How Do You Teach Clothes and Colors Vocabulary in Spanish and French?
The biggest challenge when teaching vocabulary is having enough activities to provide students with sufficient language in context. In this post, I’ll show you how I teach the clothes and colors vocabulary in Spanish and French, and I’ll share 14 activities with you. I’ll even give you a FREE La ropa y los colores Interactive Notebook Activity and worksheets, a FREE La ropa Google Drive Activity, and a link to a free video in French.
I have found over and over that students are never ready to produce as soon as I think they should. They just haven’t heard or seen the vocabulary often enough in context. For me to provide them with sufficient comprehensible input, I need to have a TON of different activities to keep things interesting. In other words, I need to do the same thing many different ways.
I can’t keep showing students my Spanish Clothing PowerPoint and having them repeat after me. It would be super boring for them and for me. So, variety is important.
And the ORDER in which I teach is also crucial. Recognition always comes before production. However, I can’t just spend an entire day speaking to students or providing input. After 15 minutes, they would hear, “Waa Waa Waa.” As soon as students learn a few words, they must DO something with them so the language sticks and they are engaged in the process. Then, I cycle back to those same words.
So, teach in small chunks, engage students immediately, reteach the same vocabulary in context. And there are MANY ways to teach the clothing and colors in context.
HOW DO YOU TEACH THE CLOTHES AND COLORS VOCABULARY IN CONTEXT?
Here is the order in which I teach the Spanish or French clothing and colors vocabulary. These activities cover about eight days.
- First, I give the students the list of the vocabulary words for clothing, colors, and related language, in the target language so they have that for reference.
2. Then, I show them a PowerPoint with beautiful visuals and photos of clothing. Students repeat the words after me. I show about seven words at a time, because the brain can’t handle too many words at a time. (I’ve heard 15 new words a day is max. Oops! I don’t do that but I always cycle back.)
3. Then, I check for understanding by asking either/or questions: ¿Es una camiseta o un traje? C’est une chemise ou un chemisier ? This way, they are hearing the correct pronunciation.
4. Then, I have students fill out an interactive notebook activity on the clothes and colors vocabulary. Hands-on activities always keep students engaged and learning. They answer the question, “¿Qué ropa llevas?” or, “Qu’est-ce que tu portes ?” Students write the word in Spanish or French by the drawing of the item of clothing. Here is a FREE La ropa Interactive Notebook Activity.
5. Then, I show more of the PowerPoint on the clothes and colors vocabulary, introducing related expressions such as, “Le queda bien. No le queda bien. Es muy barato. Es caro. Está de moda. Hay descuento, ropa a bajo precio. ¿Qué lleva?” The images make the meaning of the words obvious, and students are hearing the words in context.
6. Next, with PowerPoint, I show the colors and teach masculine, feminine, plural: blanco, blanca, blancos. I describe the clothing people are wearing in complete sentences, so students internalize the “rightness” of the color following the item of clothing. “Lleva un vestido verde.”
7. And, of course, after about 12 descriptions, students must, again, DO something with their new knowledge.
I DO, THEY HELP.
I say the item of clothing, they say or write the color. Ella lleva un vestido VERDE. Then, they write the item and the color. Elle lleva UN VESTIDO VERDE. I often have them write on their white boards.
HOW DO YOU MAKE THE LESSON INTERESTING?
8. Students still need WAY more input. So, I bring in a huge suitcase full of clothing. I make sure every item on their list is in the suitcase. As I am taking out the items, I describe each one including the color and the plurals. Es una blusa azul. Me gustan los zapatos rojos. C’est une jolie robe.
9. I put on a shirt that is WAY too big on me and ask, “¿Me queda bien?” I try it on students in the class and ask, “¿Le queda bien?”
10. I go around and describe what students are wearing. (THEY LOVE THAT!) I even get volunteers.
11. Then, I check for understanding again by having students look at the images and complete the description with the item and the color, writing it on their white boards.
