Looking for meaningful ways to help students put their language skills into action? This web site from Chile, El Libro Verde de los Niños, includes instructions in simple language (lots of informal commands, basic vocabulary) for projects, experiments and environmental audits of home and school.
Click on Manos a la Obra to find steps to make a solar shower, plant a box garden, make a bird feeder, write a letter and even conduct simple experiments to test car emissions and soil quality. Although the web site is written for younger children, high school age students should have fun interpreting the directions, creating projects and later describing them. Another idea: As a class students could create one of the above projects from the web site as a “model” and then in small groups use their own ideas to write instructions and create visuals for an original project using the grammatical strategies you’re working on (such as informal commands, present tense, future tense or the subjunctive, etc). Then the groups could exchange their instructions and make each other’s project!
Another useful part of the web site is the Auditoría Ambiental, where students can take multiple choice “tests” to inventory their homes, school and shopping habits for best practices in sustainability. Activity ideas: *Students can “tweak” the questions to fit their own school, then survey students in other Spanish classes and/or Spanish-speaking members of your school community. *Students can debate particular suggestions and ideas in the surveys as to their effectiveness or debate whether or not the changes (or any changes to improve sustainability) are worth the effort.