El Pan de Muerto

What did I do without Pinterest before it existed???  I found this great visual to spark a conversation about El Pan de Muerto and the celebration of el Día de Los Muertos.  I didn’t make a handout for it as I think its a great warm-up and we do those digitally.

Here is the image

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 1.21.54 PM


Here are some questions:

1.  ¿Te gusta el pan?

2.  ¿El pan que tú comes tiene alguna forma?

3.  ¿Qué significa la forma circular del pan de muertos?

4.  ¿Qué significa la cruz de lágrimas?

Have you taught the Day of the Dead? What resources do you use?  I’d love to actually make the bread with the students but we are no longer allowed to have food in the classroom 😦  This has been difficult because breaking bread with our students was a great way to spark cultural conversations.  Is this a policy at your school? How have you dealt with it?


¡Instagram en español!

I’m always trying to incorporate social media and pop culture into the classroom.  I think the students learn best and are definitely more engaged when I do this.  My only issue is that I teach middle school and some students still don’t have phones or they do but not smartphones.  Another issue is that the students aren’t allowed to have their phones in class and I definitely don’t want to go against school policy.  So how do I incorporate social media without making anyone feel left our or breaking the rules?

I have a few ways…  One- Zachary Jones has some GREAT twitter activities on his site.  There is one for about every topic and the kids think it’s súper chévere to read real tweets and apply what they’ve learned in class to the activity.  Another is well, I simply improvise!  I saw on Pinterest a teacher had used instagram templates to create a really neat bulletin board.  I started to look for templates online, in Spanish, but was unsuccessful, so I made my own!  You can use this many different ways- in class, for homework, assessment, etc…  I used this assessment for my review unit with my 1B’s.

How do you incorporate social media?  Are your students allowed to use their phones in class? Share your ideas 🙂

Here is the assessment rubric I am using and below is the link to the template (TPT).

Enjoy 🙂


Instagram template (on TPT)

Spanish-Speaking Countries Project and Passport

One of the goals for this first unit is for the students to begin to learn about the Spanish-speaking countries.  Specifically, to know which countries in the world speak Spanish.

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 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)

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

Remind 101

Hello all!  So, I don’t know about you, but with everything going on in my life I need a way to help me remember what I need to do.  I’m sure that our students do too with all of the stuff they have going on as well- sports, school (many different classes), family, friends, etc.  A few years ago I discovered Remind 101 through one of my son’s high school teachers.  It’s a site where teachers can sign up for FREE and set up text messages for their students. Like I said it’s totally FREE and the students don’t have your number and you don’t have theirs.  Remind 101 gives you a special phone number in your area code that the students send an initial text to and then you set up reminders for them that they receive on their phones!  Parents can sign up too of course and it’s great because it keeps them in the loop.  As a parent myself I thought it was fantastic because I always knew what was going on!  I know, I know… students should write down their homework in their planner but let’s face it – we’re human and we forget things!  This is just a great way to keep the lines of communication open with students and parents.

Have you used Remind 101 or any similar site?  Comment below!!!!

Restaurantes Colombianos

I love teaching this unit!  There are SO many authentic resources out there and of course – who doesn’t like talking about food??!!  For this unit I really wanted the authentic resources to be the main point of my lessons so I designed several online activities that have students look at and interpret authentic menus and websites from restaurants – mostly restaurants from Colombia because those are the ones I’m familiar with.

Sopas de mamá y Postres de la abuela is an authentic restaurant with many establishments throughout the country.  Their website is AWESOME and a great springboard for so many different activities.

I created this webquest that has students interpret what they see on the site and on the menu.  The menu is great because its chock full of authentic ingredients they may not be familiar with so it will lead to great discussion.  It’s here on my TPT site if you’re interested.

I also created a http://www.lingtlanguage.com activity too.  If you have an account just search restaurants I (it’s free).  If you aren’t a member yet – definitely consider becoming one because it’s an amazing resource!

What restaurant activities do you do with your students?  What other restaurants would you recommend exploring with students?

