Authentic Audio: Physical Descriptions

Two of my favorite resources for audio are Audio Lingua and Spanish Proficiency Exercises. Each of these sites has audio organized by topic, so it is easy to find something that works with your unit. Since Spanish Proficiency Exercises includes transcripts with the videos, it is very easy to create cloze activities to go with the audio.

I’ve been using a simple cloze activity with this set of videos for years, but I changed the activity around bit this time and was quite pleased with the result.


Cloze, sequencing, and comprehension questions all in one. 

Since my students each have a brand new laptop (we are finally 1:1! HOORAY!), I posted the audio on Schoology and let them complete the activities independently (both Audio Lingua and Spanish Proficiency Exercises include download links). We did a practice run as a whole class with the script for Deysibeth projected on the board, and then I set them loose to complete the rest of it on their own or with a partner. I haven’t tried doing audio activities independently very often in the past, so I was pleasantly surprised to notice that my students not only interacted with the audio more, playing it over and over again in an attempt to catch the deleted words, but were so much more engaged than they are when we do audio as a whole class. I also think adding the sequencing activity worked well, as it was easier than the cloze and gave students a sense of success. And, as always when using audio from native speakers, I love how this exposes students to different voices, different accents and rhythms of speech, as well as a wider variety of vocab (ojos pardos, bajito, peludo…the list goes on).

Here is the link to the activity if you would like to use it. The videos are linked above, as well as at the bottom of the activity.

Posted in Sp 1 Unit 2: Who am I?, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Back to School, Year 7

Hello Everyone! Happy back to school! I am on my second full week and am really enjoying my students. This semester I have three sections of Spanish 1 on a block schedule and am really liking this one prep thing! In this post I want to share a few things I’m loving this (seventh!) back to school season:

New Bulletin Boards

IMG_20160815_163549I finally put up a cute Boggle bulletin board (I’ve had it pinned about two years) as well as a cognate board. My Boggle board is modeled off of Señora Dentlinger, and you can download the files for my cognate board here and here.

IMG_20160815_163038 A second bookcase – student supplies

As you can see above, I now have two bookcases in my classroom. I didn’t really have a good place to permanently store supplies for students last year, so I am loving this extra storage space.


Top shelf: Signs with our school’s theme for the year, in a place students will see them. Second shelf: glue, hole puncher, scissors, and turn-in boxes. Third shelf: Writing utensils – markers, extra pens and pencils, pencil sharpeners, colored pencils, and crayons. Fourth Shelf: mini white boards and markers on the left, extra handouts on the right Fifth shelf: Dictionaries.

The make up work box


The make-up work/extra handouts box is a black crate I bought at walmart last year. Did you know these crates are exactly the right size for hanging folders? They fit a standard hanging folder short-ways, and a legal size folder long-ways. In the past I have tried make up work boxes with folders for days or weeks, but it quickly became disorganized. So far, unit folders have been easy for me to maintain (ok, I’m only on the first unit) and won’t require re-filing until the end of the semester. Having a designated place for extra handouts has really helped me with keeping my room tidy, as well as when students ask me about make up work (am I the only teacher who can’t remember what I taught yesterday?).


IMG_20160815_063222IMG_20160801_180106Lularoe is a home sales clothing line, similar to Avon or Mary Kay. I love their clothes because they are modest, comfortable and cute, and make getting dressed on those early school mornings so much easier. My favorite pieces are the maxi skirt, the Nicole dress (green dress pictured above), and the Amelia dress (black and white pictured above-  my favorite because it has pockets!) If you need some good back-to-school clothes, I’d be glad to point you to some awesome Lularoe shopping groups on Facebook.

This guy


On a personal note, meet my fiancee! Daniel and I will be getting married next March🙂


Happy back to school! What are you loving this August?

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¿Con quién se queda el perro?

In celebration of teacher appreciation week, I treated myself to a shopping spree on TPT today. Among my purchases was this song bundle from Kristy Placido. In the bundle, I came across activities for Jesse and Joy’s ¿Con quién se queda el perro? As soon as I read the lyrics I knew I wanted to use this song, today! It could fit in the curriculum so many different ways – with the family unit? with Brandon Brown Quiere Un Perro? When you teach ir, poder, querer?  (I happen to teaching Realidades Chapter 4a which includes a focus on the verb ir, as well as question words including ¿Con quién? so this song was so perfect!) In the bundle, Kristy included a story based on the events in the song/video. I decided to start with the story, as it was a good opportunity to provide input and support for understanding the lyrics. I made a slideshow with screen shots from the video to comprehensify the story. (I also made a Quizlet set with some key words from the song, but didn’t end up using it today. Maybe tomorrow?)

I followed the basic story frame from Kristy’s activities (go buy it! it’s worth it!), but simplified a bit to make it comprehensible to my students. After the story, I gave students a handout with a summary of the story. On the board, I projected a number of small pictures (mostly video screenshots) with a letter next to each one, and students matched each picture to one of the sentences. After that, we finally listened to the song and watched the whole video* (they had figured out it was a video after seeing the red youtube bar on the bottom of one of the pictures), and completed the cloze exercise from Kristy’s bundle. Students were interested and engaged throughout the lesson, and really seemed to enjoy both the story and the song. Gracias, Kristy!

*Note: There are about 3 seconds of suggestive scenes in the video which may not be appropriate for your students or school culture. 

