SER vs. ESTAR can be difficult for students to grasp. Before we get into some of my favorite activities for helping students better understand SER, ESTAR, and the differences between them, here’s a trick I learned from a teacher in my Spanish 1 Teachers Facebook group to help your students remember which is which. Tell them SER = Sharpie and ESTAR = Expo.
“I use a permanent marker and an erasable marker to talk about Ser vs Estar. I do a big presentation where we review examples of using Ser and talk about how Ser is often semi-permanent to permanent traits like where you’re from, what you look like, etc. I tell them, “that reminds me of a permanent marker. Like a Sharpie. Think–Ser-Sharpie! Then we talk about how estar is usually conditional or temporary like the weather and how we’re feeling. We give examples of estar then I say that “the temporary part of that really reminds me of a dry erase marker, like an Expo. Just think: Estar-Expo.” Then I tell the kids that because Estar is temporary, it’s okay for us to write on our desks with Expo markers because they’re easily changed, like when we get in a fight with our friend and our mood changes. That’s why it’s erasable. But remember that Ser isn’t usually as easily changed. That’s why we would *never* write on our desks with a Sharpie (as I write on a desk with a sharpie to their shock and disbelief!). *Pause*”Uh-oh, looks like I used a sharpie on this desk instead of an expo. But remember, just like our hair color can change with an outside force, a Sharpie can be erased too. It’s not always permanent, hence the “semi-permanent” state. (*I use a dry erase marker to draw over the Sharpie and then wipe it clean* Ta da!!!)
🤯 Now that you have a neat way to introduce the lesson, here are 10 activities to help your students practice SER vs. ESTAR.
1. TASK CARDS
Task cards are such a fun, versatile tool. This Spanish SER vs. ESTAR task card set has 48 different cards to get your students up and moving while practicing the verb SER, the verb ESTAR, and when to use each of them. More than just fill-in-the-blank cards, this set has a variety of tasks to help your students with this tricky concept. Students will be engaged as they complete various tasks like conjugating the two verbs, filling in the blank with the correct form of the verb SER or ESTAR based on their understanding of the situation, writing sentences from prompts given, choosing the correct translation from answers given, fixing the incorrect sentence, and stating whether examples (occupation, location, etc.) should use SER or ESTAR.
Not sure how to use task cards in class? 15 ideas are included! You can also check out these blog posts I wrote for Secondary Spanish Space: 10 Task Card Ideas for Spanish Class and 5 (More) Ways to Use Task Cards in Spanish Class.
Click HERE to learn more about these task cards.
Can your students find the Mayan treasure before time runs out?? They will have to work together to solve the 6 puzzles in this themed digital escape room to do so! This engaging escape room was designed to not only give your students a well-rounded review of SER vs ESTAR but also encourage them to think critically as they work their way through the escape room. It’s easy for you to assign and students to navigate. All puzzles are embedded right in the Google Slides or Google Sites escape room. No messing around with a bunch of files! Simply share the links to the escape room and Google Form and students are good to go!
This no-prep activity is self-checking. Students input their answers to the puzzles in a Google Form. If a group’s answer is correct, it will unlock the next question on the Google Form. If a group’s answer is incorrect, a message will pop up telling students they need to try again and giving them a hint. That instant feedback makes your job so much easier!
3. GOOGLE SLIDES
These SER vs. ESTAR digital task cards for Google Slides are for anyone looking to reinforce students’ understanding of SER vs. ESTAR in a fun, interactive way. Students will be engaged and get a great review of SER vs. ESTAR as they work their way through the 50 Google Slides.
Students will be engaged in:
- choosing the correct conjugation charts for SER and ESTAR
- drag and drop conjugation charts for SER and ESTAR
- deciding if a sentence needs SER or ESTAR and then filling in the blank with the correct form
- finding the error in a sentence and correcting it
- multiple-choice questions
- answering questions like “¿Cómo eres?” in complete sentences
Save over 30% on all my fun Google resources for Spanish class with the Spanish Google Activities Mega Bundle.
Click HERE to learn more about these Google Slides.
Save 25% on all my Google Slides with the Spanish Google Slides Mega Bundle.
4. BOOM CARDS
Self-checking AND self-grading? YES, PLEASE! If you are looking for a fun, interactive digital activity for your students to practice SER vs. ESTAR, these no prep SER vs ESTAR Boom Cards are just what you need! Students will be engaged and get a great review of SER, ESTAR, and the differences between them as they work their way through the 50 cards in the deck.
You as a teacher need a free Boom Learning account to use Boom Cards with your students, but your students do NOT need accounts or to log in if you use the Fast Pins option. Simply share a link with them and they click on the link, enter the code, and play the cards. You can still hold students accountable and take advantage of the self-grading feature by having them take a screenshot of the last slide that says complete and their score and send it to you.
