Ideas by topic, Sp 1 Unit 5: ¿Qué te gusta comer?

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

Sp 1 Unit 5: ¿Qué te gusta comer?

Teaching vocab with CI: Bebidas Edition

I had a grad school seminar this past weekend (aka class aaaallllll weekend) and despite the stress and hassle, I have to say it was very beneficial. My mind is buzzing with ideas for assessment, teaching, and generally with language learning paradigms. My big epiphany from the weekend (don’t judge!): for students to gain any kind of useable proficiency, it is essential to use the language in class! I always start the year out strong with speaking lots of Spanish, but as the semester progresses my TL use has slipped lower and lower.

Today, my goal was to introduce new vocabulary with minimal use of English. My professor advocates for comprehensible input, but furthermore, for not translating vocabulary – no English, ever. This rubbed me wrong a bit in our first seminar – well, I think English is useful for establishing meaning, let’s avoid the guessing games, ACTFL’s recommendation is 90% TL – but I also know that I speak way too much English in class, so I wanted to see how much I could do in Spanish, establishing meaning in other ways. Here’s what I did:

Spanish 1

I’m starting Realidades chapter 3a, which is the food chapter. I decided to start with drinks, mainly because I saw a great demo by Lee Burson and Erin Smith at FLAG a few years ago, which gave me a good idea of how to get lots of reps. I gave them a handout with some glasses and mugs, with lines to write their vocab at the bottom. I modeled on the doc cam, writing the word on the blank, and then coloring the appropriate cup to represent the drink. Throughout, I asked questions, starting with te gusta questions, continuing with ¿Bebes _____ en el desayuno?, comparison questions (¿Prefieres jugo de naranja o jugo de manzana?), and open ended questions – ¿Qué tipo de refresco prefieres? ¿Qué bebes en el almuerzo? I had a plastic apple and orange that helped establish meaning for apple and orange juice, we drew a cow for leche, for refresco I gave brand name examples, and té dulce I gave a quick translation for. Minimal English? Check!  Engaging? Kind of. I really have a great group of kids first period, who put up with the amount of questions I asked with out getting too squirrelly, but it would not work (or at least for not as long) with my 4th block group. After all the listening and sitting still, I gave them a simple survey activity to complete with a few classmates – ¿Bebes _________?/Sí, mucho/a veces/todos los días/No, nunca.  I had to translate the frequency phrases, but they definitely needed a change of pace and this worked well.

drinks 2drinks 1


Las bebidas handout

drinks speaking activity

Spanish 2 to come tomorrow!

Sp 1 Unit 5: ¿Qué te gusta comer?, Teaching Reflections

Writing for Vocab Review

My students had a quiz today, so yesterday I needed an activity to review vocabulary. I thought about using Colleen’s Pictionary idea, but my students frequently disengage during games, particularly in my sleepy first period and wild seventh period. I came up with this activity on the fly, and was able to throw it together in five or ten minutes before class.  Basically, I projected a picture on the board, and asked students to write about it. Here are the rules:

Screenshot 2015-01-15 11.15.06

It’s low prep, and despite being a paper and pencil writing activity – something my students usually complain about – with the carrots of group work, competition, and a PRIZE, engagement was high! Here are some of the images I used:

food images

I offered a point for each word, but double points for sentences. Next time I think I’ll also offer a bonus for each unique transition or connector word – and, but, also, because, with, etc. I set the timer for a minute and a half, and let them count their own points when the timer beeped (I audited if necessary). I typed my own sentences, but hid them behind the picture, so I could quickly reveal my sentences to go over with the class, then hide again to be ready for the next class. It also served to model how to count the points, and groups got really excited when they could beat my point total! Overall, it served the purpose of reviewing vocabulary, but also got students working to create better and better sentences.

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Class Activities, Ideas by topic, Sp 1 Unit 5: ¿Qué te gusta comer?

Authentic Resources: Food

I’m having lots of fun finding #authres for my food unit. They may not all make it into a lesson this year, but here are some of my favorites:


Have you seen this google doc Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell started? It’s full of  links to Spanish-language commercials, with transcripts. I used it to put together this cloze activity for my classes: Food Commercials Clozes

Here are the videos I used:


Sancor Bebe 3

Burger King


Kara Jacobs also has a great collection of videos here.

Spanish Proficiency Exercises:

Oh, how I love this website! Here are the videos on the topic “Mi comida favorita.” We’re getting so much deeper than the textbook vocabulary, with cultural dishes – I can’t wait to talk about el picante de cuy with my students! Here is the activity I made to go with the videos: laits mi comida favorita

La Ogra – Gazpacho

Martina Bex brought this video to my attention last year. You can see the video and find an embedded reading activity here.  I used it in Spanish 2 as part of cooking unit, and used Kara Parker’s idea for giving instructions on how to make it.

What are your favorite resources for teaching food?

Ideas by topic, Sp 1 Unit 5: ¿Qué te gusta comer?

Food Unit Stamp Sheet

Hello, teacher friends. It’s a been awhile since I’ve wrote – November was a tough month for me, and it felt disingenuous to write about what I’m thankful for in the midst of so much stress at work.  I also didn’t feel inspired to write about what’s been going on in my classroom, because, frankly, my lessons have been pretty uninspiring.   Classroom management and behavior problems are part of the issue, but I’ve also been struggling to find a way to integrate my teaching philosophy with the more grammar-driven paradigm of my department. Most of November was a mad scramble of explicit grammar instruction and verb exercises in preparation for the midterm exam coming up next month. In December, I have two to two and a half weeks for teaching.  I’m starting Realidades Chapter 3A (breakfast and lunch foods), and I also need to teach ER and IR present tense conjugations in time for the midterm.  Here’s the stamp sheet I’ve come up with. I’m going to count it as a quiz grade, with each stamp being worth five or ten points. The first row is Novice-low level interpretative and presentational speaking goals. The second row is IP goals – I ask a question and they answer. The third row is a concession to my department’s grammar expectation. My goal is to contextualize the grammar better than I did in November, and to keep the English explanations and drills to a minimum. stamp sheet food In other news, I’m running for a member-at-large position on the board of Georgia’s foreign language association, FLAG.  If you’re a member of FLAG, would you vote for me? If you teach language in Georgia and aren’t a member of FLAG, please consider membership – dues are just $25 a year and, among other benefits, allow your students to participate in FLAG’s annual spoken language contest.  The FLAG contest was a huge factor in me falling in love with Spanish – motivation to practice my speaking skills, one-on-one practice interviews (aka CONVERSATIONS) with my Spanish teacher, and the feeling of success that came with that big blue ribbon – I cannot recommend the contest enough!  If you’re interested in finding out more about the contest, or about FLAG in general, here is the link to their website.