep Idea 1, No Prep Idea 2, No Prep Idea 3 and the Person of the Week could choose one of the four.

  • Blanco/Blanc: The only requirement for this is that the students need to know their colors. Have the students stand up and you name a color. They must touch something that color but if you say WHITE (blanco/blanc) they have to touch the floor. Last one to touch the floor has to sit down.
  • Board Game Designer: Give students a sheet of paper and tell them to create their own board game design with a middle, an end, and a set number of squares (Usually about 20 is good). For each box (or shape) they must write a question about what they have been studying along with the answer.
  • Casi - Nada - Bueno: Like Wordle but for numbers. Think of a number, for example “782”. The teacher draws three lines on the board ____ ____ ____. The student might say, “setecientos veinte tres”. The teacher would write 782 but say bueno / nada / casi. You could even write them in green, red, and yellow. The next student might say setecientos cuarenta y dos. Then the teacher would write 742 but say Bueno, Nada, Bueno. Etc.
  • CNN Ten: This isn't in Spanish but you could play CNN 10 on your whiteboard and discuss the events of the day.
  • Draw It!: Students each get a blank piece of paper, a whiteboard, a boogie board, or use The students sit back-to-back, and Student A describes an image. Both draw it and when they are done they compare drawings. Have students flip the paper over (or erase whiteboard) and repeat with Student B describing an image.
  • ESP: Need whiteboard or boogie boards. You do need a list of categories and one answer so, technically, it’s not 0 prep. Give a category (foods that are green, sports that don’t use a ball? colors? irregular verbs? Give time to write then give YOUR answer. Any student that matches the teacher’s answer gets a point for their team.
  • Eye Spy: Set a timer and give the students X minutes to list everything they can for a specific topic. For example, classroom items, things they did on break, items that start with B, etc.
  • Field Trip: On a nice day, go out to the parking lot. Have the students in small groups and they take turns telling the color of a car or truck and reading its license plate to their partner. This is great to practice colors, numbers, and letters and… getting outside!
  • Free Write – all you need to do is choose a topic
  • FVR – If you realize your plan for the day has left you with 10+ minutes before the bell rings, announce FVR time and let the kids pick out something to read. You can mix it up by…
    • You read a book to them
    • Have them draw while you read to them ( is fun for this)
    • Have them read to each other
  • Hachi-Pachi: Students get into a large circle and one person is sent out of the room. I call them the Detective. Choose a student in the circle to be the Hachi-Pachi. That student comes up with a gesture, motion, or sound and everyone in the circle needs to imitate them. (Pro tip: tell the students to not all stare at the Hachi Pachi or the detective will figure it out very quickly.) Bring the Detective back in and give them a question to ask like, “Como estas?” When they think they know who the Hachi-Pachi is, they ask that question to the student in the circle. If that student is not the Hachi-Pachi, they simply answer the questions. If they are the Hachi-Pachi, they will say, “Hachi-Pachi!” and that round is over.
  • Hangman with vocabulary
  • Marker Grab: Some might say this needs prep work but if you can think of 10 -15 questions off the top of your head then you are good to do this anytime! Students sit facing a partner with a marker between them. If teacher says something True they try and grab the marker. If teacher says something false they leave it alone. I like to start this game with personal questions about the students in class. For example, “Billy has cows,” or “Sally has blonde hair.”
  • Mind Reading (need whiteboards): Pair up your students. Student A will write 3 sentences on their board and Student B tries to guess what they wrote. For every word Student B gets correct, they get a point. The student with the most correct points wins!
  • Song of the Week: Super simple - Just play the song of the week!
  • Spin the Pencil: This is like Spin the Bottle but with a pencil. Students will get into small groups. Student A asks a question and then spins the pencil. Whichever student it lands on needs to answer the question! Then that student asks a question and spins the pencil…
  • Top Ten: Ask students to identify the ten MOST IMPORTANT things to know about any category. For example: top 10 pizza toppings, top 10 things to look for in a girl/boy friend, top 10 shoe brands, etc.
  • Why?: Student A (a volunteer) makes a statement. Class chorally says, “Why?” Student A makes another statement that answers the question. Continue until stuck. Keep track of who can answer the longest and then make it a competition between classes!

What's a boogie board? I like them better than whiteboards because I don't have to deal with erasers, markers, any m y whiteboards always seem to stain easily. Link is here: 

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