A fun twist on character creation that I have used with my youngest elementary students comes around at this time of year: Creating Class Monsters!
There is one big change for creating this character with younger students rather than upper elementary or middle schoolers: Rather than have them make suggestions for all the details, I give them several options and they vote on the choices themselves. With older students who have had more CI, I am able to give them more independence and they can stay in the TL (or at least consistently ask, “Cómo se dice…?”). Since the younger elementary students are just starting out on their language class journey with me, I take more control of the options and let them choose.
How we create a class monster:
- Head shape (circle, triangle, square).
- Number of eyes (1,2,3,7–they almost always go for seven…or whichever number is the silliest)
- Eye color (I usually write the word of the color in that color-this is especially easy to do with a smart board, but if you don’t have that, you can use whatever color markers or chalk you have)
- Length (long or short-good for helping the kids see that “largo” doesn’t mean large)
- Curly or straight (if long)
- Color (same method as the eye color)
- Nose size
- How the monster feels (determines the shape of the mouth)
- Color of the mouth and teeth
This is where I stopped with the students after one day of class. We will be finishing them next week and we will create a body for our monster.
- Type of body (I suggest lots of different animals–elephant, dog, dolphin, spider–and a human option
- Furry or not?
- Color of fur/body
It’s a silly activity, but it is helpful for lots of fun and nontargeted CI in the early elementary classroom. The kids have been engaged and have been asking when we are going to finish creating our new monster friends.
Monsters with older students
Upper elementary and middle school students have a bit of a different twist on their activity: They get to work in groups and create their own monsters. Then, they get to show them off to their friends. Sometimes this can turn into a competition to see whose monster is the silliest or funniest, but they are engaged and love to show off and hear about others’ monsters.
Diablo la escoba Señor Spooky el murciélago/araña