Poemas de amor y amistad

Valentine’s Day is coming up!!!! and although the celebration varies throughout the Spanish-speaking world it is always nice to do something with your students on this day so they can learn and have fun with new vocabulary.

For this activity, the students are to come up with things that just can’t be with out something else – so for example – peanut butter with out jelly or Spongebob without Patrick.  The students then  brainstorm a list of things in English and then write a poem in Spanish.  I don’t usually EVER do translating, but my students are novices, so their vocabulary is still very limited and I emphasize and teach how to use a dictionary, not a translator, which in the end is a great skill for language learners.

The students just love this activity and in the end learn a ton of vocabulary.  Their end product is a Valentine poem on a card.  This activity can be purchased on TPT in a Google Slideshow format so you can adapt it as needed.

Do you have your students do anything special for El día de San Valentín? 


Music Madness is coming!

The new year is here and with that we look forward to the annual music competition.

I learned about this amazing music bracket competition during COVID when we were all online and I FELL IN LOVE!

For those unfamiliar, every year, there are teachers who orchestrate a 16 song bracket competition with voting that takes place in schools all over the world! For about 4 weeks there are daily match-ups between two songs. Students listen and vote for their favorites. Teachers do this all sorts of ways from just listening and voting to dedicating whole lessons to learning the songs and about the artists.

The first year I did this, I learned about it just a few days before it began. Because of this, I only had the students listen, vote and comment on which they liked more. This was a great way to expose them to current music and to review high frequency phrases like “me gusta/me encanta”, “prefiero”, etc.

Last year, we spent some more time on each song, learning some of the lyrics and learning about the artists. We felt rushed however because we kept going with our other units. This year we are creating a whole unit focused on “Locura de Marzo”. With one grade we will focus on the genres and with the higher grades we will focus on the artists.

I discovered that there are two very popular music competitions that teachers follow:

The one I have done for the past two years is with Mr. Ashby. You can learn more about his music competition here.

I also learned that there is one put on by Spanish plans which you can see here.

Both sites offer more in depth explanations about how they run their brackets. How do you choose which one to do? Last year, my colleagues and I ended up using Sr. Ashby’s brackets because the songs were more appropriate for our target audience. There are facebook groups for both where you can find a plethora of materials to use and modify for your classes. This year we are waiting to see the list of songs from both before we decide!

If you teach French there is also a French music bracket competition! See their page here.

In anticipation for this event I have begun curating some fun items to wear and also give as prizes.

I found these fun stickers with popular artists

Here are some fun t-shirts with popular artists too!

I dabbled with creating one of my own when I couldn’t find what I wanted – check it out on Etsy! and let me know if there is anything you’d like to see and I can try to make it happen!

Do you do the music brackets? How in depth do you go?

Si te gusta… te va a encantar… FREEBIE!!

One way to get students curious about the Spanish-speaking world and culture is to help them make connections between what they’re interested in and the target culture. As I prepare for the bracket competition coming up I will be making bulletin boards and other visuals to get my students excited about the songs and artists.

Last year I saw online a bulletin board titled si te gusta… te va a encantar and it included current artists popular in the US and artists they might like from the Spanish-speaking world if they like a particular artists from here.

I couldn’t find one ready to print so I made one! Here it is . It is a PDF and it includes a title and then each sheet has the artist from the US and they artist they might like from the SS world if they like that artist.

Want more info on Locura de marzo? Read more about the bracket competition here!

End of unit/end of year projects!

The end of the school year is approaching (for us its late June … sigh) and in my next few posts I plan on sharing some of my favorite end of year activities and projects that help students stay engaged with the target language and culture.

This year, I didn’t teach a “year one” since we recently added 6th grade to our program and I only teach 7th and 8th graders. I used to do a unit the first few weeks of school on the Spanish-speaking world. The goal of which was to show the students where in the world Spanish is spoken.

At the end of the unit, I assign the students a country and their task is to research the country and prepare a visual presentation of it.  This project has changed tremendously over the years and it has moved more towards the students becoming experts on their country and learning about what they would do if they visited that country.  A big element of this project is that their visual has to represent something from their country of study.  For example, a student studying Costa Rica might choose to make their visual into a turtle, monkey or volcano or a student studying Argentina could make their visual into grapes or a tango dancer.  The students get so creative with this project and every year they would surprise me with their choice of visuals!

Here is the assignment packet and rubric I give to the students for this project.  You will see that the project is set up so the students have something specific to research every night, this way they are not overwhelmed with not knowing where to start.  It is a work in progress, I update it every year with new ideas and edits- please let me know if you have any ideas on how I should update it!

Here is the assignment (on TPT) Its a bundle and includes editable google slides and rubrics!

And here is the passport I made for the students to “travel” to their classmates countries!  It takes a bit of playing with on the copier- but in the end it’s really cool!  I have the students make their own stamps!



Links for Country Project Research- Here are the links I give the students.

www.lonelyplanet.com   site on all countries, places to see, things to do, food, etc…

www.worldatlas.com   maps

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/   Country facts

www.iexplore.com  Country facts

www.fodors.com  Country facts

www.goya.com   Recipes and typical dishes

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/latinmusicusa/   Music from the Spanish-speaking world

http://www.donquijote.org/tourist/profiles/  Profiles of Spanish-speaking countries

http://www.travelocity.com/TravelForGood/voluntourism.html   Voluntourism site

www.earthwatch.org  Voluntourism site

http://www.turismo.gov.ar/eng/menu.htm  Site about Argentina

http://boliviatravelguide.net/site_flash/index.html   Site about Bolivia

 Site about Chile

http://www.colombia.travel/en/   Site all about Colombia

http://www.gocuba.ca/client/home/index.php  Site about Cuba

http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/home.asp?ididioma=2   Site all about Costa Rica

www.godominicanrepublic.com Site all about the DR

  Site about Ecuador

http://www.elsalvador.travel/?lang=en  Site all about El Salvador

http://www.visitguatemala.com/web/index.php?lang=english   Site all about Guatemala

www.letsgohonduras.com  Site about Honduras

http://www.visitanicaragua.com/ingles/  Site all about Nicaragua

 Site about Panama

www.visitperu.com  Site about Peru

www.senatur.gov.py    Site about Paraguay

http://www.topuertorico.org/tinfo.shtml Site all about Puerto Rico

http://www.spain.info/   Site all about Spain

http://www.welcomeuruguay.com/index_i.html  Site about Uruguay

http://www.venezuelatuya.com/indexeng.htm  Site about Venezuela

Music madness!

Last year, like many of my colleagues around the world, I found myself in the worst teaching rut. I was feeling unmotivated and creatively stuck. A close friend of mine asked me – are you doing Locura de marzo? ¿Locura de qué? She led me to a FB page led by Señor Ashby a teacher in Michigan. Every year he spearheads an online musical tournament (like a March Madness Basketball competition) featuring artists from all over the Spanish-speaking world. Since it was such a weird year and I was feeling so down – I said – ¿por qué no? So I jumped on the Locura wagon.

What does this involve? There are 16 songs that are featured that “battle” against each other. Señor Ashby has a voting site he uses where students and teachers from all over the world vote for their favorite amongst the two songs featured for the day. The winning songs then move on to the next rounds until the finale where there is one final winner. Teachers can choose for this to be as involved as they’d like. Last year, because I only learned about it right before it started I only had my students listen to the songs, comment on their favorites and why they liked them (en español of course) and vote on the site. This year however I am going a little bit deeper having the students learn some of the lyrics and about the artists. I’ve set up a bulletin board with a bracket of the songs and the students have already begun previewing them! We are all very excited! If you want to do this there is still time! Check out Sr. Ashby’s page here.

When I began this last year I learned that there is another musical competition run by Spanishplans. What is the difference between the two? Not much except that Spanishplans chooses to only use songs released within the past year and Sr. Ashby includes songs from any year. I really liked the idea of using only current songs, however I looked closely at all songs from both brackets before choosing which one I would do. Spanishplans has great songs in their bracket but too many of them mention drinking or have sexual innuendos and I teach middle schoolers so that’s a no for me. If you’re interested definitely check out both and make a decision what works best for your audience. Sr. Ashby has lots of great prizes and incentives for teachers and students, he also has merchandise that could work great for prizes for the closest brackets.

I also came across this page on Etsy – even if you’re not doing any sort of musical competition Profepegatina has great prizes for Spanish classes! She even has some grab bags where you can pick and choose what you want!

Just check out all this cool stuff!

Are you doing any sort of musical competition? how involved is it? Comment and Share!

Happy teaching 🙂

Dados y Dibujos

In our current unit on mercados y artesanías, my students have been looking at images and videos and infographs about different authentic, handmade items from around the Spanish-speaking world. When we were “visiting” Mexico, one item that we talked about was the Huipil. The huipil is hand woven, traditional garment worn by women all throughout Mexico and Central America and in our “visits” through the markets of Mexico we could see them everywhere. This is still “in progress” because it is new and to be honest, we are kind of making it work as we go and see how the students respond. The videos of the markets and images were of very high interest so I found a few infographics about the huipiles.

We did an interpretive task with this infographic and they thought it was so interesting that the huipil is like a book that can be read through its symbolism in the embroidery.

Here are some other infographics – I didn’t use these this year but there are so many possibilities!

No photo description available.
Viridiana González on Twitter: "(...cont) Gracias a @VTradicional por esta  infografía sobre Anatomía Textil que da cuenta del magnífico trabajo del  huipil Mazateco. Han recopilado mucha información directa de sus creadores,  misma

I wondered how I could make this artifact more memorable for my students. I searched and searched for how to make your own paper huipil craft but was unsuccessful. I remembered what a hit the create your own alebrije activity was with dice so I thought why not make my own!?

Here is what I came up with!

My students loved this! They got so creative – below are a couple of student samples.

Do your students ever do replicas of artifacts from the Target culture? If you’re interested in this activity or the interpretive reading assessment check out my TPT store! Links below!

¿Adivina quién? for the Interpersonal Mode

I’ll be honest, the hardest communicative mode to work into my lessons is the interpersonal. I struggle so much with this at the novice level. For obvious reasons – they just don’t have enough to say! OWL techniques have been super helpful however with the pandemic we can no longer be in a circle so that is out the window! How then do I practice this essential skill?

I have a few activities I like to do but my absolute favorite activity is ¿Adivina quién? or Guess who? For starters, the students love this because they see it more as a game than a speaking task. With most speaking tasks I have to control most parts of it – give them questions, have them rotate, etc. With the Guess Who game board students can play various rounds with out depending on me and it can usually go 10-15 minutes or longer if you then have them switch it up and play with a new partner. It is great!

Here is an editable version of ¿Adivina Quién? for personality traits + likes/dislikes

How do you incorporate the interpersonal mode with novice level students?

Happy teaching!

Resources for teaching about Colombian handicrafts

This year our Spanish department had to do some curriculum changes to accommodate the addition of Spanish in the 6th grade, making our two year program a three year one. We decided it would be cool to do a unit on shopping – but with a twist. Our goal has always been for each unit to be driven by a cultural focus. Our language goals are then based on what you need in order to interact with the target culture or talk about the target culture.

We decided that our shopping unit should focus not on clothes, which we talk about every day during our calendar talk, but instead, on handicrafts and markets from around the Spanish-speaking world. We are focusing on el rastro in Spain, la ciudadela in ciudad de México and this week we’re “visiting” Colombia and learning about the various types of handicrafts you can find in each region of the country. Students are viewing authentic videos and infographics to get them talking about the different artesanías from each place.

Below I’m sharing some resources you can use with your students! We used the infographics to do interpretive reading tasks and an assessment and the videos to introduce the vocabulary.


El lenguaje oculto de un huipil. Mira la infografía ? | Tangible | Scoopnest
Artesanias en México a Twitter: "Artesanos Mexicanos mira esta interesante  infografía http://t.co/ivWyE4ljrJ" / Twitter
México a colores on Twitter: "📢Querid@s: Les comparto esta infografía  sobre las muñecas artesanales de #Amealco También les comparto el link de  mi video donde explico la diferencia entre manualidad y artesanía


Cestería Guacamayas

The Colombian artesanías were a perfect transition from our talks about Encanto and the cultural elements present in the movie. Do you incorporate handicrafts in your lessons? How?

If you’re interested in checking out some of the activities I created for my lessons – check out my TPT store! For only $6 you get a vocab intro activity, an interpretive reading task with some of the images above and an online shopping activity in Colombia!

Happy teaching!

Encanto & Colombian culture

If you’ve been following my blog you know how much I LOVE this movie! Since the moment I saw the preview clip I was waiting impatiently for it to come out. While I was skeptical because I know sometimes while they try, media doesn’t always do the best job portraying my country, I was hopeful because I knew that there were big names involved like Lin Manuel Miranda, Carlos Vives and several Colombian actors. In my eyes Disney delivered! From the scenery to the food to the amazing music I feel like we were well represented!

While there are many, many more, here is a listing of some of the cultural elements that stood out to me.


La arepa

Encanto artesanal, primera parte - Artesanías de Colombia
el Ajiaco (served in black pottery from La Chamba)

El cafecito (served in mugs from Carmen de Viboral)

r/Encanto - Can someone tell me what is the white food called?

On the plate w/ the arepas – empanadas and on the table buñuelos

Also – I’m pretty sure that green juice is jugo de lulo – so good!



The colonial architecture in casita from the roof to the balcony and the colorful doors. The house is what seems to be el Valle de Cocora where we find Las Palmas de Cera, the tallest palm trees in the world.

The clothing

La ruana

el sombrero vueltiao

el traje típico Vélez – including her shoes las alpargatas

La mochila wayuu presente en 'Encanto', la nueva película de Disney – Nuevo  Día Noticias

La mochila Wayuu

This list can go on and on! I plan on exploring some of these with my students this coming week. I created a slide with some of the ones we will go over. You can catch this freebie here. I also created a more extensive resource that includes informational slides, a Gimkit, a scavenger hunt, a Peardeck with comprehension questions and more! Only $8 and probably at least a week of lessons! Find it here! Enjoy!

La música de Encanto

If you’re like me and you’ve seen Disney’s new film Encanto you have the soundtrack on repeat! First off, what an amazing movie and homage to my family’s home country Colombia. I can go on and on for days about all of the little details woven into the movie from the clothing to the food to the symbolism and of course the music! All of the songs are UH-MAZING and feature some of Colombia’s top artists! La Gaita, Carlos Vives, Sebastián Yatra and new to the scene Olga Lucía Vives (no relation to Carlos!). My favorite song is We Don’t Talk about Bruno or No se habla de Bruno. I started viewing this film today in my Spanish classes as a culmination to our unit on animales and ecoturismo. We previously studied the trailer as I used it as a hook to get the students talking about the native animals present in the video clip (see more about this here). This year, with all the crazy I won’t have as much time to dive into all of the cultural elements and the music but hope to in the future. In an effort to keep my ideas fresh however, I created several activities to go with some of my favorite songs from the film.

Here is a freebie for the song La Familia Madrigal. It’s a great song to introduce the film and all of the characters as well as review everyone’s special gift. I hope you enjoy it! I made activities for 3 other songs as well. If you’re interested in this resource, please see my TPT store!