What’s a Glyph?
Glyphs have become popular in elementary classrooms as a way for students to practice reading and data visualization skills in a fun way. The idea is that students create their own unique "glyph" or visualization, based on their individual responses to given prompts. Here are some examples of all sorts of glyphs made by elementary students, from Kids Count 1234.
|Haunted House Glyphs by Elementary Students from KidsCount1234.com|
Students’ glyphs make an adorable bulletin board and many elementary teachers then use the glyphs to help students practice interpreting data and graphing - as students count student responses for given prompts and then display the results in a graph. I’ve found that glyphs actually have a place middle and high school foreign language classes too.
This turkey glyph slide share is an excellent outline of how students could be guided through the process of making a glyph. It would be super easy to translate this to Spanish, too.
Glyphs in the Foreign Language Classroom
I love using glyphs for foreign language students as a fun but meaningful reading activity, which also can also be used to prompt target language conversation after the glyphs are made. Plus, just like in elementary classrooms, these make a beautiful bulletin board. I’ve enjoyed using them for Día de Muertos, Día de Acción de Gracias, La Navidad, y San Valentín. I sell these in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, but the activity will be relatively easy to put together on your own.
|My Spanish Thanksgiving Glyphs|
Glyphs are a great way to give students lots of comprehensible input. They are also fun for holidays as a break for students from our typical instruction patterns. On those crazy school days like Halloween, the day before Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, etc. this is an easy activity that will keep students engaged in the target language but doing something a little more low key and fun. They’d also be a fun extra credit activity, fast finisher activity, or even a substitute teacher activity. To make mine feel less "elementary", I created a full page "legend" which students read through to identify what colors to use on a simple coloring sheet. For the coloring sheet, I found cute black lined clipart that was holiday themed and just added numbers to different sections for students to color.
|My Spanish Thanksgiving Glyph Handouts|
Interpret Spanish questions and identify appropriate responses that are true for you individually.
Students are given a Spanish language “legend” and a glyph coloring sheet. They read the prompts in the legend and identify which answer(s) are most accurate for them. They then find the corresponding part of the glyph for each prompt #. They use the color that matches their answer to color that section of the glyph. At the end, each student has a unique glyph that visually represents their answers to the prompts.
- Markers, crayons, and/or colored pencils in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black
- Dictionaries or dictionary apps
- Copies of handouts for each student
* I avoid copying double sided, so students don’t have to flip back and forth between the legend and the glyph coloring sheet.
I take a full class period for this activity, so about 55 minutes. That way students aren't rushed and its a relaxing, fun experience, as I intend it!
STEP 1. I display the vocabulary list, objectives, and directions on my projector throughout the whole activity (but you could also print one for each student).
STEP 2. Distribute copies of the glyph coloring sheet and legend for each student.
STEP 3. Before letting them start independently, we go over any vocabulary (e.g., “pavo”, “día de acción de gracias”), color words, and instructions.
When I wrote the "legend", I intentionally created some items to say, “use all colors that apply”. This makes the activity a little more fun and complicated. Sometimes there isn't one true answer for the questions you pose, so its nice for students to have more than one option.
I also encourage students to do decorations (polka dots, stars, stripes, etc.) with the colors, rather than just coloring in solid shades, if they want. Look at my pavo example above to see what I mean.
When students finish coloring:
- Consider sharing students’ glyphs with the class on your document cam.
- Ask the questions verbally about a given glyph, and have students infer responses about the “artist” based on the colors drawn. Can they guess who’s glyph it is?
- Consider a subsequent activity in which each student is assigned a classmate’s glyph. Using the legend, they decode the color choices to write sentences describing the “artist”. They could also present a verbal description of the “artist” in small groups / pairs, or even record a spoken narration describing their assigned “artist”.
- These make a beautiful bulletin board!