Friday, January 5, 2018

Places Around School - Six Ideas for the FLES Classroom

I have a new curriculum this year (as opposed to no curriculum before) and while there are many units I was already teaching there are several that I have never taught before. One of those was a unit for first grade on the different places in school called Me and My School. I'm not sure why I never taught places in the school before but it has turned out to be one  of my favorite units so far. Here are 6 great ideas that my students loved.

1. We stared the unit with Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes. Just like with Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes I "read" this book to them (translating and simplifying as I went while showing them the pictures.) Then we told the story again with the awesome story props from I recommend printing, laminating, and putting a magnet on the back for easy story telling. 

2. From the book, we came up with a chant that helped students connect different actions with the different places in the school. 

Leo, leo, leo, leo en la biblioteca.
Como, como, como, como en la cafeteria.
Juego, juego, juego, juego en el patio.
Canto, canto, canto, canto en la clase de musica.
Pinto, pinto, pinto, pinto en la clase de arte.
Escribo, escribo, escribo, escribo en la sala de clase.

3. Then we practiced the different locations with my lovely llama, Primavera (named by second graders who were studying seasons at the time.) I took close up pictures and wide angle pictures of Primavera around the school and the kids had to guess where she was. I got this idea from someone on either Facebook or Instagram (sorry I can't remember who!) 

llama en la clase de musica

4. Next we hid pictures of Primavera around the school and my student teacher Sarah Beth took half the class on a llama hunt. Students had to find the right place on their list and mark if they found the llama or not. This was another big hit but we did annoy the Music teacher with kids constantly peeking into her room to see if they could find Primavera. The other half of the class stayed with me and played memory with school supplies flash cards. 

Tip - If you do this make sure you put the pictures outside of a classroom so that students don't need to go in. We did this but even then the kids were very "thorough" so you might also warn your teammates. 

lugares alrededor la escuela

5. Battleship with bear counters and simplified versions of our school map was also super fun and got in some interpersonal practice with ¿Dónde está? and the different locations. 

map of the school battleship game

6.Our final project had students labeling both smaller individual maps and making a larger map that we hung in the front hallway for our Spanish speaking visitors. Giving the students this authentic audience really motivated them and they worked really hard to label their maps. Check out my separate blog post on the adorable illustrations they made for our large map. 

Tip - Make copies of the maps that you put out for visitors so that students can have their original to take home. Sending home work with students, especially work they are excited about is a great way to advocate for your program.

mapa de la escuela proyecto

mapa de la escuela proyecto

This has been one of my favorite units ever. The students were so engaged and learned so much. Do you teach places around the school and what activities do you do? Share in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #earlylang!


  1. Hi! Can you explain further how you play battleship in your classroom? Thanks

    1. Sure - students placed their bear somewhere on the school map (hidden behind a screen so their partner couldn't see where) and asked their partner ¿Dónde está? The partner had to guess different locations until they got it right. Then they switched. You could also have both students hiding a bear at the same time and take turns guessing but I had limited maps and bears.

      Thanks for reading the blog!