Help your students to remember the forms and meanings of Spanish reflexive verbs by using some creative and memorable activities and games. Look for ways to help students remember the meaning of new vocabulary; once they have the significance down, you can help them focus on correct forms in various contexts.
Because many of the reflexive verbs lend themselves to physical movements, you can easily hold a game of charades as practice for the various verbs. To prepare for the activity, have students write out the various verbs or phrases on individual note cards, with the English translations on the backsides of the cards. (Having the students write these out will give them additional practice seeing and spelling the words; they can also use the cards for individual study later on.) Take one student's deck and pull out a random card, showing it only to one other student. That student must then mime the action. For example, if you show a card reading "lavarse las manos," the student must mime washing hands.
For a written practice activity, give students worksheets with pictures of people performing various activities. Roughly half of the activities should correspond to reflexive verb phrases. The other half should show situations where you would not use a reflexive verb. For example, you can feature one photograph of a girl washing her face and another of a boy washing his pet dog; the first requires a reflexive verb, while the second doesn't. Have students write out the correct verb, or sentence, below each picture.
Chants and Songs
For creative or musically inclined students, divide the class into groups and have each group create a short chant or song to remember the various reflexive verbs. In order to remember the verbs' meanings, they should decide on a hand gesture to go along with each verse of the chant. Once each group has put together a chant, have the groups each perform for the entire class. Have the students vote on their favorite tune, and sing whatever chant or song is most popular all together at the end of class.
A Reflexive Day
To teach a lot of reflexive verbs within a logical context, provide students with a list of reflexive verbs that are daily activities, such as "despertarse," "levantarse" and "lavarse los dientes" (waking up, getting up and brushing teeth). Have students identify the meaning of each verb by matching it with a picture or writing its English translation in a blank space. Then, have the students put the activities in the order that they perform them each day. To test students' memories, have them put their papers aside and each tell a partner about all their daily reflexive activities.
Danielle Hill has been writing, editing and translating since 2005. She has contributed to "Globe Pequot" Barcelona travel guide, "Gulfshore Business Magazine," "Connecting Lines: New Poetry from Mexico" and "The Barcelona Review." She has trained in neuro-linguistic programming and holds a Bachelor of Arts in comparative literature and literary translation from Brown University.