Since the time I wrote this post, the situation in Venezuela has changed and this educational site is no longer being maintained. If the Spanish online game about the city is restored, I’ll update the link.
Children explore a city in this online game from the Venezuelan government. There are audio explanations of parts of the city and the text appears on the screen as children hear the words.
The audio is very clear. The explanations are short, basic and use general words. Kids will be able to guess a lot of the vocabulary from context.
This game is excellent listening practice. Children will not understand every word of the explanations, but that is fine. Children need practice hearing natural Spanish in a context that helps them understand the main idea. After this description of the game, I will make a few suggestions for using this activity with Spanish language learners.
Spanish Online Game – La ciudad
The game starts with a map. As children move the cursor around they will hear the words for different areas and can click on los carros y autobuses, el hospital, la plaza, la escuela, la iglesia, las calles y avenidas or las viviendas. When they click on one of the buildings or other parts of the city, the game takes them to that section and gives an explanation. The explanations often have several parts, and the picture sometimes changes to match the audio.
These are examples of what children will hear exploring the city in this Spanish online game:
La escuela – La escuela es la segunda casa de los niños. Allí vamos todos los días a aprender, a compartir, a contar, a leer, jugar y hacer amigos. Hay maestros y maestras que nos enseñan, guian y orientan. Haz clic en la puerta principal de la escuela para conocerla.
El hospital – El hospital generalmente es un edificio grande preparado para atender a las personas enfermas y heridas, donde trabajan médicos y enfermeras.
Los carros y autobuses – Los carros y autobuses son algunos de los medios de transporte que utilizan las personas para trasladarse de un lugar a otro.
Some of the explanations will tell kids to click on something. For example, after choosing Viviendas, they can click on casa pequeña, casa grande or edificio. They will hear instructions to click on the door to go inside each of these. Inside, when they move the cursor over the parts of the house or apartment, they will hear the rooms pronounced.
Playing this game, kids can go into the school. They can also go into the hospital, where there are four different rooms (observación, laboratorio, consultorio, rayos-x). They click on each room and hear an of explanation what happens there. They can also click on the ambulance outside to hear: Las ambulanicas transladan rápidamente a los enfermos y los paramédicos ayudan a las personas (Ambulances transport sick people rapidly and paramedics help the people.).
In the plaza, when players move the cursor over the different parts of the picture, they here the objects pronounced.
When the activity has given all of the information for each section, it will automatically returns to the main map. Players can also advance to the next screen with the arrow at the bottom of the screen.
How you use this activity will depend on the level of your students. Here are a few ideas, ordered from simple to more difficult.
With any listening activity, it is best to listen all the way through first, before trying to do any specific task.
– Listen for general words like ciudad, personas, edificio, casa(s), puerta
– Listen for the word in the title. Make columns for the titles and make a mark in the column when you hear the word.
– Listen for one or two key words associated with each part of the city. Listen for the title word and the key word(s). These are a few of the key words you could listen for in each section:
Hospital – enfermo(a), médico, enfermera (They are all women in the game. You can point out that many nurses are enfermeros)
Viviendas – casa, sala, apartamentos, puerta
Iglesia – Dios, orar
Edificios – casa, apartamento, puerta (this description is also part of viviendas)
Calles y Avenidas – caminos, automoviles, acera
Plaza – árboles, estatua
Escuela – amigos, maestros
Carros y autobuses – medios de tranporte, lugar
– After listening to the explanations (not all at once), associate key words with the part of the city. You can do this by putting the key words on cards and sorting them into piles, or using pictures and sorting them. With pictures it is obviously very easy – the idea is to use the vocabulary aloud. You can also make a traditional matching activity on a worksheet.
– Associate activities with parts of the city. Use simple sentences like these and let your child tell you where you need to go. You can also create a character and do this in the third person. Have a picture so that your child can answer by pointing.
– Estoy cansada. Quiero dormir en mi cama.
– Quiero ir a visitiar un amigo. No tengo carro. La casa de mi amigo está lejos de mi casa.
– Necesito aprender a leer.
– No me siento bien. Estoy enferma.
– Quiero estar afuera. Quiero sentarme en el sol.
– Quiero pasear por la ciudad.
– Quiero practicar mi religión. Quiero rezar.
– List key words orally and have kids guess which part of the city you are describing. Have a picture of the different parts of the city available so that kids can answer by pointing.
– Give simple oral descriptions in Spanish, similar to the ones in the game, and have kids guess you what part of the city you are describing. Use pictures, so that kids can answer by pointing.
– Ask comprehension questions based on the information in the game. The questions can be answered yes-no, offer a choice, or ask for information, based on the level of the children.
– As a class, write similar descriptions of other buildings and parts of cities, such as el banco, el parque, la comisaría de policía. Identify key words first.
This would be a good activity for students in Spanish I or II in many traditional secondary programs.