See how fun they are for yourself by playing a few cards HERE!
There are more features available with a paid membership like live monitoring and data. If you want data, students will need to log in so you can track them. If they have Google or Microsoft accounts, they can use those credentials to log into Boom. A paid membership is only $25 per year and I think it is worth every penny! I love the data.
Click HERE to learn more about these Boom Cards.
5. TRIVIA GAME
Looking for a super fun, NO PREP activity to review SER, ESTAR, and the differences between the two with your Spanish students? Play this Jeopardy-style trivia game with them! Students will get a well-rounded review of the verbs SER and ESTAR, their uses, and their conjugations while playing this game. Students will be engaged as they work in teams to answer questions in the following categories: ¿SER o ESTAR?, Fill in the blank, ¿Dónde está el error?, Translation, and Un Poco de Todo. In addition to the traditional point value questions that start at $100 and get increasingly more difficult as students work their way up to the $500 questions, there is also a fun ‘Make a Wager’ bonus option for each category that is like Final Jeopardy.
How I like to play:
I put students in teams of 2-3 (three is ideal) and have teams sit together facing the board. Each team needs a mini-whiteboard, dry erase marker, eraser (a tissue works, too), score sheet, and writing utensil. Have one person on the team be the scorekeeper and a different person be the mini whiteboard writer. The scorekeeper needs to write all the group members’ names on the sheet. Once that is done, I ask the class who has the next birthday (or last birthday, is tallest, etc.) and that person gets to choose the first square. From there I go around the room calling on one person from each group until every student has had a chance to pick a square.
When playing, EVERY team answers the question by discussing quietly as a group and writing the answer on their mini whiteboard. I make sure they keep their answer hidden until it is time to share. Once I think all the teams have an answer (or it has been a reasonable amount of time), I give a ”tres, dos, uno” countdown and teams hold up their mini-whiteboards. I then reveal the answer on the screen and points are awarded to the teams who get it correct. Teams are responsible for keeping track of their own points on their score sheet. Honor system!
I play like this so all teams are engaged and getting a good review, not just the one team who picked the question.
Every five questions or so I have students pass materials one person to the left so all students get a chance to keep score and use the ever-popular mini whiteboards, thus no one can ”check out” or be lazy. I find it builds student confidence, too.
Click HERE to learn more about this trivia game.
6. DIGITAL MYSTERY PICTURES
Love super fun, no prep digital activities? If so, then you will love these SER vs. ESTAR mystery pictures! Your Spanish students will get a ton of practice with ser vs. estar, and a dose of culture, as they answer a variety of questions in Google Sheets. Best part? Pixel art activities are self-checking! If a student’s answer is correct, part of the hidden picture of the famous basilica in Barcelona, La Sagrada Família, will be revealed. If a student’s answer is incorrect, the picture will not change. That lets the student know he/she needs to try again. The instant feedback really helps students improve their skills! They love these mystery pictures and so will you!
Click the images below to learn more about these SER vs ESTAR mystery pics.
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7. READING COMPREHENSION DIGITAL MYSTERY PICTURE
Are your students struggling with Spanish reading comprehension and SER vs ESTAR? You need this no-prep digital mystery picture for SER vs ESTAR! Your students will improve their Spanish reading comprehension skills as they read a passage and answer a variety of questions about what they read.
Like the mystery pics above, this Spanish pixel art activity is self-checking! If a student’s answer is correct, part of the hidden picture will be revealed. If a student’s answer is incorrect, the picture will not change. That lets the student know he/she needs to try again. The instant feedback really helps students improve their skills! Students love trying to guess what the picture is as they complete the activity. Hint: it has to do with the story!
Learn more HERE.
8. GOOGLE FORMS ASSESSMENT
Self-grading? Yes, please! This digital SER vs. ESTAR assessment created in Google Forms is self-grading, editable, AND no prep! In addition to using this for a quiz or test, you can also use a Google Form for an exit ticket, formative assessment, choice board, make-up test for absent students, or about a million other things!
Click HERE to learn more about this Google Form.
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9. PRINTABLE SUB PLANS
These printable SER vs ESTAR activities are for anyone looking to improve their Spanish students’ reading comprehension skills and understanding of SER, ESTAR, and the differences between them. There are three print-and-go activities to go along with the comprehensible reading passage for you to choose from: task cards, a crossword puzzle, and worksheets. Talk about an easy sub plan!
Save 20% on all these fun resources with the SER vs ESTAR Activities Bundle! Click HERE to see it.
I hope these ideas for SER vs. ESTAR activities help! If you enjoyed this post, I would love it if you would pin it so others can enjoy it, too! Thanks and have a great day!
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