Sunday, 25 January 2015

"Teaching Languages with 100 objects" : an answer to @valleseco

The other day I read Clare Seccombe's (@valleseco) blog post "Teaching Languages with 100 objects" where she asks:

"Are there 100 objects that could be used for enriching the teaching of languages in Key Stage 2?

I propose that the objects would have to have some kind of cultural significance, that they would somehow "matter" to the country or countries whose language is being taught.  And I also propose that there doesn't have to be a list of 100.  A smaller list may be just as suitable."

I got very excited about this "challenge" and decided to list the objects I take into my Spanish lessons. While my daughter was asleep in the afternoon, I went up to my office in the loft to take a"cultural look" at my teaching materials, and came down with a box full of treasures. This is the cultural selection only, if I had to bring down the other teaching toys and props, I would have to buy a bigger kitchen table!

Here is my list:

flag: (colours) castañuelas (jotas- a Spanish dance) Spanish doll (where we live, what languages we speak)

pictures from South America (Spanish speaking countries in the world, travel, colours, clothes, family)

Advent calendar (numbers and saying the date), the Three Kings 

Spain scarf and football T-shirt (clothes, colours, adjectives,phonics-ñ) The scarf is always with me, I use it to blindfold pupils for mystery games.

 kitchen clothes with recipes (food, using dictionary, clothes, role-play)

South American finger puppets (role plays, taking turns)

 piñata (birthdays, saying the date, months)

capote and waistband (discuss bullfights, Sanfermines- saying the date, clothes and adjectives)

books and DVDs (blog post about the movie, for literature click on "poetry" on the word cloud on the right hand side)

worry dolls from Guatemala (family, travel, colour, clothes)

money from Spanish speaking countries (travel, shopping, numbers, plurals)

panpipes from Peru, rain stick from Chile, fan from Spain (weather, travel)

maps, train tickets, bus tickets (transport, directions, travels)

dragons and roses for Sant Jordi (role plays, Valentine's Day), Buzz who speaks Spanish in Toy Story- we learn the song "Hay un amigo en mí" for Valentine's Day from him.

Pencil case and big pencils from Spain (classroom items, travel, colours)

Dora the Spanish teacher (clothes, personal descriptions)

calendars (numbers, saying the date, months, name days: blog here ) alphabet poster, board game and cards from Spain

world map (travel, transport, where they speak Spanish, phonics), Day of the Dead cookie cutters (colours, shapes, opinions- blog post here), travel catalogues (travel, writing a postcard, Spanish speaking countries), jalapeños (phonics, food)

mantón (clothes, travel, colours)

aprons (restaurant role plays) paella (phonics, food)

flamenco dress (clothes, colours, adjectives)

Spain map, leaflets (weather, travel, transport, phonics)


We had lots of fun playing with these toys on Saturday afternoon!

Added on 27-1-2015

After reading Carmen's comment, I am adding one more picture....of course I had Spanish supermarket catalogues:-) I use them to show my pupils the Christmas jamón and I leave them on display while we do the "food" topic. Thank you, Carmen:-)


  1. Thanks for the mention Erszi! You sure do have a lot of stuff! I really do need to get myself to Spain to do some shopping :-)

    1. Clare, many of my toys come from charity shops and carboot sales:-)

  2. Madre mía wapa esto es un baúl sin fondo o en tu caso mejor decir "tu oficina" ja,ja,ja....creo que poco queda pro añadir...quizas periodicos y revistas? A ver si para la proxima vez que voy a españa me las traigo...cuando trabaje la comida y lso precios iré a los super mercados a "robar" panfletos con las ofertas ja,ja,ja. gracias por compartirlos :-)

    1. Acabo de anadir una foto para ti:-) x

  3. Wow, Erzsi, that's impressive!
    Just to mention, the poetry tab at the top of the page does not work for me, although the other tabs do. You might want to check it out.
    Thanks very much,
    Becca (Gamesley)