The day after the students are allowed to select a Spanish name, we discuss gender. I over generalize and don’t mention the fact that all nouns have a gender, we just focus on boys and girls names. I have done this the last two years and it has been successful. Months after the fact they were still able to give the over simplistic masculine is ‘o’ and feminine is ‘a’ explanation.
I had all the students with names that ended in O or A bring their name tag up and lined up in the front of the room. I asked the class what the similarity between the boys names and girls names was. The students made the deduction that boys names generally end in ‘o’ and girls names generally end in ‘a.’ Yes, I realize there are irregulars and nouns that don’t fit in either category – but compared to previous years when they did not know the general rule – I am ok with it for now.
A big hit was the Dust Bin game – linked below through the image. I entered 93 random Spanish names and as a class using the Interactive Whiteboard they had to drag the name either into Los Chicos or Las Chicas. I had every student go twice, we didn’t actually use all 93 names. There were names that did not follow the ‘o’ or ‘a’ rule – but they were good discussion points. The students liked the fact that Juan is Spanish for John or Raquel is Rachel.