Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Odd Uses for Marshmallows

When a new semester begins in January, I am assured of one thing: Some students come directly to my class from the previous level, and others in the class have not had the previous level for a year or more.

My goal is to make sure ALL the students feel successful from the very first day, even if it has been more than a few months since they have been in Spanish class.

This semester I chose to ease my students into Spanish 4 by using El Cacto y el Banco activities created by Paige which Carrie Toth shared on her blog. You can find the activities HERE. It includes a link to the advertisement, a powerpoint, a cloze activity, and screenshots for a retell.  

I liked the activities and I was looking for one more detail to add student voice for an opportunity to let students be creative.  The most obvious "detail" was...the marshmallow.

I bought a bag of marshmallows (less than $1) and passed the bag around the class so students could each take one. Then I asked them to think of unconventional uses for marshmallows and share their idea (in Spanish, of course) with the class. (This ties into the video because the little girl uses the marshmallow in a creative way to resolve a problem.)

Some of the student ideas:  
- use it for a pillow for ants
- put one over your nose when you're swimming to block water from entering your nose
- make comfy shoes
- put between your toes when painting your toe nails (one of my personal favorite ideas. I told students there was an extra point waiting for the first student to send me a photo of this idea in action.)
- create earrings 

Obviously, this wasn't a traditional activity, but it was successful because:
1. ALL students were engaged - they were busy trying to think of something creative and were enjoying listening to their classmates' ideas
2. Students were creating with the language.
3. Students were exposed to some words they hadn't seen before in Spanish (ex: pillow, ant)
4. It was a reinforcement to students that learning Spanish can be fun and enjoyable, and the language journey in my classroom will most likely include unpredictable and unconventional methods.
5. Students ATE the marshmallows at the end of the activity.

Thanks to Paige and Carrie for sharing their ideas, which in turn made my prep time for this lesson much easier!    


  1. What a great idea! For homework they could do a snapchat (real or faux) with a Spanish caption. I am thinking the marshmallows between the toes would be a good one!

    1. oohhh, I like this idea. I was hoping one of my students would send me an email of the marshmallows between the toes but that didn't happen. Maybe the next group of students will have someone brave enough and with a sense of humor to do that.

      If you assign the snapchat idea as homework and if you and the student(s) in the pictures are willing to share the photo(s) with captions, I'd love to add the photos to this blog post and with a note that the snapchat idea and photos are from you and from your students. :-)