Over the years I have found that most of my Spanish students, in all levels, benefit from class activities that involve numbers. Usually what works best, is when they are focused on something other than the numbers! How ironic, right?
In Spanish 4 (students that have had a total of 300 hours in Spanish levels 1-3), I start the semester with a unit called Reconnecting to Spanish. Then the second unit is based on the novel Esperanza, by Fluency Matters, published in 2011. There are many excellent new novels that have been published since then, but the story of Esperanza is very engaging, based on a true story, and very comprehensible for the first book students read in the semester. Some students may have skipped a full school year of having languages, so this book shows them they can successfully read an interesting book in Spanish within weeks of returning to Spanish class!
Since I've been using this books for semesters each year since a while, probably since 2012, I have a long list of additional texts and activities to use. I also have the teacher's guide from Fluency Matters which has supplemental texts about the Mayans. Last spring was the first that I included the FREE lessons and activities in Fluency Matter's Prep4Success unit for Esperanza, materials designed to be used before starting the novel.
However, when I came across a YouTube video by Andrew Snider, of Read to Speak Spanish, I knew it would be a perfect fit.
The Benefits of the Activity:
(1) review numbers,
(2) teach about the Mayan number system (cross-curricular!), and
(3) have students listen to 10+ minutes of a comprehensible explanation in Spanish.
(4) high student engagement
(5) a perfect activity for a Friday AFTER reading a chapter of Esperanza 😊
The Mayan number system is based on sea shells (conches), round circles, and rectangles. You can use large paperclips for the seashells (see the picture on the google slides), bingo chips for the circles, and popsicle sticks for the rectangles. (I wanted pom poms for the circles but, alas, the Dollar Tree didn't have any.)
These are the directions on the first Google Slide.