Graphic organizers help students see connections. For language learners, they also provide important support as they build sentences. Spanish vocabulary graphic organizers pull together words related to a theme, so that students can express their ideas.
One of the Spanish vocabulary graphic organizers that I have found to be especially helpful is the Are-Have-Can structure. It is often referred to in English as Can-Have-Are, but for my students it is easier to start by describing something and then consider what it can do.
I use Spanish vocabulary graphic organizers in the Are-Have-Can format as often as possible because they reinforce high frequency verbs. In fact, the verbs are as important to me as the theme vocabulary.
You can find many general printable graphic organizers in this post: Spanish Graphic Organizers. Also, Colorín Colorado’s article on using graphic organizers with ELLs is helpful, and many of the ideas apply to Spanish language learners too. If you are interested in more sentence building activities, see Sentence Building in Spanish: La Casa.
The Spanish vocabulary graphic organizers below are for themes I teach, such as plants and trees, community helpers, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Check out more tree activities in Spanish and my favorite Spanish community helper songs. Find Spanish Halloween activities and Thanksgiving activities in Spanish to compliment the bat and turkey graphic organizers.
Adapting Spanish Vocabulary Graphic Organizers
I adapt the traditional Are-Have-Can organizer in a couple of ways. The first is to include additional high-frequency verbs if they fit the theme and are appropriate for the level of the group. You may be able to include decir or estar (for location) with some themes, for example.
The more significant change I make to Spanish vocabulary graphic organizers is to provide a word bank. This is not necessary with all groups, but often it allows students to work with words they can recognize but could not have produced. With the support of the vocabulary, they can concentrate on sentence building. This is an effective, structured way to use the words in the context of the theme.
I always add extra blanks so there is room to include more student ideas. In addition, I encourage students to add information to the vocabulary in the word bank. For example, in the graphic organizer about turkeys, the word patas is in the word bank, but I ask ¿Cuántas patas tienen los pavos? if they don’t mention the number.
Using Spanish Vocabulary Graphic Organizers
Completing Spanish vocabulary graphic organizers is an excellent language activity in itself. Again, depending on your class, you can fill in the graphic organizer as a large group or students can work in pairs or small groups.
Once a graphic organizer is complete, it is the perfect support for writing or speaking tasks. You can ask questions based on the content as a class or in small groups. Students can write paragraphs by organizing and combining the information. They can also make an illustration or poster and present information to the class.
Are-Have-Can Spanish Vocabulary Graphic Organizers
These graphic organizers are for themes I have done with my students. I have included downloads without the word bank too. That way, you can add words that fit your lessons or have students generate all the content. If you don’t add a word bank, the space is great for student drawings!
Spanish vocabulary graphic organizers are a useful tool for learners at all levels. Are-Have-Can organizers provide practice with high-frequency verbs and word banks give support for using new vocabulary in context. Once complete, the graphic organizers make speaking and writing tasks easier and more fun. Let us know how you use graphic organizers in your class!