Back to school is always such an exciting time! The energy is high and the students are in that lovely honeymoon phase. You know that this is the critical time to start building a community, but how do you do that in a dual language classroom?
Here’s 5 fun and bilingual back to school activities for your dual immersion class, ideal for the upper grades 3-6.
If you’re looking for a no prep option for your bilingual class, you can get these bilingual back to school activities pre-made in both Spanish and English. Check it out here!
1. Two truths and a lie
Two truths and a lie (dos verdades y una mentira) is a fun way for students to get to know each other.
In this activity, students write down two true things about themselves and one lie. Let your students know they should mix up the order!
I also let students know in advance that this will be shared publicly, so they shouldn’t write anything they don’t want to share.
After writing down their clues, prompt students to pair up. One student will read their 3 statements and the other guesses which one is a lie. Then they switch.
You can keep changing up the partners to give more students the chance to get to know each other.
You can also do this activity over multiple days. You could have 2-3 pairings per day over the course of the week.
2. Beach Ball Community Builder
This activity is a hit with all ages, including adults!
For this game you need a beach ball, which you can easily find at the dollar store. Use a permanent marker to randomly mark the numbers 1-20 around the beach ball.
You’ll also need a list of questions. You can get my list, which includes Spanish and English prompts, for free here.
When you’re ready, gather your students in a big circle. Toss the ball to someone. When they catch it, have them call out the number closest to their right thumb. Then read that question out loud and have them answer it.
The questions on my list are fun and thought provoking while also being “safe”, meaning nothing that will make students feel emotionally vulnerable.
A great part about this activity is that there’s lots of replay value. There’s only a 5% chance that a student will get the same question twice, and if they do, they can just do a rethrow.
3. Class mixer bingo
For this game, you’ll need to create a 5×5 grid. In each square, write an “I” statement. You might write things like “I can whistle” or “I don’t like pizza”.
The object of this game is to fill the bingo board. I usually give a small prize like a sticker to the first person to finish and yell bingo but you certainly don’t have to.
To play, students walk around the room and ask other students questions like “can you do a cartwheel?” If yes, then they write their name in that box. You can only use somebody’s name once, then you have to find somebody else.
4. Guess who?
Guess who (¿Quién es?) is another way for students to get to know each other.
For this game, students write 3 clues about themselves so that the others can guess who it is. Again, you’ll want to give them a heads up that these will be read to the class so don’t write anything private.
I have students write their names at the bottom and then fold the paper up to cover their name. This way in case a student forgot what they wrote, we remember who it was.
I read this aloud whole class and have students make guesses. I typically read a few a day over the first 2 weeks of school.
5. I want my teacher to know...
In this letter writing activity, students have the opportunity to share parts about themselves in a more private manner. Whereas in the other activities I warn them that they would be shared publicly, these ones I tell them will be just for me to read.
I simply give students the starter, “I want my teacher to know…” (Quiero que mi maestra sepa…) and let them go. It’s incredible to see how students will open up to you.