I came up with this game as a way to practice the term “saca” (takes out) as part of the ¡Saca el boleto! story to prep students to read Pobre Ana Chapter 3, but I think that I need to just use it all the time because my students have never been so engaged! It would be a great way to practice “needs” or “wants” too.

First, I took a bag and filled it with random objects: a bar of soap, a rubber chicken, a fake eyeball, a Bible, a pair of ski goggles, a toy cow, etc. Whatever you have around that could be the source for an interesting explanation.

Then, I told my students that it is a magic bag because it knows what you need (you could say that it knows what you want). Whatever you take out of the bag is what you need (want).

Students took turns closing their eyes, reaching into the bag, and pulling out an object. I would then say to the class (in the target language), “Bobby takes out (an object)!” Circle that a little bit, then remind students that s/he takes out the object because the bag knows that s/he needs that object. Ask them to tell you why the student needs that object.

Some things that came out of the bag today were…

  • A rubber chicken because the student didn’t have any friends, so now the rubber chicken will be his friend.
  • Ski goggles to protect the student from another student’s crazy mom
  • A Bible because the student is really bad and needs Jesus
  • A cow and a mask (they were tangled together) because the student has a secret mission to kill all the cows and eat them

We are going to continue the game tomorrow because all of my students want a chance to take something out of the bag–even my most lost and disinterested students were eager for their own turn and to offer explanations for their classmates! I think that this will become one of my P.A.T games! It would also make a good brain break–just have a bag always in the room, ready to go, and you can pull out one object for a quick five-minute diversion from whatever monotonous activity you are in the middle of.

4 replies on “La bolsa mágica

  1. This sounds like fun and something my students will enjoy! I’ll try this activity next week and watch their reactions.
    I’m trying to decide when to start the Pobre Ana with my Spanish 1s. I looked through the first chapter for words they haven’t learned yet and found more than I expected. How do you gage when your class is ready to start reading the book?

  2. Carol Gaab did a session at our AFLA conference this fall about using novels as curriculum, and she gave us some things to consider when determining when to start reading a book. You need to figure out how long you can draw out the book without students forgetting what was the last thing that happened and/or losing their interest (can you read one chapter per week, or one chapter every two weeks…?). My students can usually handle one chapter every week or so without losing track of the action (although I often do not follow my own advice and do a chapter over two weeks). Therefore, I know that I need to make sure students know enough vocabulary before beginning the book so that I can introduce all additional terms and topics for each chapter in a week. Students should be able to understand 90% of the vocabulary in any given reading (9 out of 10 words). Make a list of the words that you will need to pre-teach your students for each chapter in order to make that happen. Then, decide how many words per week you can teach (I usually do 3 or 4). I pick 3-4 words per chapter to teach while in the process of reading the book, and then teach everything else before we even begin. Of course, this is all in an ideal world and it doesn’t end up looking exactly like that, but that’s my general plan.

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