¡Corre en Círculos! is one of my favorite activities to do with my classes. I use it at least once a chapter. I have mentioned it in a few other blog posts here and here, and I figured it was about time I clarify how this activity works and why I love it so much!
What is it?
¡Corre en Círculos! is an activity that to review or practice with my students. If you have played “I Have Who Has” or “Chain Reaction” it is similar. If you keep them in mind you’ll catch onto this quickly!
The first time I remember doing “I Have Who Has” as a student was in elementary school, in music class. We would do it with rhythms, one student clapping a rhythm and another student clapping it back. I remember liking it when it was my turn, but waiting impatiently and (mildly) inattentively for my turn to come around.
Fast forward about 15 years to teaching high school Spanish. I decided to try a “Chain Reaction” with my classes. As a teacher, I witnessed boredom, stress from my students that were anxious about missing their turn, and impatience. Some students liked it, but the overwhelming reaction was, “Please let’s never, ever do that again.” Okay, clase. Duly noted.
I still liked the idea of one thing “triggering” the next answer or action. I just wanted to figure out a way to make it more active. Thus, ¡Corre en Círculos! was born. It’s not quite the same as “I Have Who Has” or “Chain Reaction” because there’s no speaking or listening involved (although I’m working on an idea that I might test drive this year). It’s more reading and writing based, but there’s also no waiting involved!
How does ¡Corre en Círculos! work?
In the most general way possible, here’s how to do this activity:
- Students can start at any page around the room.
- Read a prompt at the bottom of a starting page.
- Record their answer to the prompt.
- Find their answer on the top of a new page.
- Look at the prompt on the bottom of the new page, record their answer, then find the next sheet.
This continues until students find the prompt that leads them back to where they started (thus Círculo). You can make this circle as big or as small as you want. Most of my activities are 25 prompts, but some are smaller by necessity (Spanish-speaking flags and countries has 22, weather has 9). Depending on how well the students know the material, or how difficult the prompts are, this can take them between 25-40 minutes.
The visual below may help! In this particular activity, students look at an image showing what the weather is like, then describe the image in a sentence.
Students would continue beyond what is shown in the visual, until they reach the picture that illustrates “Hace fresco.” That would lead them back to the beginning, completing the activity.
By the way, you can download this weather activity for yourself here for free!
Variety is the Spice of Life
This activity can work with SO many different topics and concepts. You can do something as straightforward as subject-verb to practice conjugation like I have here with ar, er, and ir present tense verbs.
I like to add multiple levels of prompts for differentiation like I do here with my telling time set – there’s one set of prompts where students interpret the sentence and write the time, and one where they read the time and write how to say it in Spanish. Or, you can add visuals like I did with this demonstrative adjectives set.
My adjective agreement set has “dead ends” built in that redirect students if they make a common error. In this family vocabulary set, they read a short sentence describing a family member and have to figure out who it could be. My Directions Interpretive Activity with QR Codes follows this same concept, only instead of reading the prompt they scan it with a device and follow instructions from there on an interactive map. Seriously, the possibilities are endless.
Now that you get how to use it, I wanted to talk about how I set it up and intro this with my students. Print the file and cut the sheets in half. Tape the sheets in random order around the room – or have your students do it! I travel between rooms so I usually just set the sheets and a few things of tape by the door. Students know they are expected to help with set up by grabbing a sheet or two, then attaching it to an appropriate space on the walls.
The first time I intro this activity to any class, I demo the first few by looking at the prompt and working through that one as a class, then walking to the answer, and showing them how it works. I remind them to look at the prompt on the bottom, write their answer, then find their answer.
Students can start at any piece of paper taped to the walls, and I encourage my classes to spread out because if 10 of them are trying to see one half sheet it’s a little cozy. Often I’ll get little teams of 2-3 working together, and I don’t mind that at all. The conversations are all about what they’re trying to accomplish, discussing how the language works, or searching for their answers together. Other times I’ll get a few individuals who “race” around the loop on their own, trying to beat their classmates. Either way works for me, they’re all into it! I just turn on my favorite Spanish Pandora station and float!
If you would like to download a set with the student answer sheet, answer key, and all the questions and prompts made for you, here are ALL of my ¡Corre en Círculos! activity sets!