Dichos ROCK! Teaching idioms in a CI classroom.

Click here for a Google Slide Show which I will update as I add dichos throughout the year.

This year I decided I would start including “dichos” in Spanish class. Dichos are idioms. They are often SO funny and SO different from English. The students find them hysterical, and they learn SO much new vocabulary from them. Eventually, students even find ways to incorporate the dichos into the conversations we are having during class time. I didn’t know how pleased I would be with the Dichos until I saw so many of awesome results this week.

On Monday, after the Do Now, I bring the student’s attention to the new “dicho”. I post it on the white board at the front of the room. There is a space in the top right corner reserved for it, and it never moves or gets erased. After reading it, we go through word by word working to translate it. MOST of the time, the direct translation gives us little clue as to what the idiom means. For example, last week, our dicho was “se parecen como dos gotas de agua” which literally translates to they seem like two drops of water. The idiom in English that best matches this is “they are like two peas in a pod”. The students think it is so weird but they enjoy discussing why it actually does make sense because water drops all look and act the same way.

Then each day I find a way to bring the dicho into our class. Tuesday, I may have it in the do now (as part of a translation excersize perhaps) or in last week’s  example, I would ut up a picture of two famous people and we will talk about how they are similar. ALL of this of course is in Spanish.

Three reasons I am convinced I am a genius for starting to teach these dichos:

  1. This week during a movie talk, I had a student recognize that the behavior of the main character of the video was VERY similar to that of a student in our class. She shouted above the class “Maestra!!! Simon y el animal en el video se parecen como dos gotas de agua!” She said it without hesitation or error. She had acquired the dicho in one week  in which she probably only heard it a total of 10 times. BUT, since it was written on the board all week and high interest enough, she was able to recall it and produce it without a problem. She is not one of my top students. I was so proud. The class received 30 points, which was a BIG deal.  We then spent the next 10 minutes discussing WHY, they were like two peas in a pod. It was incredible. Here is a photo, but if you click here, you can see a 2 minute video of this part of the class. img_5618
  2. I have had 5 different students, JUST THIS WEEK, bring me other “dichos” that they want to have in future weeks. SO, that means they are going home and looking up idioms in Spanish!!! WHAT?!
  3. I had students in my 8th grade class on 3 different occasions this week, use the word parece in DIFFERENT contexts. I had to briefly explain that in their sentences they would need to add the word como afterwards. BUT the way I explained it was by SHOWING them and modeling what they were trying to say. Then I wrote it up on the board. SO BOOM! Just like that, they also  have been acquiring a structure in addition to the others we’ve been working on! WAHOOOOO!!!!!!!

I found a book of Dichos in my school library, but I am also following a Spanish Idioms account on Twitter: @turengSpanish

Until next time,

HAPPY TEACHING!

Lots of love,

La Maestra Loca

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6 comments

  1. I may not be a language teacher, but working with people from multiple countries I am well aware of the fact that a great marker of when someone gets my language is when they either use or understand idioms!!

  2. I love this and appreciate you sharing so much, it’s very helpful. When I click on the google slideshow, it takes me back to the blog post? I’d love to see your idioms if you can fix the link. Thank you!!

  3. Thanks for the brilliant idea of using spanish idioms in class. I ran to my office and found a copy that I bought years ago and have never used. On the shelf next to it was an unread book of spanish proverbs. Guess, I will have to try using that one too.

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