STANDARDS: Communication 1.1, 1.2, Connections 3.1


Language: Any language.

Proficiency Level: Beginning, Intermediate

Brief description of the activity: Show students a map of the world and introduce the countries' names. Then show students an individual picture of selected countries and give a short talk on each. Students create a vocabulary list and then label an empty map with the countries and a short description of each one based on what they learned.


  1. Students will be able to name and describe world nations in the target language.
  2. Students will be able to identify the gender of country names (if necessary).
  3. Students will be able to assess how well they have accomplished a task in order to make improvements for the future.

Language focus: Listening, Reading, Vocabulary, Grammar

Materials: a large world map, individual pictures of selected countries; index cards, each with a country's name on it; fly swatters


  1. Introduce the content
    Explain to the students that they are going to create their own vocabulary list based on today's presentation. Introduce the names of the countries you have selected, have students repeat the vocabulary words as you point to the country on the world map. (Arabic, French, and Spanish teachers might begin by limiting their talk to Arabic, French, and Spanish-speaking countries, respectively.) Show the students a symbolic picture for each selected country (e.g. a pyramid for Egypt, the Eiffel Tower for France, a bull fight for Spain). Then say something about the picture and emphasize the name of the country.
  2. Introduce and model the learning strategy
    Place the pictures on the board. Model the strategy evaluate by testing your knowledge of the names of the countries. With the help of the students, match the pictures with the vocabulary cards with the names of the countries and then place each word under its picture. Check your work to make sure you have the correct answers. Explain that you always evaluate your work before handing it in. Explain that evaluating your work is also helpful for doing a better job on future tasks.
  3. Practice
    Using their vocabulary list, have learners label an empty map with the countries and a short description of each one based on what they learned. Have them check their work in several ways. For example, have them read over their work once, refer to an atlas or confer with a classmate to make sure they have the answers.


  1. As a warm-up the next day, ask students to write five sentences with one vocabulary word in each sentence, one sentence on each index card. The teacher collects the cards and leads the class in the same game as above, but with a variation. The teacher reads the sentences on the cards, omitting the vocabulary words. Students have to guess the missing word.
  2. Provide learners with some ideas for self-evaluation such as editing, rereading and comparing your outline to your finished product. Encourage them to do this on a variety of upcoming tasks. Remind learners to always evaluate their own work before turning it in.

Teacher Resources (to help teacher enhance activity):
The teacher can find appropriate illustrations in the Microsoft Gallery and ClipArt.

Adapted from an activity submitted by Françoise Vandenplas, Montgomery County Public Schools.