Sp 1 Unit 4: En la escuela

Mi día en la escuela: Comparing Class Schedules

Adobe Spark (5)

My students are currently learning school vocabulary, and my authentic resource activities were in desperate need of an update. I decided I wanted my students to do an activity comparing schedules of schools in Spanish speaking countries and their own (find my activity at the bottom of this post!). I asked one of my teacher groups on facebook if anyone had such an activity to share, and someone from my grad program shared this gem of a website with me: http://auforlanguageeduca.wixsite.com/school-schedules

school schedules in Spanish

If you click on the gallery link in the right hand corner, you will find 15 school schedules from various Spanish speaking countries, compiled by one of the Auburn foreign language education graduate assistants. ¡Muchas gracias, amiga!

I decided that rather than trying to print out the schedules, I would have students view them on their computer. For pre-reading, I had students discuss their ideal school schedule in  small groups, with a list of questions in Spanish to guide them:

discussion questions

After group discussions, we briefly shared out to the whole class. Next, I had students draw a number from 1-15. They were not allowed to have the same number as someone else in  their group. The number corresponded to one of the schedules on the Wix site. For their “during reading” activity, students answered questions about their assigned schedule. For post-reading, they discussed what they learned with their group and answered some reflection questions: How were the schedules similar or different from their own school schedule? What schedule would they like best? I also had students write questions down on sticky notes. I took these up and answered them at the end of class as a closing activity:



If you would like to use my activity, you can find it here. If you improve on it, please share it back with me!

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

Class Activities

Sustained Silent Reading in Spanish Class

I did SSR today!

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My books! Many I purchased with a grant last year, some came from my personal collection, and there’s a pile at the bottom of the cart that came from the public library (I picked these up primarily for my 3 native speakers). Additionally, my school’s media specialist has another 10 or 20 waiting for me in the media center 🙂
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The pink “Novela” labels are there to help students put the books away neatly because I knew I would lose my mind if they ended up in a messy pile after SSR. I designated two students at the bookshelf and two at the cart to facilitate replacing the books post SSR and they did a very good job! #mindnotlost
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It’s important to me to have most of my books visible so students can browse and choose. I also wanted to have books available in several spots to facilitate traffic flow. I set these out right before class began and was able to pick them up quickly after SSR so they weren’t in the way during class.


I embedded a timer video from youtube on google slides so students could see both the timer and the instructions. Five minutes seemed like the right amount of time to start with – only one or two students needed re-directing. I’ll increase the time slowly over the course of the semester.
Class Activities, Sp 1: Weather

Weather Report Walk About

I’m between chapters right now, teaching a mini-unit on weather, feelings, and location. My department needs for my students to know the verb estar (and eventually distinguish between ser and estar), so I’m working to contextualize the use of the verb before we look at the chart and talk about the forms.

I used this activity from Zachary Jones earlier in the week (he has a whole collection of weather activities here). It was a good review of geography, and gave students a few reps of the weather phrases. I followed up the next day with this activity (dropbox link to the word document).weather walkabout  I printed out the weather reports from espanol.weather.com, and posted them up around the room (I like to get students out of their seats!). I numbered them with sticky notes to make it clear to students what they needed to read, and typed up some questions for them to answer about each report. At the end, they answered a few questions comparing today’s weather with the 2013 report from  the Zachary Jone’s activity, plus a few more questions about the weather. Students walked around to each report, answered the questions, then moved to the next one.

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Weather reports on the board, numbered with purple post-its for visibility
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2015-01-29 10.44.04 I posted two complete sets (labeled in different colors) to make sure enough readings were available for my classes of 32. Students could do the readings in any order.


All of my kids know hace sol, hace frío, and hace calor, but nieva and hace viento are taking longer to acquire. I was pleased that the questions guided them through reading the #authres weather reports, and also got in more reps of those phrases. I was also pleased with the energy that so much movement generates (although some students chose to take pictures of the readings and return to their seats to answer the question – whatever makes them comfortable). I had gone over Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion the day before with the Zachary Jones activity, giving them both the exact formula, as well as a short-cut “close enough” formula one of my college professors taught me – double it and add 30. I invited my administrator to come observe me during this lesson, and he was very impressed at the students doing the conversion in their heads!