Looking for a comprehensible and worthwhile way to practice numbers with younger children? Look no further. Since becoming a T/CI teacher I have been ditching all of the thematic materials that I had been using in my classroom for years. The other day I came across a stack of bingo cards for #1-10. I thought of the hours I had put into creating and laminating these materials and I couldn't bring myself to pitch them so I decided to repurpose them.
Activity: I told simple mini-situations using tiene, quiere, come, tiene hambre, va a, and #1-10. I picked students in my class to tell stories about.
Example: Alfonso tiene hambre. Alfonso quiere 9 pizzas. Alfonso va a Dominos. Dominos tiene 10 pizzas. Alfonso come 7 pizzas. Alfonso está enfermo y vomita. Alfonso quiere medicina y va a Walgreens. En Walgreens Alfonso come 3 medicinas. Ahora Alfonso está bien.
While I am telling this story the kids are marking every number they hear me say on their Bingo sheets. For the younger grades (1st and 2nd) I repeated each sentence several times and then also posted the number up on the board so they could check themselves, but with the upper grades I would let the students be accountable for hearing the correct number. It was a successful activity because it gave my squirmy young learners something to do while they were listening. They loved hearing silly stories about their classmates and were invested in listening because they wanted to get a Bingo.
What my students didn't know was that the numbers were not the main focus of the activity. Sure it is great to know numbers in the target language, but what I really want my students to acquire are high frequency vocabulary structures in the target language. Using the numbers was just a way to provide a novel context to get more repetitions of the high frequency structures that we are working on.
Extension: I did this activity with per-literate learners (1st grade) but you could change out the structures for what your students are working on and then add a drawing component to show comprehension. Just tell the students to flip their papers over and re-tell some of the stories and have them draw a quick sketch to show they understood the story. You could then put their pictures under the document camera and re-tell the story again (my students love to see their classmate's drawings, so this is another novel way to provide them with comprehensible input).