I know what you're saying: "DUH!" But with Pinterest making it so easy, I have expanded my toolbox exponentially and created some really amazing activities for my students.
- Search for an idea. Sometimes, it isn't the activity itself that I'm searching for, but rather what to do next! If I'm teaching a unit on animals, I often times search science or preschool activities for an idea which I can build upon. Since early language learners are generally at the same academic level as a preschool student, adjusting these activities doesn't take much. Also, early learning activities tend to be hands-on and involve basic conversation - exactly what my students need!
- Search by subject. Teaching a new language at the elementary level is often teaching a core subjects, but in a different language. When teaching numbers, for example, I always seem to have the same ideas. But teaching numbers is just teaching math. How do students learn base ten, for example? Numbers in Spanish past 15 is the same as teaching base ten in English, so why not just use those resources? I'm not a math teacher, so any help I can get is much appreciated!
- Focus on topic not on content. Just because you teach different vocabulary than the person who created the resources, it doesn't mean it isn't helpful! When I find an activity I like, but the language doesn't quite fit the bill, I simply retype or recreate the activity to fit my needs. While this means a bit more time for me, I can't seem to justify throwing out a perfectly good activity based on vocabulary choice.
- Reinterpret to fit your needs. Many times, activities I find are pencil and paper based, but in my class, we really focus on the speaking piece. A great example is a start of the year activity - all about me. An important activity to get to know your students and for them to get to know each other, they always seem to involve hours of writing. Instead, have students fill out pertinent information with one word and then use those "notes" to have a conversation.
- Find a good one and recycle it. Maybe it's cheating a bit, but once I have an activity that works well for my kiddos and me, I tend to use it multiple times. One activity I like is "speed dating". Although we don't call it that (since my students are in 3rd-5th grade), it is a great way for students to get to know each other. At its core, however, this activity is just question asking. So in my animal unit, we speed date as different animals to find out more about the animals.