Review Game for Spanish Class: El Toro

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Everyone loves a good review game, and this is one of my students’ favorites! I call this fast-paced verb trading game “El Toro”. It’s based off of a card game some friends introduced me to awhile ago and once I played it I knew I had to try it with my students. I often describe it to my students as “Go Fish, but everyone fishes at once”. There’s no sitting and waiting in this game! It’s the perfect review game for Spanish class.

El Toro

Set Up

It is very similar to Spoons or Cucharas in the set up. You need a set of cards with all the verb forms (yo, tú, usted, etc) you want to review, and one verb for each person playing (ser, tener, etc). Shuffle the cards and deal them out until all of the cards are gone (6 cards/player).

Gameplay

The goal of the game is to collect all of the forms of one verb- for example, “hablo, hablas, habla, hablamos, habláis, hablan”. The dealer starts the round by calling “¡Vamos!”. Players trade matching verbs by calling out the number they are willing to trade (“dos, dos”) and swapping when hey find another player willing to trade. Players can ONLY trade forms of the same verb. So they could trade “hablo” and “habla”, but not “hablo” and “bailo” because those are different verbs.

Winning

The round ends when someone has collected all the forms of the verbs, stands up, and says “¡El Toro!”. They then have to prove it to the other players by reading off all the forms of their collected verb. This step is important!! Sometimes they get so caught up in trading that they miss one or misread something.  It also reinforces the verb forms you want them to review. This ends the round. I usually tell my students the winner is the first student to win a certain number of rounds, but they often get so into it it doesn’t even matter. As soon as a round ends, they shuffle up, and go again!

I hope I explained that clearly! Let me know if you have any questions. I like to teach my students both Cucharas and El Toro early in the year, and then let them choose which game to play during review times.

I have several sets of cards with the instructions and materials required for both games available here!

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                          El Toro / Cucharas | SrtaSpanish

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12 thoughts on “Review Game for Spanish Class: El Toro

  1. This sounds GREAT!! However, I am confused about the actual playing of the game. Do the all play at once? Do they take turns like Go Fish? What does the (“dos, dos”) thing mean? Sorry I’m confused. I’m a visual learner. Thanks

    1. Yes! They all play at once. Everyone is calling out the number of cards they have available to trade – so if they have two cards they should be saying “dos, dos” until they find another person who is also looking to trade two cards, then they swap. Everyone is swapping and trading all at the same time! This video may be helpful to see a similar game in action:

  2. Do they have to collect subject pronouns too or just the 6 forms of the verb? Looks fun! Thanks for sharing it!

  3. So technically they are never actually conjugating out loud. All they are doing is saying the number of cards they want to trade and in their minds they have to make sure that they have all the conjugations in the cards they have in their hands?
    I’m intrigued…

    1. Right! They don’t conjugate out loud – which cards they have is actually a secret because if other people know what they are collecting they’ll try and keep them from winning..

      I do have my students read their winning set out loud – I tell them to prove it! That way they are hearing conjugations out loud, and you can make sure they are correct in their conjugating.

  4. Thanks for sharing! My family loves to play Pit- I never thought of creating a language game out of it.
    Have you ever played using vocabulary categories, or another way to group words?

  5. I love this idea but even after reading the other comments I don’t understand. If you can’t trade say hablo for bailo, how do you ever end up with one complete set of verbs?

    1. Thanks for asking! This game can be hard to explain without a physical demonstration, so I’m glad you asked. They can trade 1 for 1 of whatever verb, but you can’t trade mixed sets – so you couldn’t trade away hablo & bailo for two other cards. I hope that helps clarify!

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