Tingo tango

This game I got from a dear colleague of mine.  It’s a Colombian game – similar to hot potato.  Have the students form a circle.  You then have them pass an object around – ball, microphone, stuffed animal- whatever you have is good.  I usually use a ball or microphone. As the students pass the object, cover your eyes and say tingo repeatedly until you feel like stopping.  When you stop yell TANGO!  Whoever has the object should then answer a question/prompt depending on what you’re working on.  I’m not sure why but the kids LOVE this game. Probably because of the suspense and trying to avoid being the one holding the object when I yell TANGO!  You can also just use music and not say tingo, tango- the kids like that too because they get to listen to Spanish music.

Do you play a similar game?  What games do you play?


My students LOVE this game and request it almost daily.  One thing I strive to do is to make learning fun so I’m always on the search for great learning games- not games that will just kill time but games that will really help my students with their language learning.  I came across the vocabulary review game ALTO a few years ago on the http://www.bablingua.com blog, tried it and I absolutely love it and thought it would be worth sharing.  It’s basically like the game scategories where you are given several categories and have a certain amount of time to complete them.  This is the same idea.

To play, first create a table with several columns- one for each topic you’d like to review/practice.  Then to play you just give your class a letter and their task is to complete each category with a word that begins with the letter you gave them.  I don’t usually time them and the group who calls out ALTO first gets a point. Below is an example of what we did today in class.   I do mine on the board and the students just use scrap paper but you could always make up a board in word.  Another important thing to remember is to prepare the letters ahead of time, especially at the novice level where they don’t have too much vocabulary.

What games do you play in class?

Alto board


There’s really something to be said about getting kids moving around and playing in the classroom.  It really makes a difference in their learning!  And… they LOVE it. So why not?  My goal this year has been to incorporate more games and cooperative activities in my curriculum.  In the next few posts I’ll share some of the games I play and hopefully get some ideas from you!

One game my students love is Alrededor del mundo or Around the world.  I have a PPT I use and adapt for different topics.  I then have the students create a circle around the room.  To play I have the first two students compete to answer a questions, the winner then moves on and competes with the next person and so on until a person makes it around the world and back to their spot.  They love it because they get to move around and middle schoolers love to compete.  I usually give the winner a sticker or bookmark!

What games do you play with your students?

Here is an around the world ppt I have for verbs on TPT!

¡Mandame un texto!

Next week, for my mini día de San Valentín unit, I am planning on having my students write poems as well as do some other fun vocabulary building activities.  I plan on doing the activities in stations, as they don’t take too long and the students love to move around.  One activity I am trying out this year is using texting or SMS vocabulary en español.  I thought it would be a fun way to practice some of the Vday vocabulary.

Here is the TPT activity I created.  It has a list of common SMS terms as well as a screen shot from www.ifaketext.com for the students to write in their text messages.  If you have ipads or computers handy, you could probably just have them do it online and take a screen shot to send you or print.

Vocabulario SMS

Have you used SMS with your students?

El abecedario

Teaching the alphabet doesn’t have to be boring!  Here are some resources to spice up your abc lessons!

This is my students’ favorite…

Another favorite…

Here is a new one I am going to try this year- it is super fast but it’s authentic.  It is sung by the Colombian artist Carlos Vives and is from the Pombo Musical album where different Colombian artists put Rafael Pombo’s famous poems to music.  This would be great for reviewing the alphabet at higher levels too – for lower levels you can just isolate the alphabet part at the end.

Here is another resource- it does need to be purchased through http://www.bablingua.com they have tons of great stuff here.

Bablingua- Scroll down to ¿Cómo te llamas?

I came across this post on my reader- this teacher has a lot of great resources for a variety of topics.  This links you to an awesome ppt (free!) he made for the alphabet as well as some great ideas for practicing it.


Las vocales y las sílabas 

Have you heard of Doki?  He’s the mascot from Discovery Kids en español.  His videos are available on Youtube- here are just a few to get you started.  There are videos from Discovery Kids en español on many different topics from letters to food!