FUN ACTIVITIES TO TEACH CLOTHING IN SPANISH OR FRENCH
12. The following listening activity is super fun for students. They LOVE to color and this is great comprehensible input. I hand out a worksheet with drawings of clothing without colors. Using a script, I describe the clothes and students must find the correct article of clothing and color it as I describe it. This is a great way to provide repetition in context. For homework, students describe the articles of clothing, writing the word and color in Spanish or French.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE SOMEONE’S CLOTHES IN SPANISH OR FRENCH? MORE COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT
13. I show the following video in Spanish. (This is just a preview.) Students get to see and hear native speakers talk about what they are wearing and what they are going to buy. The video has subtitles, so students also read the words as they are saying them.
Here’s a cute one in French by Alain LeLait: Les vêtements
Students only watch for exposure the first time.
14. Then, I talk about the clothes in the suitcase again, taking them out one at a time, trying a few on me and asking if they fit or not.
15. Students watch the video again, then fill out the corresponding activities.
16. I play BINGO with the students. (They BEG me to play bingo. It’s super fun for them and great CI.) I read a script of complete sentences and they put their button on the item described. I also have digital versions.
17. I assign the following project: Students are to find clothes from a magazine (hard copy) or online (PowerPoint submission). They are to begin with, “Cuando voy a la escuela, llevo…/ Cuando voy a la playa, llevo,” etc and describe the clothing of the models in each of six situations. They must include the colors. Of course, I pass around several exemplary projects, so they know what an A looks like. I also give them a rubric.
TIME FOR PRODUCTION
18. COMPETITION: I divide the class into two, boys against girls, if there are about the same number of each. I give each student a number. I tell students (in the TL, of course) to describe the clothing, including the colors of the people in the PowerPoint. I show the slide and call a number. The first one to correctly describe the clothing in a complete sentence wins the points (one point for the item of clothing, one for the color). “¿Qué lleva Paco? Qu’est-ce que Pierre porte ?”
19. LA ROPA PAIRED SPEAKING ACTIVITY: I put students into pairs with A / B questions. They answer each other’s questions according to the drawings. They must also say how much each item of clothing costs to practice the numbers. ¿Qué lleva María? Cuánto cuesta?”
20. I ask students questions about their own clothing habits: What clothing do you wear to school? What do you wear in the summertime? Where are there lots of discounts? What is your favorite store? What is the teacher wearing today? What color is the American flag? Does my sweater fit Ángela? Etc. We have a conversation about clothing.
FUN ACTIVITIES IF YOU HAVE TIME
21. I assign Google Drive Activities that begin with recognition and end with production. I always get 100% student participation! Students LOVE moving things around. Here is a FREE La ropa Google Drive Activity.
22. Another activity guaranteed to get tons of student engagement is this digital escape room. It begins with recognition and ends with student production. Students play in pairs. As they look for Ana’s shoes so she can go to the dance, they match clothing to sentences, put a puzzle together, watch a video, and describe clothing. Here is the link to the Breakout Room: La ropa Digital Escape Room
23. If your students don’t have to stay six feet apart, here is a fun activity for practicing the colors that gets students out of their seats. Teacher Janis Antonek is the author. She says,
Spanish One is showing me they have learned their colors. We are in a circle. Two competitors step in and a third student calls out the colors (rojo, amarillo, rojo, azul, morado, rojo, etc.) and the two students scramble to see who gets to the color first. Almost everyone was willing to work on comprehension. A few were ready to call out the vocabulary.
I hope you have found a few fun activities for teaching the clothes and colors vocabulary in Spanish or French. Also, if you need some fun ideas for teaching the Spanish numbers, check out this blog post: How to Make Learning Spanish Numbers Fun
If you would rather not create all these resources yourself, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. I’ve already done it for you! Get them here: La ropa PowerPoint and Curriculum
If you hate writing lesson plans or would like to have a more balanced life, the clothing lesson plans are part of the “Spanish One Lesson Plans and Curriculum for an Entire Year.” Teach, correct, go home. Take a look!
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