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Five for Friday: Things I’m grateful for this week

Sometimes it’s hard to maintain a good attitude so close to the end of the year, as kids are getting ever more squirrelly and standardized testing looms. I want to take a moment to focus on the positive and share a few successes from the week. So, with no further ado, here are some things I’m feeling grateful for today:

  1. Zombie Sub plans from Martina Bex.  I had to be absent yesterday and was looking through my files for something easy (for me) to leave for Spanish 1. I bought these plans two years ago and they were perfect. It is so nice to have something ready made! Worth. every. penny.
  2. Mrs. Hill: Can I just pause and say I’m thankful for my sub? She was a dream. The kids liked her, she made them work, and she used the checklist I left her and marked off who turned in their work, with helpful notes like absent or a percentage and exactly what they completed and didn’t complete. I hate spending my time grading completion assignments, but I ALWAYS take a grade for sub work because I don’t want my students slacking off while I’m gone. This made it so easy to assign classwork grades and quickly enter them in Power School.
  3. Being organized enough to leave a sub binder:20160429_135741

    I never miss work, so I didn’t already have my sub binder put together, but I was able to assemble one quickly on Wednesday with my schedule, instructions for the sub, and dividers for each class with the roster and seating chart. I asked Mrs. Hill to hole punch the students’ work and put it in the appropriate section of the binder, so when I came back to work today, there weren’t piles of papers all over my desk – just one neat binder.

  4. DRESS DOWN TICKETS. The relay for life team is selling dress down tickets good for the REST OF THE YEAR! It’s the little things, y’all, and I sure am grateful to be able to wear jeans all of May!
  5. Reflection. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to post my lesson reflections on this blog, because I don’t want to share something that makes me look silly and stupid! But I think reflection is important, so since spring break, I’ve challenged myself to write something in my planner everyday about how my classes we did. Usually it’s a list of activities and a sentence or two reflection – nothing too long! – but just enough so that I’ll have something to look back on when I teach these units next year.
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#FridayBeforeSpringBreak: Game Day!

Or, alternatively, how to ace your observation with minimal prep on the day before a break🙂

With the high absenteeism typical for the day before a break, today was the perfect day to pull out my collection of games! I divided students into groups of four or five and after a brief intro, gave each group one of the following games to play. I walked around, answered questions, and played along! It was the perfect #fridaybeforespringbreak.🙂

The games:

  1. As, Dos, Tres.  – a counting game I learned in Costa Rica, kind of like War or ERS.
  2. Pensante – a few years ago a friend gave me a copy of Pensante, which is basically Spanish scrabble. I handed the game to one group along with a stack of dictionaries. I let them make up their own rules from there (trading letters, taking as many as they wanted, hunting for words in the dictionary…) as long as they played words in Spanish.
  3. Lotería – I found a couple of sets of Lotería in the department’s supply closet last May. What??? Why aren´t these being used? Well, I opened one up and realized it was probably because some of the pictures aren’t quite school appropriate – El borracho? El negrito? And really, La sirenita, would it be too much to put some sea shells on? So I cut up a few cards and taped them back together until I had 10 school appropriate lotería cards, and Voila! a station🙂
  4. Verba – I have one “real” set and one print & play set I printed, laminated, and laboriously cut apart during post planning last summer at our local Teacher’s Resource Center. My students really enjoyed it! I just told them it was like Spanish Apples to Apples or Cards against humanity, and they took it from there. I used it in two big groups yesterday in Spanish 1 after my students finished a test, but I think it was even better in the small groups (4-5) that we did today.

    Big groups for Verba in Spanish 1

  5. Spot it – I started class today previewing spot it vocab with this set on Quizlet. I printed out some flash cards and had students cut them into a matching game, we ran through a few rounds of Scatter, and played some Quizlet live. Then I called a representative from each group and demo’d with them how to play. So fun! I gave the game to one group, along with a print out of the vocab from Quizlet. They were really into it!

These pictures do not adequately convey the intensity of this game!

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Weekend Chat Speed Dating

My students are not so good at participating in whole- class discussions, so I try to find different ways talk about our weekends each Monday. I wrote about several of these ideas last fall, and today I want to add one more: Weekend Chat speed dating. Click here for my handout.

For the warm up, I had students fill out the top part of the handout:

Screenshot 2016-03-28 12.34.55

Then, we arranged the desks into rows like this:


Students asked each other the questions and recorded their answers in the boxes below. Every three to four minutes, one row rotated so everyone got a new partner. I liked how many reps of hiciste they got, as well as repetitions of their own favorite weekend activities, and exposure to the verbs their partners chose to use. I also pushed students to add details – Ok, so you slept. How long? At what time? Until when? We talked about the  grammar a little bit (we’ve been working on the preterite awhile), and I asked them to record their partner’s responses in the he/she form. I felt like the activity dragged on a little too long, but it could easily be shortened by cutting down on the questions or the number of partner rotations.

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Reading Instruction in the TL: Menú Vips


My grad school course this semester is all about TL reading instruction. It’s fascinating! Our big project this semester is to put together a thematic unit with reading lessons for four different authentic resources. I finished my first lesson last week and I would like to share it with you all! For my first lesson, I decided to use the children’s menu from the Mexican restaurant chain Vips. You can find it here on their website, or here in PDF. I taught this lesson to my Spanish 1 students  after spending 2 days introducing food vocabulary. The activities include a gallery walk, two videos (to provide context for the restaurant), vocabulary activities, and currency conversion activities. It took me two 80 minute blocks to complete the whole sequence. I hope you (and my professor!) like it🙂 I actually recorded my class on day 1, so if you are interested in seeing the video (I taught 90%+ in Spanish!), please send me an email and I’d be glad to share the video with you as well.

Screenshot 2016-03-28 15.53.38

Lesson Plan

Student Activity Sheet

Posted in Ideas by topic, Sp 1 Unit 5: ¿Qué te gusta comer? | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment